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Das Suchen der Spuren müsste gerade auf der Handheld-Konsole intuitiver laufen, auch wenn die Lösung mit den zerbrochenen Spiegeln optisch beeindruckt - äußerlich ist das DS-Abenteuer eher bieder, da gescheite Filme fehlen. Stattdessen gibt es nur Schnipsel, die auf Dauer nicht satt machen. Ansonsten kommt der Krimi eher nüchtern als unheimlich daher. Und zum echten Schmökern laden die eher informativen Texte nicht ein: Die echten Darsteller können auch nicht darüber hinweg täuschen, dass die Charaktere klischeehaft wirken und man die vielen Dialoge leider nicht beeinflussen kann. Sehr schade ist auch, dass es kaum echte Rätsel sondern eher Suchorgien gibt. Im Gegensatz zum grafisch, psychologisch und spielerisch weitaus interessanteren Hotel Dusk bewegt sich Again als interaktiver Thriller nur noch auf befriedigendem Niveau.
Again is a combination of various things, from crime shows to adventure games, but it seemingly takes the bad parts of all of them. As it is, the game isn't up to scratch as either a book or a game, and combining the two has done it no favours.
Aspects of the story and character interactions are enjoyable at times, even if both of these areas in Again are loaded with detective story cliches. It's not hard to get sucked into the hard-boiled premise and the first hour or so of the investigation, but the awkward and clunky way the game progresses from there won't keep you glued to your screen. The whole thing is reading intensive, which wouldn't be a big deal if the story was more engaging or the gameplay did a better job of balancing the long, dull stretches of monotonous character interactions with something more meaningful than walking around confined areas poking at objects until you find the right ones that match the situation. Spend more than a few hours in this crime story, and you'll have a hard time mustering the desire to come back to Again.
Again presents difficulties that no book ever will, as I found myself desperately talking to every character over and over again, waiting for a piece of information to be spontaneously volunteered, or for the game to consider enough time appropriately passed for someone to get back to their office or return my phone call. It's not just tedious, it's maddening. And that ties in to the problem with Again in general. Everything about it feels present because it's expected, not because it belongs or makes sense. Full of bad adventure game cliches, mired in repetition, poor translation, and an utter lack of personality, Again is an inglorious end for the makers of Hotel Dusk
. Unless you have a particular fascination with Cing's history (and end) or an affinity for arbitrary puzzles, Again should be avoided.
Unlike Another Code
, where the loveliness of the story and the brilliance of a few of the puzzles overcome the weakness of the core game, and unlike Hotel Dusk
where the depth of character, extraordinary use of art, and exploration of coincidence overcomes poor puzzles and dodgy pacing, Again doesn't offer enough to forgive its poor construction. Each of their games has been a study of memory and the role the past plays in the present, and it's clearly wonderful that there are (or were) people wanting to tackle these themes in games. Again, even by its title, grapples with this, but it does it in a plodding, tiresome game that is only able to frustrate. It's a great shame.