Overlooked 1.31.14: Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories
Posted by Cara Alex Brown on 01.31.2014
411's Cara Alex Brown takes a look at the Nintendo Wii entry in the Another Code series that deserves some more love! Check out what she has to say about Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories and why it's overlooked!
Howdy folks and welcome to another week of Overlooked! I've not been very well this week, doesn't seem to have been my month. However, I did start card altering which has been good fun, and I've started creating merch for selling at my next convention! Yay!
After having written about Hotel Dusk last week I ended up playing through it again, it was too tempting. So, it's insanely likely that I'll be playing through Last Window - its sequel - this week. Also, I've just taken up Guild Wars 2 again after my half a year hiatus and I'm really enjoying it again. Hard to believe I ever left.
Anyway, that's enough about me, on to the column!
The Look Back
AG Awesome - I actually bought my wife a DS and this game just because of the reviews. I never ended up playing it but she loved it and the phoenix wright games. Im still trying to get the rest of the endings on 999, lol.
What a lovely husband! (I'm assuming you're male, sorry if you're not). Hopefully she enjoyed it then! You should pick it up and give it a play through as well, it's worth it (providing you can deal with text heavy games, of course).
G-Walla - Certainly a game I've eyeballed. I just don't buy a lot of DS games (any games, actually). I'll keep an eye out in case it gets pawned, though.
I got my first copy of it as a ROM when my Dad downloaded a load for me when I was much younger. I didn't get my own hard copy until recently, and I got it for £6 CIB, so if you look in the right places, you can get it cheap!
sdelfin - If by briefs you mean undergarments, then I can say we do also refer to them as briefs. What a strange thing to be working on in college. How things have changed.
I was without power for three days a bit over a year ago. Luckily, an original Gameboy Advance, a worm light that I never used before and was forced to buy, a mound of AA batteries and a Pokemon game(my first) were handy. That GBA has tremendous battery life.
Interesting game and good stuff as usual, Cara. I really like the artwork and visual style here. Certainly looks like it would be visually pleasing during play. I'm in kind of a gaming limbo of sorts. I don't go for the modern-style of action games, but I'm also not into games that are more story than game. I come from a time when stories were tacked onto games just to add a tiny bit of motivation. This would be something along the lines of bad guys are creating an army of robots to take over the world and you're a half pirate, half ninja, half cyborg bounty hunter out to stop them. But interactive story/mystery games have their place and if the story is well done, then it could make a play through the game worthwhile. I've been pleasantly surprised before by games from genres that weren't my thing. Still, I can't help thinking the game would be better if it had cyborg-ninja-pirates. Or maybe it does. In that case, spoiler alert.
I'm in stitches. Definitely not the same in America then. Over here, a brief is a list of objectives and an explanation of what we need to do. I have no idea what you would call if over there.
I'm glad someone else can sympathise then, it was fairly painful. Luckily it was mostly just our lights that were gone for about 2-3 days, but we had no power at all for a good few hours one day until the brilliant guys at Scottish Hydro sent out an emergency team at 11pm, top quality service! I survived with my DS and phone, but if it'd been several days, it's safe to say that my GB SP would be coming out of the drawer!
The artwork is brilliant, I actually have a comment on the visuals to add in but I'll leave it for a later comment as it fits in better there! I'm fairly fluid with what I enjoy in a game, I'll enjoy almost anything if I think it's a good game, but I can understand a lot of peoples reluctance for story-heavy games. Hotel dusk is genuinely about 90% story, but due to the plot and play out of it, it's definitely worthwhile. My advice would be to think of it as an interactive novel and play through it as such. It makes a great time killer for travel, waiting for appointments etc where you might not want to start a normal game and get stuck part way through a level, so consider it for that.
PS - Damn, don't give away the game!
IRL friend - The artwork is similar to A-Ha's "Take on me" music video.
Currently in College we're working on a mini music video project and part of it involves researching older music videos. This is one of them, and has always been a personal favourite of mine. In fact, as a joke I made it my ringtone about a year back and I've never felt the urge to change it. However, when this was pointed out to me I nearly kicked myself for not thinking of the similarity.
Joe - Another recommended game from the same developer, Cing, is Another Code (Trace Memory). Both the DS and the Wii version (Europe only) are very enjoyable games. Unfortunately, Cing has been disbanded after it filed for bankruptcy in 2010, so we'll probably never see any sequels to their games.
Ironically, I had already intended to do an "Another Code" game this week as the follow up to Hotel Dusk since they're from the same developer, and since it was a suggestion anyway, it gives me even more reason to! However I do have a correction to make. "Another Code: Two Memories" (known as Trace Memories in NA) was the DS platform game. "Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories" was not the same game, but was instead the sequel and features Ashley a few years older. It was the sequel that was for the Wii and, sadly, hasn't been released in NA or Australia. Sucks to be them.
Now, I'm sure all of you non-Europeans (and hopefully a few EU's too!) are ever so excited to find out more about this mystery game, so let's move along.
Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories is another point-and-click adventure game released by Cing. The game was released in 2009 for the Wii, as a sequel to Another Code: Trace/Two Memories. From here on out, I'll be referring to the sequel as merely "Another Code" and, when relevant, the original will be called "Two Memories". Although this piece is heavily story based, as with Hotel Dusk, it's a lot more interactive. The Wii allows for an immersive game play that allows you to feel as though you're with the characters, moving fluidly in 3D with alternating perspectives to provide the most realistic feel, while still keeping up with the serene traditional art based graphic style provides an incredibly relaxing experience. The inclusion of more interactivity with objects, mini games and a larger map area to explore also helps to provide a more life-like resemblance.
What makes it Overlooked?
...It wasn't distributed in two massive countries. Really, need I say more?
Do I agree?
Well, I don't agree with it never having been distributed there anyway, that definitely sucks. However, I can add in here that where it was sold, it did incredibly well. In Japan, it was the 11th best selling game within the week of its release, which is uncommon for a story-heavy mystery game such as this. Although its popularity in Japan was so distinct, its popularity in the EU wasn't as common. Although it sold well and is popular among those aware of it, many people have never heard of it and copies are reasonably scarce, so there's a large number of folks with no knowledge of it.
Looking at the Overlooked
Okay so first of all, I should probably add in a bit of prologue since this was a sequel and there's a few things that you'll need to know for the rest of this to make sense. So, here's the prologue, straight from Nintendo themselves (warning, this gives very minor spoilers about Two Memories but quite frankly, this article is likely to do that a lot anyway):
"It is the 25th of February 1994, the evening of Ashley's third birthday. Ashley's mother Sayoko, a scientist, is killed in front of her infant daughter, her death somehow conncected to the development of a memory control system known as "Another". After Sayoko's death, Ashley's father Richard leaves his daughter in the care of his sister, Jessica, and travels to the uninhabited Blood Edward Island. Using his wife's notes on the project, he begins his own research into Another.
Eleven years later, in 2005, Ashley receives a letter from her father, who she has grown up believing to be dead. On the day before her fourteenth birthday, Ashley sets out together with her aunt Jessica for Blood Edward Island. There she encounters a ghost called D, the ghost of a young boy who has no memory of being alive. While helping D o recofer his memory, Ashley closes in on the location of her father, finally finding him and uncovering the truth behind her mother's death - as well as the real story behind the developement of Another."
Another Code R takes place two years after the events of Two Memories unfold, in 2007. After everything happens on Blood Edward Island your Dad comes back with you, Ashley, and your aunt. He gets a job at a local University, but then decides he wants to continue his research and goes off to a place called JC Valley. Despite saying he wants to keep in touch with you, his visits become less frequent, and when the story begins you haven't heard from him in over 6 months.
Can you tell she has daddy issues?
Anyway, you get yet another mysterious letter from your dad, this time asking you to come up to a family resort right beside JC Valley where he works that is built around a gorgeous lake and allows families to go camping. However, you have taken up guitar and have a band competition coming up so you're rather miffed, but your aunt makes you go. So, you hop on a bus and off you go to meet the father-who-never-was. Oh, and he doesn't even meet you at the bus stop. Instead, someone steals your bag.
So, stuff happens and eventually you meet up with your Dad, all is stupidly awkward and he hasn't even remembered everything that's needed. Eventually, he gets called away for work (shocker) and you're left on your own. You end up with the hots for a guy who's working there, and befriend a young boy called Matthew who starts off as a bit of a brat.
As you play through you discover many peoples stories, many mysteries around the resort and begin to unravel mysteries surrounding your dad. So, your Mum dies when you're 3 over a piece of technology called Another. Another could be used to control memories. Your Mum and Dad wanted to create and use this technology to help trauma victims whose lives were ruined by what they'd been through and so on be able to lead a normal life. Of course, given that it was memory manipulation technology, terrorists and other bad people wanted it so your Mum was offed while you watched from a cupboard. Your Dad then abandoned you to follow it up, you assume he's dead for your entire life, he eventually turns up again and you find out he's been working on the technology your Mum died over. However, in the first game - SPOILER - he fails to complete Another successfully. Oh well.
Another curious thing continues to happen as you play through - you begin to remember things you didn't before about this place. Why are you remembering these things? Throughout the game you'll have to piece together the memories and discover the truth behind the past you're forgotten.
Now for some more spoilers. Your Dad is continuing his research at JC Valley right? Well, given the name of the game, I'm assuming you can figure out what he's researching. So, a mass amount of the storyline features you figuring out a lot of buzz surrounding that.
I won't go any further into the storyline since, as it's heavily story based, it's yet another game that if I give away much more detail, I'll give away plot points.
Now to focus on the graphics. The graphics are done in a way that's 3D but coloured in a subtle, gentle way, creating an almost watercolour like appearance. This look is apparent in many Anime's and other Japanese mediums, so given that this piece was targeted mostly at the Asian market, it's no surprise that it's styled this way. Which, by the way, is completely gorgeous and is a nice break on the eyes after all of the apocalypse games these days. This is only enhanced by the location of the game. Since your surroundings include a wide open lake, a load of forests, country paths and a quaint little village, the overall aesthetics are breath-taking and truly let the beauty of this graphic style shine.
Similarly to Hotel Dusk, Another Code has a heavy focus on their soundtrack. While Hotel Dusk's soundtrack was jazz, blues and generally American 70's/80's themed, Another Code has coined a gorgeous amount of serene music to guide you through the game. Cing really does have a way of creating the perfect atmospheres, their soundtracks are often flawless. For an example of this, load up the official website - http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Wii/Another-Code-R-A-Journey-into-Lost-Memories-280517.html and one of the main songs will play instantly. Since the music style used is rather classical and relaxing, combated with the refined watercolour detailing, the entire piece comes together in a way that really helps you realise that the game is a work of art.
The game play is easy enough to figure out. Side scrolling to move, point and click to search stuff, use the remote when solving mini-games and view side-by-side character screens when running through dialogue and story. The mini-games are similar to Hotel Dusk in that they're used mostly as a way to help you discover things throughout the story as opposed to just being mindless additions. An example of this that's always used is that, at one point in the story, you need to test the acidity of water. So, you have to use the Wii remote to accurately mix and use chemicals to test different water sources. Yay, science!
Another frequent mini game involves you using the wii remote to hack digital locks throughout the game.
And honestly, that's about it for how much of this game I can give away. The only other thing I'll say is that eventually you'll need a nunchuk so sorry if you don't have one.
That wraps up another (get it?) week of Overlooked! I'll see you again next week for another look at the obscure. Let me know if you have any suggestions!