You'll love it if:
- You enjoyed the original games
- You enjoy visual novel (style) games
- Cosy mysteries are your thing
Not for you if:
- You look for complicated puzzles
- You want a lot of autonomy
- Story-rich cut-scenes bore you
Another Code Recollection is a puzzle-adventure game by Arc System Works and was published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch on January 19th. The game offers a complete remake of the two original games Two Memories and A Journey Into Lost Memories. While fans of the genre and the original games will surely love the remake, it still carries the same shortcomings that divided critics back then. If the free demo still has you doubting, read on for my impression of this game.
Another Code Recollection bundles the two original games into one. The stories flow into each other flawlessly and offer greater value together than they ever could individually. The game feels more like an unbalanced mix of a visual novel, walking sim and mystery game. A bigger commitment to either world exploration, puzzle solving or storytelling would have resulted in a better game. Nonetheless, the actual story is well-rounded and worth your time if you like a cosy mystery.
Another Code Recollection – A Worthwhile Remaster
Another Code Recollection is a remaster and bundle of the Nintendo DS game Another Code: Two Memories and the Nintendo Wii sequel Another Code: A Journey into Lost Memories. Not only does bundling the two games together increase the value for money, but the addition of voice-acting and 3D models add more depth to the game. Content-wise the story of A Journey into Lost Memories has been altered rather significantly. And the remake also offers the option to enable hints, just in case you get stuck on a puzzle.
Auditory and visual upgrade
The game is fully voiced in both English and Japanese, with subtitles in a variety of languages. While the story takes place in the USA, the game was obviously made by a largely Japanese team so I opted for Japanese dub. The voice acting was actually very good. The voice actors carried the story well and made the already well-rounded characters even more lively. While I enjoy visual novels (especially in the otome genre…) and appreciate 2D art, the new 3D character models work well. They do look significantly better than the environments though, which makes it painfully obvious that it’s a remaster. All in all the remaster definitely succeeds in bringing the characters in Another Code Recollection to life.
Another Code Recollection – Two Times Two (Story)
When you first start the game, you are immediately brought into the universe where Another Code Recollection takes place. The first of the two games starts without giving you the choice to play either the first or second game. That surprised me, as most remakes that bundle several games would still present them separately (for example, the Klonoa Phantasy remake). It’s actually a genius move because the stories really belong together and should be played as one rather than two separate entities. I’ll give a brief description of the events that take place but will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.
In Another Code Recollection, you play as almost 14-year-old Ashley, who has been living with her aunt Jessica. Her mother passed away when Ashley was only 3 years old, and her father disappeared soon after, leaving Ashley in the care of his sister. Ashley receives a weird device called the DAS and a letter from her father, asking her to come to Blood Edward Island. When she arrives on the island, he’s nowhere to be seen and Jessica goes out to look for him. Eventually, Ashley is tired of waiting and starts to look around herself too.
The island is pretty small and deserted. She quickly makes her way to Edward Mansion, where she meets a ghost called D. Apparently Ashley is the first person D has met who can see him. D agrees to help her look for Jessica and her father if she helps him restore his memories. At the same time Ashley also tries to remember what happened 11 years ago, the night her mother passed away. The mansion holds a lot of secrets and memories that bring Ashley and D closer to the truth, however hard it may be to face.
A Journey into Lost Memories
Two years after Ashley reunites with her father, she is still living with her aunt Jessica. Unable to let go of the research her father Richard shared with her mother Sayoko, he is now working as a researcher at J.C. Valley. He’s asked Ashley to come over for a camping trip at Lake Juliet. Upon arrival a kid steals her bag, annoying foul-mooded Ashley even more. The kid turns out to be Matthew, who ran away from home. After his mother passed away and his father disappeared five years ago, he’d been living with his uncle. He came to Lake Juliet to find clues about his father’s whereabouts.
As Ashley spends more time at Lake Juliet, she also experiences memory flashbacks. She visited the Lake before together with her mother. As she and Matthew explore the campsite together, they both regain old memories and uncover clues about a larger plot that’s at play. While some of the story focuses on the mystery of the disappearance of Matthew’s father, a second plot revolves around Richard’s research with Sayoko.
Another Code Recollection – Gameplay
The original games received praise for the way they incorporated the unique features of the respective consoles they were released on. Following the same trend, Another Code Recollection has definitely been tailored towards the Switch, embracing the gyro feature in a handful of puzzles.
Walks, Talks and Puzzles
The gameplay is rather simple. You walk around and interact with the environment. You encounter puzzles that can either be solved on their own or require you to search for clues. In that aspect, the first story definitely offers more engagement and requires some thinking to continue the story.
In the second story, you’ll find yourself talking to other characters most of the time. To the point where you leave a cut scene only to take 2 steps and walk straight into the next one. At some point, this became frustrating for me. What’s the point of handing the reins back to me for only a few seconds? While I don’t mind a story-rich game, this false sense of autonomy bothered me.
Another Code Recollection – Conclusion
Another Code Recollection, to me, is not so much the puzzle-adventure game it presents itself as. But rather a mix between a visual novel, a walking simulator and a mystery game. While the first half of the game, Two Memories, strikes a relatively good balance, A Journey into Lost Memories was a miss for me. Bringing both games together in one remaster was a brilliant move though, as the overarching storyline is pretty interesting and engaging. I found myself playing for several hours on end, as I wanted to unravel more of the mystery.
Because of the low engagement that’s required from the player, Another Code Recollection feels cosy rather than challenging. Not something most mystery games go for. Whether the game tickles your fancy will depend on the type of challenge you’re looking for. The remaster offers decent value for money with the added voice-acting and overall engaging story. I had a good time and recommend you check out the free demo if you haven’t already.
Thanks to CDMedia for the opportunity to review this game.