Review by MrFoxhound
"The puzzler that doesn't puzzle!"
Another Code, a game that I have followed since it was first announced for the DS. A game that I knew would make the DS a viable system in the console market. A game that would use the DS' unique capabilities. It is all of that, but there are also some problems with this game.
The game begins with the main character, Ashley, heading to the mysterious and dangerous Blood Edward Island in search of her father, who had sent her a care package with a letter, instructing Ashley to meet him on this island and a Nintendo DS, called DAS. The problem is that Ashley's father had died 10 years previous. Spooky! Ashley arrives on the island with her Aunt Jessica, who has taken care of her since her father's death 10 years ago. After reaching the island and not seeing her father, Ashley's Aunt Jessica decides to go looking for him. Ashley waits about 5 minutes and decides that the best course of action is to go wandering around on an island that even locals won't go to. While traversing around the island you run into a ghost, named D, who will help you on your adventure. D has no memory of what happened to him, or why he is a ghost. After a little convincing Ashley decides to help D retrieve his memories.
The graphics on this game are on par with N64. The locals look great. This game will take you from dense forests to dilapidated rooms in a mansion. The water looks good and the attention to detail on the environment's surfaces is astounding. This is a really good looking DS game. The camera is always from a top-down perspective, until you are searching through the rooms with your stylus, and I noticed that Ashley's character model was a little big for the area. Namely, her head was huge!
The sound is another part of this game that is amazing. I don't think that I have ever heard a hand held score this good. And if I have, it has been a long time. The music is always eerie and always fits the situation.
This isn't a typical game. There are no enemies to kill. Instead this game is entirely about exploration. You can either use the D-Pad or the touch screen to control Ashley through the various environments. Unlike a PC adventure game, this game isn't as click and point when it comes to moving Ashley around. Instead, you merely hold the stylus in the direction that you want to move Ashley and she follows until you lift the stylus off of the screen. In this way it doesn't feel as boring as a point and click adventure would. Also, Ashley moves quick, and has fluid animations, which also helps to keep the player feel like he is accomplishing something and not just moving a robot from place to place. The game relies heavily on puzzles to do most of the game play for you. There was only one puzzle in the game that took me longer than 5 minutes to figure out, as nearly all of the puzzles in the game are simplistic in nature. If you take the time to search everywhere instead of just haphazardly running around this game won't prove challenging at all. It feels like the game holds your hand throughout, as the puzzles are juvenile in nature, and rarely prove difficult. And, as if they weren't bad enough, every time you hit a potential "puzzle" Ashley drops hints that are usually spot on in telling what you need to do to complete the puzzle and move to the next area. I thought that it was just the beginning that would do this, but as I moved through the game, I became more and more convinced that it would do it the whole way through, and it did. From beginning to end this game holds your hand throughout. Another problem that I had with the game is that when you find an item that you know you need, you can't pick it up until you need it. Now this wouldn't have bothered me as much if the case were that you could only hold a certain amount of stuff, but that isn't the case. Let's say for instance, you need to cut a rope off of a door. When you enter the room, you look around and see a knife, but you can't pick it up until you go to the door and see that you need that knife to cut the rooms and enter the room. Sometimes the items you need are in the same room, other times you are back-tracking to the beginning to pick up something that any one of us, in her situation, would have been holding as soon as we found it. It felt like an artificial and cheesy way to expand the length of the game.
Overall, this game comes out in September in NA, and while I had fun with it, I wouldn't recommend that you spend the $20 more that you will pay to import it. If you can rent it, I would suggest that also.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/14/05
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