The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

“Another Code: Recollection” review: An unmemorable game about memories

MJ White

As we near the seventh anniversary of the Switch, Nintendo becomes increasingly willing to reach into its back catalog and make older games available to play again. This trend, which will seemingly hit its peak in 2024, continues with the recent release of “Another Code: Recollection.” “Recollection” is a collection of two games from the early 2000s: “Another Code: Two Memories” and the confusingly titled “Another Code R: A Journey into Lost Memories.” These games were originally on the DS and Wii respectively, but their ground-up remake deserves a full discussion and review.

The (Re)Collection

“Another Code: Recollection” is a mix of genres. The player can move around freely in a 3D space, use items in their inventory, and solve rudimentary puzzles. It is most similar to a visual novel, though, as the player will spend most of their time reading dialogue from a moderately-sized cast of characters. Despite being a relatively short game, clocking in at around 15 hours, “Another Code” feels very relaxed with slow movement speed and an abundance of loading screens. Graphically, the environments are unimpressive but the character models have a charming, expressive visual style reminiscent of the DS-era 2D sprites.

When it comes to gameplay, “Recollection” rarely has any interesting ideas and the few that it does introduce are never fully explored. Puzzles typically consist of finding information in your immediate surroundings and then using that information to progress past an obstacle. For example, the player might come across a locked suitcase and find a letter nearby that mentions a character’s favorite number, which happens to be the combination of the lock. These puzzles are inoffensive but quite easy and bland, even without using the game’s optional hint system.

The Story

The middling gameplay is not the main focus of “Another Code,” however, so it would be unfair to judge the game solely on this one aspect. Instead, “Recollection” is defined by its story, which sees teenage protagonist Ashley Mizuki Robins attempt to solve mysteries about her own life and the lives of those around her.

The main plotline deals with Ashley’s parents’ research into neuroscience. It takes on more of a science-fiction tone as the game progresses, with secret labs and futuristic-looking technology that can rewrite memories. This part of the game is “Another Code” at its strongest. The mind-bending concepts are expanded upon intriguingly and it results in a satisfying conclusion.

When it comes to the side narratives, results are much more mixed. Usually, games in this genre will make up for lackluster gameplay by creating idiosyncratic characters full of humor and life. “Recollection” does feature a full cast of voice actors, which greatly helps to create an immersive experience, but it doesn’t save the dialogue from being dry and unambitious. Almost all of the characters have generic names, generic designs and generic personalities. They could just as easily be extras in a much more interesting story.

Despite the writers’ attempts to integrate the subplots with the main sci-fi narrative, the overall package feels unbalanced and poorly paced. Far too much time is spent dealing with a group of boring side characters instead of exploring the titular “Lost Memories.” Additionally, there is an inherent lack of replay value, as the player experiences everything the game has to offer on any given playthrough. This is a common problem for the genre but it’s still worth mentioning.

The Verdict

“Another Code: Recollection” is a well-polished, decently-interesting visual novel but its general mediocrity and lack of content keep it from being a justifiable purchase at $60. Fans of story-heavy puzzlers might find this game worth a try if it ever goes on sale. Players who aren’t usually invested in these sorts of games will likely not be won over by this entry.

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