Again: Eye of Providence - Review

Again: Eye of Providence
Rating: T - Teen

The makers of Hotel Dusk - Room 215 and Trace Memory have just released another Interactive Crime Novel, Again: Eye of Providence. Tecmo/Cing have created the next engaging mystery for the Nintendo DS. If you were a fan of the earlier work you will probably enjoy this opus.

Set in the present, we are introduced to Jonathan "J" Weaver, an FBI agent, who is drawn in to investigating a set of serial murders that happened 19 years ago by a letter received now, but sent 19 years ago, and by a copy-cat murder which just happened. As the story progresses, J realizes that he can see into the past, given the proper circumstances, and he sets out to use this 'gift' to solve the 19 year old murder spree.

The interactive story is carried out with text presentations of conversations (no voice acting here, but reasonable background music and sound), conversation choices, selection of locations to travel to and an occasional item to pickup and use. When viewing the past, one DS screen shows the present, the other the past and they navigate together in 3D in quite a satisfactory manner.

There is a certain amount of in-game help and tutorial information at the beginning, and an extensive instruction booklet - in fact I encourage you to Read The Fine Manual (RTFM). Learning to control the interaction between present and past is a bit tricky. Trying to bring up a past vision of action (as opposed to the physical scene) depletes J's 'Psyche Gauge', and if it goes to zero you get a 'Game Over'. At that point you can try again, and if you have saved carefully, you may lose very little. The 'Game Over/restart' cut-scenes can be a bit tedious and I'm not sure what the Psyche Gauge depletion actually accomplishes. There are also situations in which an overdone linearity of play gets in the way - you find/see something that you realize you will have to interact with, but the interaction is prevented until you perhaps try something else and are told that you need the thing which you already saw and figured you would have to utilize.

The 3D rendering is not particularly hi-res, but neither is the Nintendo DS. On the Nintendo DSiXL, the scenes are both large and clear, and the audio works fine without earphones. You probably don't want to play this on a bus, but you can pop the DS in your pocket and use it in calm spaces.

There are a few actual puzzles to solve (sliding some furniture around to get one item out of a crowded space, putting some broken pieces together into a box, etc), but mostly you will investigate and question, maybe the way a real investigation goes? I found the story sufficiently compelling and the structural annonyances sufficiently minor that I played the story through with as few interruptions as I could manage (I did sleep!). I am by no means an expert at this type of 'game', but I did not have to consult a walkthrough and clocked about 18 hours of real time for a decidedly satisfactory experience.

Fun Factor: Engrossing from start to finish
Female Factor: J has a female assistant, and there is a good female Crime Lab Tech
Player Friendly: Good instruction book; doing the thing you know you have to do can sometimes be unnecessarily tricky

Reviewed by: Lou - Apr/10

  • Again: Eye of Providence
  • © Tecmo/Cing
  • Platform(s): DS DSi
  • To Order: AGAIN - DS $29.99
  • To Order: HotelDusk - Room215 - DS $18.82
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