Monday 30 June 2014

Another World 20th Anniversary Review PS3/PS Vita

Back in 1991 Another World was released on a host of platforms including the Amiga, Super Nintendo and Mega Drive. It quickly drew plaudits for its unique look and more cinematic approach to storytelling. It’s this style that has kept it in gamer’s minds to this day as there is little else like it. The closest games to Another World are Flashback and Black Thorne but even they don’t have quite the same unique look about them.

The story follows Lester as he creates a portal to another world and is transported to a dangerous planet. As the plot unfolds through cinematics we see our intrepid explorer imprisoned and have to break his way out along with a new found alien companion. 

Another World was always difficult and there has been no change made in that respect. It’s kind of how Dragon’s Lair or Space Ace would play if there was traditional gameplay added into it. You will die often and in a multitude of ways, normally with a cut scene to add to the fun. Another World is all about trial and error and doing things slightly out of order normally results in death. Luckily, checkpoints are numerous and if you are sent back what seems like a long way it’s because you’ve not done something in that area properly.

For the uninitiated, Another World is really a cinematic, puzzle heavy, platformer. Lester can run and jump like a wimpy Prince of Persia and when he gets a gun can use that in a variety of ways.  The gun forms a key part of getting through the game as it has three functions. Aside from basic blasting you can also use it to set up force fields which stop enemy fire for a short time. Holding down the fire button for longer builds up a super blast which can be used to knock down enemy force fields and more importantly, blow holes in walls and doors. There are moments when Lester will initiate context sensitive actions as well, these can take you by surprise but are a welcome addition and add to the cinematic quality of the game no end.

Some people may well say the trial and error gameplay and the difficulty is a sign of the game showing its age. In truth, it was as frustrating and awkward when it first came out. It’s the sort of game people love despite how it plays because what you are doing on screen is having an amazing adventure. It’s not bad in terms of controls but it certainly is stodgy and miss timing things slightly is heavily punished. 

The graphical overhaul the game has been given makes it look fresh and vibrant again and some nice details have been subtly added. If you prefer the look of the original then pressing a button allows you to switch between the two styles at will. We’re not so keen on the new musical score as it doesn’t seem to fit quite as well but you have the option of a multitude of different and arranged soundtracks so can pick the one you are familiar with or like the most.

Once you work out what you have to do for each of the puzzle elements the game can be breezed through in a fairly quick time. However, what you have played will likely stay with you for a long time as it has for so many gamers already. It’s the sort of game you’ll run through every now and then, like watching a film you’ve seen a hundred times before.

Overall, Another World still holds a certain charm and unique quality that sets it aside from the identi-kit games around. It’s short, hard and frustrating but also inventive, dramatic and memorable and well worth re-visiting or discovering for the first time.

Overall 8/10

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