I just finished playing Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition on the 3DS, which was a bargain in the Nintendo eShop at £3.49. I remember when the original game came out on the Amiga in 1991: the cinematic graphics were mind-blowing at the time. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to play it back in the day, so I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to play Eric Chahi’s masterpiece.
The graphics still look fantastic – the silky smooth animation on Lester looks stunning, and the backdrops have a minimalist look that means they’ve barely dated. The gameplay, on the other hand, is showing its age somewhat. Much of the game involves trial and error puzzles, and one wrong move means instant death. Several times in the game you’ll enter a room only to be instantly killed because there you didn’t do something several rooms back. Or a guard will just pop up and vapourise you in one shot.
But I found myself compelled to finish it nonetheless, mostly because the game’s presentation and story are top notch. It does a brilliant job of forging the atmosphere of a strange, faraway and hostile planet where you’re never really sure what’s going on. The creators of Ico said that the game had a strong influence on them, and I can well believe that.
Perhaps the best thing about the game is that it leaves a lot unexplained – you never really find out who your captors are, or what the motives of your alien companion are. Instead you’re encourage to fill in the blanks, and the game’s all the better for it. I’d rather a little mystery than exposition-heavy cut scenes every five minutes.