A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is a good deal of violence in this mystery game. While most of the violent acts are seen through a blurry, greenish night-vision lens, the realistic motions of the live actors are still easily recognizable -- as someone being strangled, bludgeoned, or shot. The use of real, filmed actors in lieu of computer graphics makes the violence more realistic. Parents should also be aware that, although the protagonist commits no acts of violence, he witnesses many, mostly through his psyhic power to envision the past. Players will also see characters smoking and drinking. The Teen rating could be a bit lenient, given that this is a frightening tale. Parents should consider what their teens can handle before letting them explore this serial killer mystery.
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What's it about?
Jonathan Weaver, the hero of AGAIN, was the 12-year-old sole survivor of a string of unsolved serial killings 19 years ago. Now grown, he is an FBI agent who gets put in charge of investigating what appears to be a string of copycat murders. Or is the first killer recreating his old crimes? Through witness interviews, crime scene investigation, some sneaky use of a reporter friend, and his psychic power to see into the past, Weaver must piece together the mystery and stop the killer before he strikes again. The plot contains several stunning twists along the way. The \"past vision\" segments are played using dual screens that show the same room in the past and the present; the player must walk through (in three-dimensional graphics) and figure out what elements of the setting have changed from then to now.
Is it any good?
Any mystery is only as good as its plot, and by that measure, Again is pretty awesome. There are several knock-your-socks-off twists that mystery fans will adore. The hero's psychic ability may seem a bit cheesy to players who prefer a more straightforward whodunit, but the game really couldn't work without it. And, okay, you have to overlook the FBI allowing an agent to investigate a case in which his own famly was killed. But employ a healthy suspension of disbelief and you'll be in for a wild mystery ride. In terms of gameplay, Again is also quite unique. The dual-screen approach, allowing you to investigate the same crime scene in both the present and the past is used to very good effect. That being said, this is not a game for the faint of heart. Even the Teen rating could be a bit lenient. Definitely know your kids and what they can handle before letting them explore this frightening tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the use of live, filmed actors in the game. Does seeing real people, as opposed to computer-generated avatars, make the game more exciting? Or more disturbing? It's a novel way of presenting a video game, but is it a better one?
Families can also discuss whether violence is ever necessary to tell a story. The engrossing story of Again contains many scenes of violence. Would the story be the same with those scenes not shown? Would the story be more effective if those scenes were depicted in even more graphic ways (i.e. without the night-vision effects obscuring them)?
For kids who love a good mystery
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