Game Review

Another World - 20th Anniversary Edition Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Another World, Another System

Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition belongs in the download era, as the retail success story of the original truly laid the groundwork for narrative-driven, minimalistic and artistic games that are now becoming increasingly common away from high street shelves. When first released its cinematic flair was a revelation, and stands today as an important, landmark title, albeit one that slightly betrays its age.

We previously published a review of the Wii U version and, ultimately, it's our main assessment of this title. In fact, we're not sure why we're surprised that the 3DS version compares favourably to its home console equivalent, as we are dealing with a game two decades old. For Nintendo gamers unsure of which version to pick up, it ultimately comes down to a choice of having a higher resolution, more attractive version or on-the-go convenience.

To recap on the basics of the title, it's the vision of Éric Chahi, and leaves a series of events and the setting as a whole largely up to your interpretation. Your stylish, successful young protagonist drives his Ferrari to a futuristic lab to run an experiment, albeit with a slightly casual, relaxed air; a lightning storm promptly causes it to go wrong and you find yourself in a strange, alien world. What follows is a relatively short quest in which you're captured and seek escape, all without any clear explanation of events.

What follows is a particularly challenging 2D adventure title with a heavy emphasis on trial and error. The ambiguity of the setting carries across to a lack of signposting and help through the gameplay, though this anniversary edition does at least give you a basic Help page to explain the vital three stages of firing your gun — primary shot, shield and a power shot. You will die a lot — it's unavoidable — while trying to figure out your next steps, and even when you've got a pattern down or understand what to do, execution can still be tricky.

The controls are simple, with A as your fire button and occasional variation of 'action' button, while holding down allows you to run; B serves as a jump. The challenge is in deciphering some fairly obtuse environmental puzzles, while some gun fights can be tricky enough to endanger the safety of your 3DS; the easy difficulty setting is ideal for easing the latter, though the tough puzzles remain. It's that act of discovery that will immediately turn off players not of a mind for a methodical, patient approach, yet in the hands of the right player it's actually the defining redeeming quality of the title.

It's a challenge that will draw some into its world, with that immersion only intensified by stylish — albeit ageing — visuals and excellent sound design. There are modern titles with far greater resources at their disposal that can't match the carefully constructed experience of Another World, which is primarily why it stands up well today. It should be noted however that stereoscopic 3D is not supported, which is a bit of a shame but not entirely unexpected.

That said, this anniversary edition of a bona-fide classic adopts a light touch that can either be praised as respectful of the source or slightly lazy, depending on your perspective. There are neat additions, such as the ability to switch between the rather jagged original visuals or a smoothed out alternative with a touch of the Y button, though the impact of the change is less noticeable on the 3DS screen than on a HD TV through the Wii U. Multiple sound options are also welcome, with the original track, remastered original and another option with the 'console' music of the '90s all included. The first two options are likely to be the purist's choice, though the console music is actually entertaining in an old Sci-Fi movie sense.

Overall, this is a pleasurable experience for retro gamers with memories of having their minds blown by the original, or younger gamers with a taste for the history of the medium. Such is its impact that repeated playthroughs can be enjoyable, even if experienced players can blast through in under an hour. Such is the tricky nature of the title, meanwhile, that even knowing the solution doesn't completely remove the sense of challenge or accomplishment when the credits roll.

Conclusion

Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition is certainly worth consideration for the correct audience, either as a reminder of a genre-defining classic or as a form of gaming education. Its iconic design still stands tall, even if in the modern era it will be incomprehensible and frustrating in the wrong hands; fan service aside, this is also a fairly limited upgrade of the original. As for the choice between Wii U and 3DS, that's down to which systems you own and whether you want to play on the go — both versions do their job admirably.

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User Comments (24)

6ch6ris6

#2

6ch6ris6 said:

i always thought the game looks interesting but not enough for me to make a purchase. no 3D is a shame :(

audiobrainiac

#4

audiobrainiac said:

I love this game so far. Yes, no 3D is a shame, but I never got to play this game when it originally released, and its beautiful. I feel its worth the price just to have it in the palm of my hand.

Shiryu

#6

Shiryu said:

It's a huge wasted opportunity they didn't take any advantage of the 3DS unique stereoscopic 3D. This game would look amazing with backgrounds and foregrounds on different plains, like what SEGA has been doing with 3DS Classics Megadrive conversions.

Noelemahc

#7

Noelemahc said:

Crying shame it didn't get 3Dified, indeed.

Also, why does the article feel like it was written by someone trying to write their PhD dissertation rather than a video game review?

TonLoco

#8

TonLoco said:

No 3d?! Ahh who am I kidding? I forgot my 3ds even has that feature. I might pick this up on a whim someday if it goes on sale.

bofis

#9

bofis said:

This is a no start without 3D graphics, will be picking it up on the WiiU I guess...thought wouldn't it be awesome if purchases were linked to NintendoIDs and you could download any purchased title on either available system? ;-)

FritzFrapp

#12

FritzFrapp said:

No mention of the lack of 3D in the review. Massively disappointing to hear of that lost opportunity from forum members. If ever a game could look really special in 3D it's this one.

Sir_Deadly

#13

Sir_Deadly said:

So is it also on Wii U as the logo appears at the end? If so i may consider getting this game. Its doesnt seem like a 3DS game to me.

Captain_Gonru

#14

Captain_Gonru said:

@Noelemahc Could be they were trying to raise the bar on the level of intellectual discussion the internet all too commonly offers. I liked it, frankly. I'm sure you did, too, and were just jesting.

Gen0neD

#16

Gen0neD said:

@Frapp Agree. I was all over the article trying to confirm whether or not it was in 3D. It wasnt until i read the posts that i gleaned this info. Thank you fellow gamers. You saved me a few bucks.

Gashole

#17

Gashole said:

I actually remember seeing this in Gamepro magazine, back in '93. I thought it was absolutely stunning, like the other CD-ROM games were, but I always stuck with Nintendo. Frustrating, yes, but rewarding, oh yes. It IS like playing a game from another world.

HandheldGuru97

#19

HandheldGuru97 said:

Got this last week and loved it to pieces, short yet sooooooooooooooooooooooooo sweet. An excellent game all around and I heartily recommend it to all!!!!! I wasn't bugged too much by the lack of 3D, would of been nice, but such is life of a quick port.

Windy

#22

Windy said:

Well I'm passing. They had an opportunity to do something special on 3ds and blew it. Seriously not much has changed and most people have played it before. For those who haven't its an excellent game. It always has been no matter what you call it Out of This World or Another World.

accc

#23

accc said:

Why doesn't the reviewer mention that the game doesn't support 3D? That's a pretty huge detail to overlook for a review.

DazzaAdmin

#24

Dazza said:

We've added a line to state that stereoscopic 3D is not supported within the game. I agree in an ideal world it would have been mentioned, our bad!

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