Frivolous Waste of Time

Sci-fi, fantasy and video games

Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition for PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, iOS and Android

So, Another World is regularly held up for how it broke new ground in cinematic gaming, paving the way for every story-based action platformer that followed, from Tomb Raider to Prince of Persia. The thing is, I never played it when it first came out and without the benefit of my own nostalgia, and all I can see is something which has aged horribly.

Another World follows Lester, a scientist who accidentally opens a portal and sends himself to a strange alien planet. He’s almost immediately captured by the locals, but is freed with the help of ‘Buddy’, an escaped alien prisoner. Lester and Buddy fight their way across the planet to try to escape.

The actual plot of Another World is told entirely without dialogue; it’s often praised for its ‘show not tell’ approach, and there’s validity in this. Its greatest triumph is in the genuine sense of comradeship that is forged between the player and ‘Buddy’, achieving a lot with relatively little. Overall though, the plot is mostly oblique without actually being particularly interesting.

Another World is a platformer mostly, although there are shades of an adventure game. The platforming is, not to put too fine a point on it, horrible. The controls are clunky and awkward, with none of the essential joy of movement which is essential to a good platformer. The puzzles are intricate, but mostly based on trial and error and guessing the correct order to go places. In fact, trial and error seems to be the main method of progression in Another World. Thankfully the checkpoints are fairly regular, but when they aren’t and you’re dying simply for guessing to jump into the wrong hole, Another World is infuriating. One thing I did quite like was the combat system, with Lester armed with a laser pistol which can rapid fire, create shields or shoot a huge blast. The combat in itself becomes a kind of puzzle, with each encounter needing to be approached in a specific way.

The art style is definitely an advantage, and is still really stylish and evocative despite its minimalistic style. There’s an ability to switch between the original graphics and the modern update, and they both look great. The music is good too, particularly the rather lovely end credits theme. It’s quite a short game, but it’s well paced and felt like the right length.

Another World was clearly very ahead of its time, and I’m very glad that it exists as without it many games I love probably wouldn’t. Honestly though, I can’t say that I actually enjoyed the game myself, and if you don’t have any nostalgia, I really can’t recommend it.AnotherWorld_Poster

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