Things End, But Memoria Is Forever
HIGH Admiring the lush hand-drawn graphics on a large screen.
LOW Losing almost an hour of progress because of a bug.
WTF Getting lost in the woods despite using a walkthrough.
Back in 2012, software house Daedalic Entertainment announced a series of games to be published under license for The Dark Eye RPG. While quite famous in Germany and outselling Dungeons & Dragons in recent years, The Dark Eye has not reached the same level of popularity in other European countries or the U.S.
Chains of Satinav and Memoria were both published under The Dark Eye banner, and the two titles are among the more well-received point-and-click adventure games of the last 10 years, so it’s easy to imagine why Daedalic would port both titles to modern consoles despite their age and an overall lack of remastering or updating.
Memoria basically picks up where Chains of Satinav left off, so I’m not able to explain much about the plot without major spoilers, so I’ll just say that it follows two characters. The first is Geron, trying to make sense of events from the previous game while solving several new issues. His most pressing matter is trying to change back a fairy (now a raven) back to her original form. The other main character is the princess Sadja. She’s in a different timeline and trying to reclaim her kingdom.
The juxtaposition of these two stories is a smart design choice, especially because Sadja is more intriguing than Geron, who in both games is something of a blank slate who’s along for the ride. Both stories also will find an appropriately satisfying conclusion depending on the player’s choices. As this is a classic (and fairly lengthy) point-and-click, most experienced in the genre can rightfully expect lots of puzzle-solving accomplished by collecting and combining items, and a lot of conversation with other characters.
One appreciated feature in Memoria is a basic hint system with two levels of suggestions that change depending on the puzzle. These hints are quite welcome as several obstacles require abstract thinking, especially when both protagonists learn magic spells that must to be used to make progress. Geron, for example, can break and mend things, while the princess can use a staff to animate objects or light up dark areas. Daedalic also made the game compatible with the Switch touchscreen, so credit given for that.
Memoria‘s hand-drawn graphics have aged wonderfully and still look mighty impressive, even on a large TV. The voice acting remains generally decent, even though it’s the soundtrack that ends up stealing the spotlight with appropriately epic tunes that would be perfect in a fantasy movie.
Unfortunately it’s not all good news with this port since I ended up finding several bugs — surprising, since these are such old titles. In one instance I got stuck in front of a door with no way of moving my character and lost an hour of progress — remember to save often! In another instance, the game started stuttering. Resetting helped, but the problem would reappear after twenty minutes of play. I reached out to Daedalic but never got a response, so I can’t say if a patch is in the works.
While the strength of these intertwined stories might not be enough to recommend Memoria to everyone, it’s still a well-made and engaging point-and-click adventure that will be an easy sell to fans of the genre.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Daedelic Entertainment. It is currently available on Switch, PS4 and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on Switch. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game is rated T by the ESRB for Blood and Violence. The game doesn’t feature complicated political themes or bloody violence, but for its adult themes and story I would recommend Memoria for players 12 years old and up.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All dialogue is subtitled, but there are no options to resize or modify the subtitles. There are no audio cues needed for play. Beside the hints system, there are two additional “helpers” available: the “hotspot indicator”, to easily find all objects on the screen and “combination helper” that suggests which items can be combined in the inventory. The game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Using a controller, it is possible to directly move the character with the analog stick and to select items with the shoulder buttons. The A button examines items while the X interacts with them. It is also possible to play with the touchscreen, interacting directly with the objects in the environment.
Years later, he got the idea that he was the most Sega-knowledgeable person in the world, so he opened a website in 1997, The Genesis Temple.
He's a sucker for great stories in gaming, he loves adventure and indie titles, but he never shies away from action and triple-A RPGs.
Damiano's been writing about videogames for 20 years, with no plans to stop. Say hi to him on Twitter at @damgentemp, or on his blog https://genesistemple.com (now dedicated to the history of video game design).
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