Memoria Hands On Preview
I admit that I may have jumped into the adventure gaming scene some fifteen years too late and as a result have been participating in a lot of pointing and clicking lately. It’s a wonder that my mouse hasn’t worn itself out from the constant release of great new games and discovery of old classics. As of late most of my finger tapping has been directed at Daedalic Entertainment’s releases and with each new arrival I feel duty bound to report to you with my impressions.
Memoria is Daedalic Entertainment’s latest tale of adventure and is the second game in the series to be based in the world of popular role playing game The Dark Eye. In Germany The Dark Eye really holds its weight amongst a band of loyal gamers, outselling Dungeons & Dragons with it’s dice rolling fantasy jaunts since its conception in 1984. Indeed the continent of Aventuria has been around for so long that it leads me to expect detail and complexity when considering anything linked with its name and based in its world.
Memoria tells us the story of Geron and his wish to break the curse that currently traps his friend Nuri in the form of a raven. In order to do this he strikes a deal with a wizard who will teach him the spell he requires, but only if he can first solve a riddle. This riddle tells a second story of Princess Sadja and her attempts to acquire the mask of Malakkar, a powerful artifact that will supposedly change the course of a great battle her people are engaged in. In historical tales Princess Sadja disappears from the face of the earth with no trace or explanation as to where she might have gone. It’s up to Geron to discover her fate and in turn solve the riddle and free Nuri from her curse.
Having not yet played the first game in the series Chains of Satinav, I am lacking a bit of background information of protagonist Geron and his past exploits that have him branded as the hero of Andergast. In fact quite a few of the characters themselves don’t seem to be all that well explained, possibly due to the developers assumption that I have played the previous game and already have knowledge about them. In contrast, the fresh story of Princes Sadja and her band of would be heroes is very interesting and contains plenty of information about its characters. Hers is also a story more focussed on mythical beings, magic and undiscovered ruins, adventure and conquest and I find myself longing for each new part of the princesses story as the game progresses. As this is only a demo I still expect a lot more from Geron in the full game and am sure this will be the case.
If there’s one thing that continually shines throughout Daedalic’s games it’s the intricately hand drawn backdrops that stand out and give the games much of their charm and distinction. It’s the same case for Memoria and the developers have even chosen to go one step further and have rendered the characters with a computer, breathing new life and movement into the 2D world of Aventuria. At this stage in development English voice actors have not yet been added to these characters, but I’m happy to say that the script kept me thoroughly engaged to the point where I would have happily played the whole game without them.
If there’s one gripe I have at this stage it’s that the puzzles are a touch on the easy side and lack a little depth. Sure the developers have done a good job so far of removing much of the illogical decision making that has dogged past games, but in doing so have made the road to solving the puzzles a little too simplistic. It feels as if they need to add something to beef them up a little. Of course this being only a preview version I fully expect things to have changed come full release or at least advanced in the later parts of the game. There are also a few missed elements such as the previously mentioned voice actors and dialogue options that don’t exist.
All in all, Memoria is shaping up to be a great addition to the adventure gaming scene, with a strong story and a well imagined world. Before the full game releases on 30th of August I fully intend to play through Chains of Satinav so that I can better understand the characters and story of this game. Until then I recommend you check out the official web page and forum for up to date info on the series.