Review: Memoria is an adventure without the "adventure logic"
Adventure games always have their own brand of logic. You can't just turn a knob to open a door. Instead, you have to snap your fingers, chant an ancient melody, and tickle a summoned demon before you can even get a key to unlock the door. Daedalic Entertainment's The Night of the Rabbit, released earlier this year, contained some of this logic. Memoria, Daedalic's newest adventure game, doesn't. We should all be incredibly thankful for this.
That's not to say that the game is easy. It's just that the game's puzzles rely on manipulation of gameplay mechanics instead of insane logic. The characters you control have unique powers to either repair/destroy items or control various ancient beings. Need to grab that item across the hall? Figure out how to use the ancient beings to grab it. Need to distract someone to borrow items from their toolbag? Destroy a glass jar to divert their attention. It's a really simple and clever trick that makes the game more enjoyable and less frustrating. Combine that with the genuine challenge the puzzles offer and you have the basis for a fantastic adventure game.
Sadly, there are a couple of flaws that pop up. In my preview of the game, I mentioned the breaking of immersion that comes from the graphical errors. These are unfortunately still present. While there's a touch of polish to be found, there are still a few errors worth mentioning. Animations in cutscenes aren't smooth, characters enjoy turning into black silhouettes, and I swear I can sense an occasional frame rate drop.
If it sounds like I'm being overly harsh on these visual issues, that's because they do a serious job of breaking the game's immersion. So much has been put into crafting a world that draws you in with gorgeous environments, slick visuals, and dialogue that successfully balances witty and corny. Words cannot stress my disappointment with the game's issues.
But enough about that. Let's talk more about that dialogue as it plays a bigger role than you'd think. Taking a cue from RPGs, the amount of character interaction, dialogue tree selection, and narrative focus is truly impressive. Granted, this should expected as the game is based off The Dark Eye pen-and-paper RPG series but still, it's always nice to see this type of attention to a game's story. Add that in with the solid gameplay and you have a recipe for success.
And yet, I can't let those visual hiccups go.
Play Memoria for the challenging yet logical puzzles. Play Memoria for the enjoyable story, expansive dialgoue, and wonderful world. Play Memoria so long as you can ignore the visual bugs.