For anyone that knows me, I’ve spoken at great lengths about my fondness for classic traditional point-and-click adventure games. With both Sierra and LucasArts no longer operating, German developer and publisher Daedalic Entertainment has positioned themselves to become the new household name for point-and-click adventure games on PC. Rich with The Dark Eye lore, the visual masterpiece that is Memoria comes as a direct sequel to last years notable Chains of Satinav.
Memoria picks up shortly after the events of Chains of Satinav, as Geron searches through a dense forest for a mysterious traveling merchant in order to restore the fairy Nuri to her true form. At the end of the last game, she becomes trapped in the body of a raven. By solving a riddle about Adventuria’s dark past and the second playable protagonist Princess Sadja, the merchant will provide Geron with a spell.
Framing the narrative beautifully, both Sadja and Geron are connected as the game’s perspective alternatives between the two characters (and ages) after every chapter. Through the use of a demon-possessed staff acquired early on, Sadja is capable of accomplishing astounding feats and magic. On the other hand, Geron’s magic ability focuses on simply breaking and reforming objects. These differences lead to varying approaches to puzzles, but both acquire new skills throughout the 8-hours it takes to complete Memoria. Sadja utilizes the power of the staff early on; bringing to live stone guardians that moments earlier attacked the convoy she was traveling with.
As you would expect in an adventure game, the game does focus on clicking on every context piece on-screen and collecting every possible item. These items can then be combined or altered to produce other doodads to use in a specific order to progress to the next area. NPC’s provide tidbits of information regarding the current the situation and is worth the effort to go through every bit of branching dialogue. You may run into the occasional puzzle that will leave you stumped, but Memoria does feature an in-game hint system to provide more additional direction as well as showing all of the context areas. Using it as a last ditch effort has saved me on more than one occasion, simply because I was clicking on a hanging body and not the bag draped to the side. In comparison, I enjoyed the puzzles as Sadja more so than those involving Geron due to his lack of accomplishing anything that doesn’t involve breaking/restoring objects.
Memoria surely impresses in the visual department with some of the best looking hand-drawn artwork in an adventure game. During close-up conversations, the artwork will animated presenting a greater sense of realism. The voice acting for the main protagonists and the talking staff impress, and I found myself hanging on every word. The only minor blemish on the otherwise superb presentation involves jerky transitions to the animations.
The inventory system only appears as you hover the mouse near the bottom of the screen, providing an unobstructed view of the surroundings. Using the mouse wheel, you can easily scroll through items quickly without opening the inventory, but this method can’t be used to combine two objects.
Although slightly on the shorter side, Memoria’s dark fantasy narrative doesn’t disappoint. I found Sadja’s chapters to be more enjoyable due to her magic, but also because she doesn’t whine as much as Geron does. The puzzles never require a large amount of backtracking and the difficulty felt spot on.
Note: The Memoria review was written based on the PC version game provided to us for review.