Game Review: Amnesia: Memories (PS Vita)
26/08/2015 Leave a comment
Remember those text-based adventure games you used to read as a kid whereby you would reach a fork in the road and it would say “turn to page 46 to turn right” or “turn to page 54 to turn left”? Well this is pretty much what Amnesia: Memories is except this time instead of going on an epic adventure to slay a dragon you are actually trying to retrieve your lost memories and find your true love.
If you are looking for Japanese-themed-action game or an RPG with visual novel elements then you may as well stop reading and look elsewhere; as Amnesia: Memories is pure visual novel, an Otome Game if you prefer, with little to no input from the player. Does this make Amnesia: Memories a boring experience? Far from it – and this is coming from a first time player of the genre – as instead it offers five engaging storyline types and seventeen possible endings that YOU the player must work toward.
|Publisher:||Idea Factory International|
|Resolution:||960 x 544|
Designed and developed by Design and Idea Factory Amnesia: Memories throws you, the player, into the mind-set of a female protagonist who, after accidentally becoming combined with a friendly spirit known as Orion, must reclaim her lost memories. If you’ve watched the anime series, which has recently been released by MVM Entertainment in the UK, then you’ll already have a pretty good grasp of what to expect – the difference here however is that the game is a lot more engaging and goes more into depth with each character.
For instance after the short introduction with Orion you are forced to make a decision between four different playing cards (Heart, Spade, Club and Diamond) with each card offering a distinctive storyline and a goal to reach towards. The heart route for example will see Shin as the focus of the story with him being framed for an attempted murder on the protagonist whereas the Spade route on the other hand will see Ikki and his obsessed fan-club of girls being the focus of the story. There’s no set order on which to play these routes in but having seen the anime series beforehand I opted to follow the same path; which in this case would be the order they are listed in.
There is also a fifth, and final route, known as the Joker but this won’t become accessible until all of the previous routes have been completed; it may sound daunting but each route only lasts a few hours – and that’s without skipping the Japanese voice-over. No matter which route you choose however the main concept of recovering your lost memories, and keeping your memory loss a secret from others, will remain the same and while it sounds like hard work its actually easier than you expect. There is an alternate way of playing the game, and thats to achieve the affections of each male character and ignore the Amnesia aspect; but this is ‘your’ game so you choose how to play it – for the love or for the story. Amnesia: Memories requires ‘very little’ input from the player; it’s basically an audio-book except you have text, pictures and voices all at once, and the only interaction the player will make is to respond to ‘selective’ questions and as any visual novel player will know these will alter the outcome of the ending.
In total seventeen different endings are available, nine bad, four normal and four good but while it’s not necessary to obtain them all it will provide a far greater sense of completion. This is where Amnesia: Memories, along with its variety in storylines, begins to shine – a single play through of the entire game will only take around ten hours but in order to get all seventeen endings it could take you up to 170 hour’s – if not more. It’s a rather daunting set of statistics but players can find comfort in the fact that any previous responses made to characters will be highlighted in green when they re-appear. This means that multiple playthroughs of the game can be made slightly easier as you do not have to memorise which phrases you have selected – as the game will do it for you; it’s just your job to choose the right phrases (or responses) to get the ending you desire.
Interestingly however there is much more on offer than just a story being told through visual novel format; as in addition to the main game there is a variety of unlockable content and playable side-games. For starters playing through the main game unlocks various pieces of artwork – all of which you would have seen while playing the game – but this time they have no dialogue markings on them. The multiple ending sequences, as well as artwork seen while playing through the game, will all be located in the gallery section along with the games opening video animation. At first there will be nothing here (other than the opening) but as each route is played out more will become unlocked and accessible.
My highlight however is the inclusion of two mini-games; Air Hockey and Rock,Paper,Scissors. Both games make an appearance in the main game (and in the anime series) but, strangely enough, you don’t actually take part so instead they have been added as playable mini-games from the main menu and both are pretty straight forward to play. In Air Hockey the objective is to be the first to score seven goals whereas in Rock,Paper,Scissors the one with the most wins after a short period of time will win. Rock,Paper,Scissors however isn’t your traditional game as if you win the hand you’ve then got to tap the mallet button to hit the player over the head; if you do it quick enough you will win a point but if not then the other player can shield themselves with a hat and thus you don’t win the point. It’s such a small change but it makes the mini-game a lot more difficult; especially during critical moments of a match. Of course if you lose a hand then you can shield yourself from an attack but in the heat of a match you can end up making mistakes.
I’m not here to spoil the games story, its multiple choice decisions or its unlockable content, but I liked and enjoyed what Amnesia: Memories had to offer –which is surprising considering i’ve never played an otome styled game and I had my doubts on the games content after watching the anime. Additionally I also found it much more entertaining and engaging than the anime series could ever hope to be; mainly because there is much more depth and background to each character – none of which you see in the anime itself. There are however a couple of nitpicks; for instance some areas of the game haven’t been translated correctly and as a result numerous typo’s have been made but if you can overlook these then it’s a pretty good experience from start to finish. Another potential nitpick is the option to save and quit the game; as i could’nt seem to find anything other than a quick-save option which only becomes useful if you make a mistake – as it can be instantly reloaded during the main game. The lack of a clear ‘save’ option meant that i left my PS Vita in standby while not playing the game as i didn’t want to risk loosing my progress; but it could just be a simple button (or fix) that i missed – but its definitely something worth considering before digging deeper into the games story.
For me Amnesia: Memories is my first fully fledged visual novel styled Otome game and while I knew what to expect from the story it still managed to far exceeded my expectations so if you had any interest in the anime series then the game must be checked out for yourself. However those who are familiar with the visual novel / otome franchise then it all depends what you are hoping to get out of it; if you are looking for a girl with no memories looking to find her place in the world – and potentially love at the same time – then Amnesia: Memories has everything you need; but if you are looking for something along the lines of Steins Gate then you may want to look elsewhere.
Amnesia: Memories is now available to download from Playstation Network store (for the PS Vita) and through Steam (for the PC). The anime series on the other hand, which has been released by MVM Entertainment, is currently available on both DVD and Blu-ray within the UK.