Personally, I find there’s nothing better than getting stuck right into a well written visual novel. I don’t always feel like playing games when I get in from work, so diving into something with minimal demand on my end is a great way to chill out after a long day. That being said, here I am with my first review of the year for my first 2019 game completion.
Amnesia: Memories was originally released in 2013 in Japan by Idea Factory for PSP and PC. In 2015, the game was released in North America and Europe and there have been a few other games in the series released exclusively for PSP since. I played Amnesia: Memories on Steam for around 45 hours, reaching 100% completion.
Amnesia: Memories begins by meeting the spirit, Orion, a ‘strange looking kid’ who collides with your character, claiming he is the reason you’ve lost your memories. He also states that there are multiple worlds in which you may have possibly come from and he will guide you on your journey to reclaiming your memories. I love the way Orion is included in the game, acting somewhat as a narrator and making comments throughout the game, some of which are pretty hilarious.
There are five Worlds: Heart, Spade, Clover, Diamond and the bonus Joker World which is unlocked by getting the good ending in the other four Worlds. Each World has a good ending, normal ending and at least two bad endings.
I decided to follow suit and play the worlds in the order they were listed. On entering the Heart World, I awakened to be greeted by a guy who I later found out to be named Shin. The first thing that came to mind was, “What the hell is he wearing?” as he looked like he’d jumped straight out of a Final Fantasy game with a stupid amount of belts all over his body and ‘edgy’ clothing.
Other than the styling of the characters, the artwork was pretty to look at and the settings were well portrayed with the use of colour palette changes to show different times of day. The voice acting for all the characters was fantastically done and I didn’t find too many problems with spelling, grammar or translations.
The first route, Shin’s route, was thoroughly enjoyable as I’d had no previous experiences with any other characters in the game, therefore I actually found I could play along and put myself into the protagonist’s shoes. My first play through for each route was done without guides and I enjoyed each route as an individual with surprising route variation. Each route had a strong point behind it, making each one interesting for different reasons. Circumstances changed with each separate story, some were really sweet where others turned out to be pretty dark…
The characters had the same names and visuals in every instance, but your relationships and their positions would alter with each route. The characters’ personalities didn’t appear to change much either, so the more you played, the easier it was to predict the outcome of your choices. This was more of a negative on my part, but I realise it would be far too confusing for the characters to change drastically per each individual route.
By the time I got to Toma’s route (4th route), I already got a sense for what was going to happen. I already knew what his character was like, so I took an instant disliking to him and therefore ended up getting one of the bad endings.
After completing every route for the four available characters, I moved on to Ukyo’s route in the Joker World. This was the most interesting story so far, tying the previous routes together which would otherwise seem fairly random. A lot of my questions and suspicions were answered during this route, leading my overall opinion of the game to be much different to my thoughts on the game up until this final route.
There’s also a few mini games and interactive CG within the game, but personally I felt like this was brain numbing and completely pointless. Unless you want 100% completion, don’t waste your time on these extras, especially not the interactive CG… I had more fun going to the dentist.
There was only major one issue I had with Amnesia: Memories. Sometimes when I booted up the game, the text would be set to ‘forced’ so it would just skip all the dialogue until it came to a choice option, regardless of whether I’d previously read the text or not. The only way I could stop the force skip was to restart my PC which wasn’t ideal, so I often left the game running if I had something else I needed to do.
To conclude, I recommend Visual Novel fans give this game a go particularly if you’re also interested in Otome stories. I don’t think it’s necessary to go for 100% completion to get the most out of the game. As long as you play each route once, use a guide to get all four good endings (to unlock Ukyo’s route) and complete Ukyo’s story then you’re pretty much done. The alternate endings don’t really provide any extra content and the mini games / CG unlocks are just a pain but other than that, I had a positive experience and got stuck right into the mysteries of the story – enough so to fully complete the game.