Along with Chains of Satinav, the second iteration of the Dark Eye series was also launched for PS4 and Xbox One, thus continuing the adventure envisioned by Daedalic Entertainment. Memoria concludes the tale of Geron and Nuri, introducing new characters and telling a new tale inside the main story. This classical point and click adventure introduces a few new mechanisms and tries to fix some of the shortcomings of its predecessor, but yet again fails to hide its age.
If you read our previous review about Chains of Satinav you might have a feeling of what Memoria has in store for you, but you will actually have a few surprises. The second part of Geron’s adventure introduces new gameplay elements and new characters that manage to bring to life the dusty old world of Andergast. Although the visual style did not change, it is obvious from the very first hours of the game that the developers crafted Memoria paying much more attention to it.
Being a direct continuation of Chains of Satinav, to fully understand the story and the characters you meet in Memoria it is advisable to play the two games in chronological order. Despite our expectations both Geron and Nuri are cast in the role of backseat drivers, as the events of Memoria focus on a new set of characters, whose adventures are relieved in a series of flashbacks. The change of pace is welcome and adds more color to the solve motivation of Geron to save his beloved fairy companion.
The most important change story-wise is that at the end of Memoria you finally have a choice regarding the fate of Nuri. But to get there you will have to solve an ancient riddle related to the faith of the greatest hero unsung by history, Sadja. The fierce princess inhabited the game world long before the daily reality of Geron, in a time when demons freely roamed the world and magic was an actual force to be reckoned with. Memoria will alternate between the events of the present and the happenings from 450 years ago, moving step by step the focus from Geron to Sadja, until the past becomes the main attraction of the story.
The twist in the storytelling is accompanied by a few new gameplay elements, but Memoria remains a point & click adventure, that focuses on puzzles. The interaction with different objects is key to progressing in the game, but things are now more complex due to the increased number of spells you will have to use. The most remarkable is the spell of Sadja that allows you to send a vision to different characters by combining three clues from the environment. The dialogues also have a greater role in forwarding the story, often being part of the solution. The perfect example is the tavern scene when you have to find the culprit asking the suspects a series of questions.
As a result, the gameplay feels more complex, and the surrounding environment is now integrated organically into the puzzles, without being just decorum. The scenes although still small, are better used, although the walking pace of Geron and Sadja still feeling a bit low. That’s why the level of difficulty is somewhat increased compared to Chains of Satinav, reaching a medium difficulty.
Still, the fact that the puzzles are more varied and better integrated into the game world is a huge plus. You will have to keep an open mind and think outside the box to solve the same challenges that await you. A welcome addition can be the navigation puzzles, that require you to pay attention and use logic, whether we are talking about Sadja trying to find her away out of a seemingly endless forest or about Geron who tries to manipulate a search party visiting different locations on the region map.
You will have to use the save game quite a lot since just like in Satinav it is possible to fail in certain moments and the only way to continue is to reload your previous savegame. Not just the new puzzles, but also the story warrants a longer game time, in average Memoria needing around 15 hours to reach its conclusion. During this time you will appreciate the new gameplay elements, the new characters, and the story inside the story. Unfortunately, the old part inherited from Chains of Satinav remains just as half-baked as before. There is a sharp contrast between Sadja who is a likable character and is full of life and Geron who is just as dull as before.
Sadly, the old problems are present when it comes to the presentation of the game. The backgrounds can be downright beautiful, but the characters and their movements look just as silly as before. Also, the quality of the voice acting is still lacking, with some dialogues being quite bad. Combined with the poor visuals of the faces of the characters, the close-up scenes completely broke the immersion of the player.
- New likable characters, full of life
- Puzzles better integrated with the game world
- An ending that lets you choose
- The voice acting is still bad
- The same terrible character animations
- The character development feels a bit rushed
Yes, in some places the story feels a bit rushed and Geron is just as gray as ever, but the adventures of Sadja bring life into the game. The ending feels right and the fact that you have a choice finally plays into the overall theme of breaking free from the chains of faith.