Memoria hands-on preview

James Haresign August 9, 2013 - 3:00 pm

Daedalic Entertainment set out to tell the story of a snarky, self confident Princess, yet somehow wrap it around a magician in a different time. Can Memoria pull it all together or is it just forgettable?

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There are two things that every point-and-click adventure hinges on. The puzzles and the story. It’s a bit unfortunate that, playing this early build of Memoria, it feels like you’ve missed part of the story. The main character, Geron, is suddenly in the middle of a forest looking for a spell to heal his girlfriend. I can accept coming in with an adventure already under way, but some context would be nice. Geron’s off making references to his ill girlfriend and magic to transform a living being into another living being, but it’s just a little bit too vague. Admittedly, I didn’t have an opening cinematic though, so that, I’d hope, would improve your understanding.

Before you’ve got any handle on what exactly is going on with Geron, you’re flashing back to an Arabian Nights type setting, with a female protagonist, Princess Sadja. The exact situation you’re in is artfully explained and some rather nice puzzles lead to a set up that could prove quite intriguing. It makes the opening short scene with Geron stand out even more. This nice little section comes to an end with the Princess revealing her power-mad aspirations and the slightly evil (maybe?) and apathetic magic staff now in her possession, which is partly why Sadja seems such an interesting character. A Persian-esque princess brings to mind certain characteristics, none of which she seems to have. She’s resourceful, doesn’t have time for people slowing things down and is out to prove anyone wrong that thinks she needs help.

So it was almost a shame that we’re suddenly we’re back in control of Geron, though his situation gets a little clearer as it turns out his significant other is a bird. And that’s not me using slang, I mean she has actually been turned into a raven, and the spell he is looking for is to return her to her usual fairy form. It still feels like I was missing something really important. However, things escalate quickly after this, and a clear link between Geron and Sadja’s stories is established.

But the near constant references didn’t really stop, they just become less intimidating once the story properly kicks off. The world seems a little too lore heavy, but in all their PR material, Daedalic Entertainment talk about it as if it’s a new game. It was only after starting Memoria up a few times that I noticed a very small “Dark Eye” logo on a splash screen, which gave me a hint of what was going on. After a bit of research I discovered Memoria is actually the sequel to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, which makes a lot more sense.

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What about the other important factor though, the puzzles? Well, Daedalic have quite a bit of practice here, and for the most part things go in a fairly logical manner. Occasionally some puzzles feel a bit click every inventory item on every hot spot until something works, which is irritating and they also tend to be the puzzles that don’t have a single clue about them.

However, thankfully they don’t break the other adventure golden rule. There will be no hidden pixel hunting going on here, thanks to a rather nice toggle feature that brings up hot spots. It’s a rather ingenius solution that doesn’t ruin the look of the game, and allows the player to choose whether they use it if and when you need it, or just immediately switch it on to speed things up, if you’re that way inclined.

If Daedalic can improve the context for Geron’s plight, and focus a lot more on Sadja, as the trailer seems to indicate, Memoria could be a rather interesting approach to a young man trying to uncover the past.  The bit I’ve played certainly intrigued me, and I really do want to find out exactly what is going on with Princess Sadja.

Memoria, from Daedalic Entertainment, is due out Q4 for PC.

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Comments (2)

    • Avatar of Sean Cargle

      Is the play style too straight forward? When I saw it at E3 it sounded interesting (to someone who rarely plays point and clicks) because of how each puzzle was supposed to be this complex challenge, yet at the same time fairly simple once you see how everything works together and what the ultimate goal of the puzzle is. I’m probably like James though, where I’m more interested in the story and art.

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