It happened, we only left the beautiful Aventuria for just over a year, but have returned, saved the world, and wish we were still there! Daedalic’s Entertainment’s second adventure into the popular roleplaying universe of The Dark Eye in Memoria has just hit shelves, but is it an adventure game worthy of your time?
For more than 3 moons, Fahi the mysterious travelling merchant and his daughter have had the same dream, transporting them back 450 years to a vault buried beneath the once great city of Fasar. He retells you the story with one important aim; if you can answer a riddle, he will transform your character Geron’s once carefree fairy companion Nuri back to her original form.
The story that he tells is that of the famous Princess Sadja, what? You haven't heard of her? It's alright, nobody has, you see the Princess wanted to her name in the books, she wanted people to tell tales of her deeds for thousands of years in the future, and whisper her name in awe, but unfortunately something went awry. The only trouble is that no one really knows what happened; all that’s known is that she wished to help win the holy war against a demonic army in the Gorian desert thanks to the mystical Mask of Malakkar.
This is the pull of Memoria, you’ll find yourself captivated by the tale of Sadja, after all, her compelling story takes place over half of the game’s narrative, so much so that when you come to controlling Geron and Bryda of Andergast in the present day, you’re itching to find out what happened next in Sadja’s story. The game cuts back and forth between the two, but comfortably so, you’ll never find, Daedalic are the masters of storytelling, which you will undoubtedly agree with after finding out the true fate of the Princess.
Those who've not played the haunting Chains of Satinav may feel a little lost when starting out with Memoria, however it is important to note that it is not necessary to play the former game to fully enjoy this beautiful point and click adventure, whilst you will not hold the same emotional investment towards Geron and Nuri and the town of Andergast, the pair are not the main players in this story, and so anyone from any walk of life can comfortably slip into the wonderful fantasy tale.
What is the most striking feature of any Daedalic Entertainment adventure game is its art style, practically everything in Memoria is beautifully and intricately hand drawn; every location is like a stunningly painted picture, and thanks to the odd magical sparkle and wonderfully animated backdrops, there isn't much you can fault with the look of the game, and whether you're 450 years in the past with Sadja or in the present day with Geron and Nuri in the banal town of Andergast, you can't help but fall into the enthralling trap of Aventuria.
One thing that Memoria is not devoid of is good puzzles, and as far as adventure games go, there's not a puzzle in the whole game that won't leave you satisfied, this is thanks to the variety of magical spells at your grasp, and towards the end of the tale you'll find Sadja and her staff with the ability to activate or deactivate magical artifacts, petrify, and send visions to help convince a person to perform an act. Each spell is intricately woven into the game, which means they will always be kept at the forefront of your mind when grasping the solution to every puzzle, unlike similar games, they aren't simply given to you and used once for a single insignificant puzzle.
However Sadja's staff's magic will not always be available to you, and often good old fashioned deduction must come into play, one particular puzzle that stood out for this was a set of fantastic riddles based upon the main elements, whilst incredibly tricky, and full of red herrings to throw you off, it is an inherently satisfying puzzle, which Memoria is absolutely full of, and better yet, it’s best puzzles involve true-to-life logic, and rather than having to initiate ‘adventure-game-mode’ to try and figure everything out, you’ll actually find yourself employing common sense! I know, sounds implausible right?
No, matter how tricky you find a puzzle, as always, Daedalic Entertainment's games come with their brilliant hotspot hint system, gone are the days of Lucas Arts where you had to hunt around intricately drawn areas for well hidden points of interest, Daedalic revolutionise the age old problem with a mere press of the space bar that will unveil all interactive items on screen, just encase you had missed that all-important honey pot on a shelf.
But that’s not all for this adventure, due to the somewhat tricky nature of Memoria's puzzles, the game also features a new clue system, that'll kick start your brain in motion for that tricky puzzle you just don't know where to start with. Hint systems such as these are starting to crop up in the odd adventure game, and are more than welcome, years of pointing and clicking may have readied us for the future of adventure gaming, but no one is perfect, and a hint in the right direction is always so much more satisfying than an outright solution.
We don’t want to give away too much of the story of Memoria, especially considering just how engrossing it is, however there’s nothing better than a bittersweet end, and as with Chains of Satinav, you can expect a similar ending with Memoria that is oh so fitting, and worry not, those who appreciate the freedom of choice will be a little more appreciative of Memorial's tale, if you played Chains of Satinav you will know what I mean.
Memoria manages to tick all the boxes, not only is the game absolutely beautiful, but its puzzles will keep even the most superior adventure gamer on their toes, not only does Daedalic’s return to the land of Aventuria prove satisfyingly challenging, but it also regales a heart-wrenching tale that will keep your eyes glued to your PC screen right until the very end.
Memoria is out now for Windows PC for the SRP of £16.99, if you’re looking for a good story, a beautiful fantasy location, or just a real good challenge, then you needn’t look anywhere else, Memoria has it all!