Friday, September 11, 2015

Amnesia: Memories (PS Vita) Review

Amnesia: Memories is a visual novel that follows the life of a college-age girl as she seeks to gain back her memories.  When the game starts, your consciousness has collided with a wandering spirit named Orion, which has displaced some of your memories.  He then offers to take you to one of the parallel worlds where you may have come from and will assist in getting your memories back so the two of you can part ways.

I wasn't sure how I would like the game, since there are some dating sim elements to the game as you have to relearn all about your boyfriend.  However, the mystery element of what was happening in each world and trying to reclaim your memories was fun and interesting.  Plus, there are a few different worlds to choose from, each that focuses on a different guy.  Each world draws from the same selection of characters, but their personalities and actions may be very different.  The situations your character has to deal with are also very different, making each story unique.  I didn't think it would be the case and was pleasantly surprised just how different each world is, while still being familiar once you have done one of them.

There are many choices to make in each world, and a lot of the choices affect the feelings the characters have for each other and the ending you earn.  This feels much more like a choose your own adventure story than the previous visual novel I played, and I like that.  Of the four runs I did in the game, I got two good endings fairly easily, while the other two I got the bad ending first.  I eventually figured out how to get the normal and good endings of those worlds, but it took some time and experimentation.  I'm a fan of multiple endings, as it can give some good replay value.  Considering how long each story is, and that there are five of them, each with multiple endings, you get a surprising amount of playtime out of the game (even if you are save scumming).  I approve!

Besides the main stories, there are two mini-games that you can unlock.  There is a rock-paper-scissors and an air hockey game.  The RPS is pretty self explanatory, one will beat the other, but there is a twist to the game.  If your choice beats the opponents, you have to quickly select the following hammer icon and hit them to get the point.  There is a helmet icon as well, that is used to guard against the hammer.  So, even if you won the match, make sure to tap the hammer to actually score a point!  If the opponent wins, the helmet will protect you.  This is especially important against the last opponent, who is fast with the hammer, and counter picks your card 90% of the time.  Pretty cheap, but he is able to be beaten.

The air hockey is the other unlockable mini-game.  You hold the Vita sideways and keep your finger on the paddle while trying to hit the puck into the opponent's goal and keep it out of your own.  It works pretty well, but the paddle doesn't instantly follow your finger placement if you move it fast or far.  The biggest problem was my finger would not be as smooth on the screen after a few rounds.  Other than that, it played fine.  Both mini-games are a decent diversion from the main game, or something to do after completing all of the story lines.

Also included is a gallery that will show you any of the CG stills you have seen in the game, as well as log the different endings you achieved.  Sadly, it doesn't appear that you can see the endings again from here, which would have been nice.  Still, it's good to see the list, so you know what endings you have and haven't seen.  This helps completionists like myself when trying to do it all.

Not knowing how I would like the game, I was pleasantly surprised at how fun Amnesia: Memories is.  The story of each world was interesting, as it took similar characters and locations, but changed the situations enough that each was clearly a separate story.  It had the mystery of figuring out what was going on paired with choices that effect how the story unfolds.  With five stories and multiple endings, there is a good amount of playtime, especially so for a visual novel.  I would recommend visual novel fans or gamers who like a good story check the game out.

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