Pros: +First chapter in a split story, which delivers a need for both, and will drive players to continue forth with the next game.
+The new characters are great, comedic, and provide an exemplary portrayal of entertainment value.
+The story is fleshed out quite well due to the games pacing and story-telling approach.
+Character designs remain fresh and unique for returning fans
Cons: -Some narrative based story seems left out and won’t be answered until the games follow up title.
-Does require some knowledge of 1860’s Japan and the culture.
When it comes to storytelling, it’s not hard to find a good game, one that makes you press forth through its endless barrage of beautiful graphics, and harsh endeavors. It’s a common trait in game design and one that will push you forth as you work your way through every inch of each story. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of visual novels as they have begun to appeal to North American audiences and dragging them deeper into their tales. Among these many franchises comes the Hakuoki series, which has held fans’ interest in recent years.
With Idea Factory, Inc. at the helm of the franchise, it’s no surprise to anyone that Hakuoki has garnished a following that keeps fans amused, and lured into the franchise. However, what appeal does a series that took places in the 1860’s featuring the legendary Shinsengumi have over fans new and old? First is the appeal to fans of the PlayStation Vita, which received an enhanced port of the first entry called Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, which promises more romance options more-so than ever before.
Pros: +Characters are quite amusing, especially Orion who serves as the “Narrator”. +Well scripted conversations as well as storytelling. +Visuals are quite easy on the eyes and well done only to be followed admirably by the music
Cons: –Some character choices for the player are a bit of a let down. –A few of the characters feel somewhat underdeveloped
While I’d love to say I’ve played my fair share of visual novel games that are driven as a “dating simulation” I was recently introduced to my first Otome (“girl game” is what it literally translates to), I was introduced to a niche genre I’ve only heard of and now find myself enjoying. As my first one I was introduced to “Amnesia: Memories” by Idea Factory. To be honest? This is my first dating sim since I’ve decided to skimp out on the idea of trying out the world renowned “Hatoful Boyfriend” and move onto this one for this sponsored review. So you may ask me to explain this game in a single sentence and to be honest the response you’d get is as follows. “Amnesia: Memories” is a rollercoaster of a ride that plays itself upon doubt, a crime possibly committed, and a use of weirdly feminine males that are meant to capture a woman’s eyes without making them feel overwhelmed, which to some this game may do in an explicative manner. For me? I was left scratching my head due to how many ways my character “Rose” had lost her memory due to the person she had spoken with or relations with for that matter.
Much like any dating sim game I’ve ever read about, “Amnesia: Memories” follows the practice quite well as your character is introduced to a decent selection of people – in this case it’s men – to choose from. Each of these potential partners has a set of likes, dislikes, and even dialogue choices to choose from in order to show your characters true passions as you lock in on one of the suitors that seem best fit for your character. Like many titles, this game comes with a ‘tried-and-true’ formula where your characters end results with one person may sometime suffer due to the choices made. Something I’ve yet seen in any of the titles I’ve watched played or even streamed by other gamers.
Our story starts off with our character awakening in their mind only to be introduced to the games narrator Orion. Orion is a rather quirky spirit who has somehow managed to enter my character “Roses” consciousness where he had caused her to lose all of her memories. As someone who would have surely had a platinum trophy if there were trophies for this game, I managed to spend a lot of time finding that Orion would spend quite a bit of time as the character who would give me a lot of my preliminary dialogue choices. These choices included which guy my character would like to start with in order to start rebuilding her memories. This included going through the game backwards at times in order to discover who she is, who her suitor is, and why they fell in love to begin with. The first time around for myself as a guy was a bit awkward, I felt myself scratching my head a few times before going along with the game only to remember it was once more a visual novel and my rapidly pressing of “X” would “turn the pages” faster and faster as I read through the game before the rather well done dialogue could finish. With the creativity behind each of the suitors, the game offers a rather creative premise based upon who your starting bachelor is. Depending on you choose, as stated, also involves the resolution of how your character became an amnesiac. Well for me it would’ve been nice to have to have had the choice of no one and just had Orion be some clumsy ass sprite who just managed to ram into my character’s consciousness by some weird chance. Unfortunately the game did not offer that and would lead me on towards a possible crime that had been committed, if it had been committed to begin with.
For myself much of my story took place with a gentleman by the name of Ikki who looks just short of being a man in drag due to his effeminate features. As my story progressed with Ikki I quickly took notice between several things based upon each of the “realms” that could be played. There was little variation between each of the stories aside from a few nuances that would make you scratch your head when it comes to the design choices. Outside of this the game tends to try and stay bright, energetic, and even offering a few warmingly tender moments that will attempt to melt your heart during the dating scenes. The downside? I’m the one that’s twistedly dark and would’ve loved to have seen the option to wreck a date or three only to see the alternate ending if there had been one that ended with “Rose” walking off with a smile on her face and her head held high; granted I didn’t see a connection with her or any of the suitors even though you end up with either one in the end no matter how many times you’ve played the game through.
While the game tends to hit a rather cheerful note each time through, it’ll be hard to say that it does much else outside of that. With such a colourful cast of characters it was quite dumbfounding to see that there weren’t deeper backstories behind each character, yourself, and even more fleshed-out personalities that would drive the game more-so than they did before. While “Amnesia: Memories” does just what is expected of an Otome, it’s hard to see that I was overall impressed outside of the art, the dialogue, and the music. The music for-one is what kept me coming back as I loved the little episodic queues between days or even occurrences within that day. Had they made a physical release with a soundtrack bundle? I’d promise you I’d have bought it just for the soundtrack with extended cuts of each of the mini-segment songs. The biggest problem with this games launch is not the fact it’s a bad game at all, but for those that don’t have some idea of Japanese or at least experience with it? Will find the game a bit text-heavy and unfortunately that will yank you away from the title, but don’t let it be deceptive, the game to some will be quite enjoyable for what it is.
Now I know many of you are wondering just how bad the bad endings can be. This is where the weirdo in me comes out and finds the bad-endings rather hilarious since it seems to be the most commonly used one in reviews and the best for the example shows a serial killer coming out and stabbing my dearest “Rose” to death in a rather ironic love-driven rage. While this was interesting it was odd that this character was introduced very shortly before the occurrence and even shows off no reason as to rhyme or reason that drove him to the murder of “Rose”. While it was odd, it was hilarious as to why such a thing happened, and even made the weirdest part of the game one of the most dumbfounding, but even this doesn’t beat the fact that the final bachelor is just downright creepy as Hell. Even more-so than that pigeon dating sim that seems to be all the rage. While the game’s overall plot is weird, “Amnesia: Memories” stays on task with bringing forth both enjoyable plotlines and ones that are so bad that the title tends to fall flat on its face more than once. To some? This is a perfect example of why games should intertwine their scripts a bit better and offer more diversity in why things occur as they do.
Amnesia: Memories – Vita [Reviewed] Developer: Idea Factory, Inc. Publisher: Idea Factory, Inc. Price: 29.99 USD Released: Available Now
While I’m one that doesn’t enjoy dating sims, “Amnesia: Memories” is a game with a beautifully light tone, warm moments, and amazingly well done artistic uses in the eye candy area. While its visually appealing, the game is also a bit goofy in a mindless sense that kept me coming back for a bit more, which is something Idea Factory Inc. seems to be quite good at. While I would love to have seen more about the cast behind the scenes, the games story is quite predictable and unfortunately quite unaccomplished in comparison to some of their other titles, which to some may make this game feel as if it was made by uneducated children. This is where the genius creation behind this game comes to play and makes it even more appealing for those wanting something that doesn’t want to be taken seriously. So go at it, let Orion take your consciousness away and go for a little ride with this games cast if you want to try out your first Otome.
Our review is based upon the final version that was given to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please clickhere.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over onTwitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.