Visual novels have found a nice home on the PS Vita. The handheld works well with them because it is very difficult to hold one’s attention with a visual novel on a console. Heavy Rain and Murdered: Soul Suspect did alright on consoles but I did find myself losing interest now and then, and swapping out to a more action oriented game. Amnesia: Memories is a visual novel that you could think of as like a comic book, but instead of having superheroes, you have high school students roaming Japan. Let it be known, readers, that this game has absolutely no action in it; you sit there, read, press “x” to see what happens next, and repeat. Every now and then you get to make a decision but other than that, prepare to read a lot.
You begin the game in darkness, not knowing where you are or what has happened. A little spirit named Orion pops into view and explains that she collided with your mind and is now trapped inside your soul. She tells you that right now you are trapped in a space between dimensions, and that when the collision happened, not only was your consciousness lost but your memory as well. Essentially, Orion is taking the spot where all your memories were held.
Orion tells you that you must return to your world and recover as many memories possible, so that she can separate from you. She tells you that you must pick one of four worlds: Heart, Spade, Clover, or Diamond. In my playthrough, I chose Diamond because why not go to the hardest world, right? When I arrived at my chosen world I was greeted by Toma, who you come to discover is a good friend. He helps you on your way and continues with you as you try to figure out who you were, what your interests were, and so on.
The controls in Amnesia: Memories are fairly simple; You press “x” over and over again as you progress through the dialogue. Every now and then you are prompted with a decision, and you must select your decision my tapping on the vita screen. Other than that, you can save, and also switch between dialogue that progresses automatically or manually.
The game’s visuals are nice. The character design is interesting and different — it’s still very anime-like, but I enjoyed watching this story unfold with these characters. I’d say the voice-overs were done very well, but I cannot, seeing as the entire story is voiced in Japanese. Sadly, I don’t understand Japanese so I kind of tuned out the voice-overs to concentrate on reading. It’s a very pretty game, but have your reading glasses ready.
Amnesia: Memories didn’t really draw me in; I found myself somewhat dozing off as I played it. It is, however, very well put together. The graphics are great, the story is interesting, and there is a lot of content. Each world has a different version of the story that you can go through and a different person greeting you at the beginning, which changes how the story plays out. That is a very neat concept, if you have the patience for it. I don’t know if I can sit through four of these stories without being brought to tears with boredom. If you are a fan of visual novels, by all means pick this up; if you’re tired of the usual, run of the mill console games, pick this up. But if you’re looking so a super exciting, action packed game, steer your gaze to something other than Amnesia: Memories.
A PS Vita code for Amnesia: Memories was provided by Idea Factory for the purpose of this review.