When it comes to certain genres for video games Visual Novels are usually pretty cut and dry with the same formula, similar stories as well as visuals too. While most are flooded on the Steam Store vary rarely have any slipped through the international cracks and made their way to North America on a console or handheld, especially the PS Vita, but thanks to Idea Factory we now have Amnesia: Memories dual releasing on PC and the PS Vita, but does it stand out among a crowd of mediocrity?
Visual novels have the simplest gameplay mechanics which don’t help or harm the game itself, if anything I think it’s great that I can relax and play this game and not have to worry about thinking too hard on the controls but instead just enjoy the narrative that I am reading and at times controlling. Honestly, I can’t really go into a lot of details for the gameplay because it really is just click to progress through dialog then from time to time you get to make a decision that will greatly affect the story, usually the choices are either what to say to a specific character or where to go, there are actually a large amount of decisions to be made while playing this game.
Story and Modes:
So this game isn’t just a visual novel, more specifically it is an otome game, which for those of you who aren’t familiar means that it’s a type of visual novel where the story is really geared for a female audience, and nine times out of ten the story will revolve around the female character developing a romantic relationship with one of the male characters in the. This brings me to the main story of Amnesia: Memories, which you guessed it you play as an unnamed female character (who you get to name) and you have lost all your memories, who you are, who you’re dating and everything in between. This is all caused by a fateful encounter with the spirit Orion who by accident collided with your mind and pushed all your memories out of you head. Now rather than one big game where you wander around figuring out who your true love is who your significant other is will be decided with the first choice you make in the game as you are allowed to pick which alternate universe you may or may not be from, each world is assigned a suit name like a deck of cards, this makes it interesting because you can technically go into the game knowing who you are with but not know anything about them or if you are even acting the proper way based on their personalities. The best thing about this is that you can have a unique and different story and playthough which each of the options you pick, giving this game a good amount of replay value for a visual novel.
The choices you make play a big role in the game, the choices you make really affect the “parameters” in the game, which are the emotional states between you and your significant other. Choose wrong and they will grow suspicious of you and think that something is up, or you can pander to them and next thing you know they are eating out of the palm of your hand (unless it’s Kent, he’s pretty stale in the personality department). I’d be hard pressed to say that it’s really important to remember the choices you made and really think before you blindly pick on a reaction or what to say, it could change everything, for better or for worse.
Visuals and Sounds:
Amnesia Memories looks great, the background is usually very static with a nice fade to it’s coloring which combined with the vibrant and clean designs for the characters only helps to make them stand out even more. For a visual novel which is very story driven they did put a lot of work into the character details and it shows.
As for the audio, I’m a fan of games from Japan that keep the Japanese language audio, even though I was unfamiliar with some of the voice actors they did a great job with being able to pick up on the emotions in their voices. That taken into consideration with the music that is soothing for most parts of the game and then switches to fit the tones of what’s going on in the story makes for this game to be a great visual and audio experience.
The Big Question:
The big question here is as a visual novel, and more specifically an otome video game how will this appeal to the market on the PS Vita for males? An otome game like I said before is usually geared towards female gamers and while on PC visual novels are everywhere there are quiet little on the PS Vita, and to answer that question I think that this game will definitely fit into a specific and very small niche group of gamers. While I personally enjoyed the game and found the narrative entertaining I can see how most people would be put off to this game, but it should be given a chance, it could be a gateway game to other great visual novels to play.
Talking about the games value is not easy with a visual novel, as a digital only title that will run you about $30 when you can easily hop on the steam store and find them ranging from $2.99 to $9.99 and they may even take just as long to finish, but value just isn’t about the length of the game. With Amnesia: Memories you get a certain level of quality that I haven’t seen in many visual novel/otome games, not only with the visual presentation but the quality with the voice acting and even how much depth there is to the parameters feature in the game. I’d say the game is worth it if you are into this genre of games but if you haven’t played one before I’d look into it a bit more before jumping the gun and buying it. Then again I loved the game and plan on playing it again a few more times.