Memoria is a direct sequel to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav –> review
I highly recommend playing Chains of Satinav first. You don’t need to have played Satinav to enjoy Memoria but if you play Memoria first then the ending of Satinav will be spoiled so it makes sense to play the two games in the right order. If you’re unsure whether to buy just Memoria or both games then simply wait for the next deep sale and get them both, problem solved.
Everything feels a bit more epic in Memoria than in Satinav. The story, setting, music, everything seems to have matured a bit and even Geron’s voice sounds a tad bit less whiny.
Backgrounds are a beauty to behold as usual, only the animations are stiff, awkward and sparse which detracts from the atmosphere a bit. Animation is generally the most resource intense asset of any adventure game and a let-down in the vast majority of titles so singling out Memoria for this flaw would be unfair, especially considering how well done everything else is. I spent quite a lot of time just staring at the scenery and listening to the music. As long as nothing in the game is moving and no one is speaking, it’s a perfect audiovisual treat.
The GOG version only has English audio (why??) but the voice acting is decent in general even if the delivery lacks passion and as a result some potential for dramatic tension goes to waste. Same goes for the German version which I checked out on Youtube, Geron sounds more assertive but other than that no big difference.
This doesn’t hurt the story too much though. Things never get so intense that you’ll be glued to your seat but as long as you don’t get stuck on a puzzle, there is enough momentum to keep you from wanting to take a break.
This time, you follow the storylines of two main characters in different time periods, bird catcher Geron in the present and oriental warrior princess Sadya in the past. Sadya is a stronger willed person than the male main character Geron which should please all the people who keep complaining about the lack of games with properly dressed strong female leads.
Memoria’s story is more eventful and over the place but Satinav’s storyline had slightly better pacing and cohesion. Switching back between storylines in Memoria does break up tension to some degree even if things tie together nicely. However, at the end of the game the story becomes a bit drawn out and feels like the writers tried to tie up the loose ends improv style. The game is super linear and and regardless of which dialogue options you choose, it results in the exact same response and outcome with only one exception at the very end of the game where you can make a meaningful choice.
The puzzles are logical throughout, even when fantasy elements are part of the solution. As in Satinav, the select few magic spell abilities like turning things into stone and back or sending a vision to someone via an object very much add to the gameplay. Instead of simple item combinations, magic adds an extra layer to the puzzle dimension and gives Satinav and Memoria a memorable edge over standard adventures that have no out of the ordinary elements.
In terms of length, I can't say how many hours it took because I started the game 9 months ago, got stuck twice and didn’t play the game for several months before continuing. In both cases, I was surprised at how quickly I got past the points where I seemed completely stuck before so sometimes coming back with a fresh and “wiped” mind does help. Better than starting to "brute force" the game by trying everything on everything which is no fun. Definitely spent more time on the game than the 8-9 hours howlongtobeat.com states.
There are no unfair or overly obtuse puzzles in Memoria but you all know how one can get inexplicably stuck. I’d describe Memoria as only moderately challenging at most with no old school style hurdles - but it’s not a pushover, either. Never felt like a total genius for solving a puzzle but the variety of problems to solve is big enough to satisfy even experienced adventures who’ve “seen it all before”. In Memoria, the puzzles mostly feel like organic parts of the story and not just hurdles to prevent you from walking to the next screen too fast. Even classics like Sanitarium are guilty of the latter and could learn from that.
On the technical side, I found only one game-breaking bug in chapter 6 where I suddenly couldn’t click on an NPC and would have been unable to progress had I not kept my paranoid habit of saving in a different slot every couple minutes, an old habit that simply doesn’t die. Can’t believe the team of 7 testers didn’t encounter this bug and poor me stumbles into it on my first playthrough but that’s life. One can blame the Visionaire engine for some of the other minor glitches as it’s stuff that one encounters in other games using the same engine. Same as AGS, Visionaire is prone to a variety of annoying little glitches but as an adventurer, you get used to that. If every developer had to make their own engine, we’d not get that many adventures.
Conclusion: One of the most beautiful point & click adventures of recent years. If you have any love for point & click adventures don’t skip this one. The Daedalic games aren’t cheap but they go on very deep sales every once in a while so there is no reason not to pick this one up when it’s on sale. Full list