Author Topic: Amnesia: Memories (Switch) Review  (Read 3569 times)

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Offline Shaymin

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Amnesia: Memories (Switch) Review
« on: September 26, 2022, 04:46:00 AM »

I kind of wish I could forget one of the routes.

Idea Factory’s Otomate brand has a couple of cash cow franchises: the Hakuoki series based in the Meiji Restoration, and the Amnesia series that is set in the modern day. As loath as I am to put up with amnesia as a story trope (especially in Japanese media), I figured that since I first started playing romance games with Hakuoki, it’d be worth seeing how the other one holds up a decade later. It’s still mostly solid today, but it definitely shows its age and there’s one suitor in the game who has the rough combination of being bad at the time and aging like milk.

Amnesia: Memories plays out entirely in August of an unnamed year, in an unnamed Japanese city that is big enough to have two universities in it. The unnamed protagonist - there’s no default option as with most of the other releases - wakes up on August 1 with a spirit named Orion having forcibly replaced their memories for seemingly no reason. The initial conversation with Orion is where the route choice happens, with four possible suitors at the start represented by traditional card suits (though the club route is called the “clover” route instead) and the fifth “Joker” world unlocks after the first four suitors reach their good ends.

Warner Bros. Discovery has issued an edict removing the Joker route from all promotional material and commercials for Amnesia: Memories going forward.

The suitors are traditional archetypes but with mild twists; there’s the childhood best friend who can’t confess their love, the older brother figure who might be too protective, the womanizer who can literally induce love at first sight and has a gaggle of fangirls, and the hyper-intelligent older student who doesn’t understand love. The Joker has the most fantastical story and depending on the route might come across as a stalker, though their route definitely wasn’t the creepiest. (That honor falls to the Diamond route, in which the good end involves admitting love to someone who has literally drugged the protagonist AND locked her in a cage for more than a week in a sick form of protection. That was a route that I desperately hoped ended with a kick in the groin, but it never came.) There is a small cast of supporting characters along for the ride, including the protagonist’s manager at their job who manages to have a completely different characterization depending on the route, which was a nice touch. Aside from the Diamond route good ending, some of the bad ends have imagery that is as disturbing as the T rating in North America will allow. There’s no sexual content beyond kissing, though the protagonist and at least two suitors depending on the route work in a cafe that employs “maids” and “butlers.” At least they’re equal opportunity?

The Switch version isn’t the first time Amnesia has been localized (there  was an August 2015 release on the Vita), so there’s been plenty of time to fix up the text. There was one incident where I had to go into the log to see the end of a sentence because it used a three line text box when it should have been a four line, but that and a few repeated words were the only things that made me pull out the metaphorical red pen for editing.

The environments in Amnesia are largely urban, but there’s a good variety of backgrounds and environments apart from the mandatory locations (protagonist’s house, the cafe) and the characters are well designed. The Japanese voice acting is good, though I suspect using the voices of the dubbed version of the anime was both beyond the budget and would have required recasting since it wasn’t in the Vita version either (one of the suitors was played by the late Christopher Ayres in the dub). The music wasn’t all that noticeable or memorable, and it usually ended up with an episode of Connectivity in the background.

I can see why Amnesia: Memories ended up as a breakout hit for the developer, even if I had to bite my tongue for most of an evening working my way through a route. It contained a lot more of the little quality of life items I took for granted in their later works, and if you’re curious about romance games, this is a fine starting point.

Donald Theriault - News Editor, Nintendo World Report / 2016 Nintendo World Champion
Tutorial box out.