Memoria is the sequel to Chains of Satinav. Both are set in the universe of The Dark Eye, which is one of the most popular pen-and-paper RPGs in Europe.
While I have never played TDE, I was pleasantly surprised that Memoria has the feel of a good pen-and-paper adventure. It does this by having characters narrate the adventures that just took place, while having you overcome an obstacle that lays in their way.
The game takes place in two different times, and you’ll play as two different characters. The main story follows our hero from Chains of Satinav, Geron, who is trying to reverse a spell on Nuri that has her soul trapped in the body of a raven. To reverse the spell he seeks out a travelling trader who agrees to help if Geron can solve a riddle. The game then shifts back 500 years to the story of Sadja on her quest for fame amid a battle of heroes and demonic hordes.
The story of Sadja becomes the main focus of Memoria, while the story of Geron has him trying to crack the riddle.
Sadja’s story is fantastic. Unfortunately, Geron’s story is less interesting. Segments with him feel more like regular intermissions in a great movie. Don’t get me wrong—both have interesting stories—but Geron’s is overshadowed by Sadja’s.
The method of storytelling is what caught me as most interesting.
When Sadja’s story first starts, for example, the player comes in after most of the actions has taken place. A mage, a warrior, a nomad, and the mysterious princess you play as.
When you look at an object, Sadja recounts the action that took place. Bodies of golems lay dead around the maps, a former ally is pinned to a wall with a torch, and interactions between characters seem well seasoned. The warrior is angry at you, the nomad refuses to talk, the mage knows your value and asks for your assistance.
For any fan of adventure games, the quality and variety of characters plays a huge part, and Memoria’s characters are both varied and deep. You’ll come across characters from a spectrum of lands and cultures fitting for a good role-playing game, and they all add depth to the overall game.
The quality of voice acting varies. Sadja’s acting is very good. The voice acting for some other characters is not so good. Keep in mind the original game is in German.
On the note of translations, however, it should be noted that the translations in Memoria are very well done. In the past, some games from Daedalic Entertainment have suffered from some awkward English translations, but that was not an issue in Memoria.
As for graphics, let’s take a step back a moment and recall Chains of Satinav.
Chains of Satinav was a great game with a great story (well worth playing), but it suffered from terrible animations.
The animation problem has not only been fixed with Memoria, but they are among the best graphics I’ve seen in an adventure game. Memoria overlays 3-D animations on hand-drawn backgrounds, and levels are interesting while creating an atmosphere that reflects the story. Animations are smooth, and the developers have not skimped on the use and variety of animations—all of which make the game feel very much alive.
Memoria is a great game, and more importantly it’s a great adventure game. It is relieving to see a title that looks this good, with a deep story and strong narrative, join the list of titles that are helping to revive this great genre.
And while the voice acting can be poor at times, the vast improvements to animations and the quality of translations show that the developers at Daedalic Entertainment are paying attention to the feedback from gamers.
I highly recommend Memoria to any fan of adventure games. Players who enjoy role-playing games and all around good stories should also enjoy it.