Puzzle Adventure Game Offers Few Challenges
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"Remember that you will die." Sounds pretty interesting, right? A game that follows secret societies, intrigue, art theft and conspiracy, Memento Mori has all the fixings to make a prime game. Unfortunately, it falls rather short in many areas.
I'm going to come out and say this right now: this game is for someone who's very new to puzzle games. If you're looking for a challenge or a real brain bender, look elsewhere.
The game centers around two archetypical characters, the female Interpol detective and the reformed art-thief, and follows them through the entire story.
At various points throughout the game you play both characters as you try to find three missing paintings and more importantly, catch the secret society responsible for their thefts.
If you are thinking of buying this game, read the back of the box. It basically reveals all the major plot points right there, so if it doesn't sound interesting there, you definitely won't like it.
Taking place in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg, the graphics are quite nice, with some really good lighting effects to give it that feeling of impending doom and age. Using a 3-D platform created some really spectacular views, and definitely helps to draw the player in. The downside to this is that it appears the designers spent about half as much time designing Lara (the detective) and Max (the art thief). Their models appeared rather simplistic, especially standing next to a creepy French monastery or in the boisterous St. Petersburg disco, and the lip synching was off enough to make me wonder if it was originally designed to be in another language.
There are a number of cut-scenes, but unfortunately, they are mostly incredibly annoying after seeing the same one over and over (Detective Svetlova spends a lot of time on her phone).
Set in Russia as it is, the voice acting definitely brought a smile to my face. Perhaps a trifle overblown, it nonetheless added to the atmosphere without sounding too "Boris-and-Natasha" clichÃ©. The downside, is there was very little variety in responses. So little in fact, that it rather makes me wonder why they bothered putting dialogue choices in at all. The music was also a nice touch, adding to the game, without being a distraction or becoming annoying.
The controls were very easy to figure out, which is a big plus in my book, and again, perfect for the beginner. Unfortunately, the puzzles were also very easy to figure out, and were more like checking a box in the grand scheme of the plot. "Made some copies, plot moves on," and so on.
While this game is incredibly easy, it did take me a bit to get through it. I progressed quickly, until the point I got bored out of my mind. I like puzzle games, and I like art history, but this game managed to keep such an even keel throughout play that there were really no high points until the very end. Don't get me wrong, the game wasn't precisely bad, but the voices, graphics and plot outline promised much more than it delivered.
There are various endings to the game, which increases the replay value, but frankly, I can't see me playing it again unless I'm really bored and it's a toss up between this game and solitaire.
This game requires practically no thought to play. If you can pick up an item, you will need it later, and your inventory is so small, it's no challenge to figure out how to use that random junk you just picked up. The puzzles are often more of a hindrance than a plot point. Charging your cell phone is a nice beginning puzzle to get you into the swing of things, but the entire game is filled with similar puzzles that leave you wondering what the point is.
So here's the overview: Nice graphics and sound, with very easy and intuitive controls combined with easy (pointless) puzzles and a plodding plot to create a game to buy for your grandma who's tired of reading mystery novels and has basic computer skills. It's not bad, but it's far from good.