Monday, August 31, 2015

Amnesia: Memories

This game has taken over my life this past weekend!

Full disclosure, I am not done with the game yet. I've managed to get all the good endings and a few bad ones and am still working on it.

This is (hopefully) gonna be pretty brief since I don't want to say too much and write spoilers, and man is it hard not to blurt it all out!

Alright, so, Amnesia is an otome visual novel...about a girl with amnesia! Surprised right?
So, ok, the premise goes like this: One day a spirit named Orion was doing whatever spirits do when he crashed into and got stuck in a girl named Hitomi (Ok, she has no name so I named her Hitomi in my game, no real reason, it just popped into my head).
When Orion gets lodged in Hitomi's mind he kicks out all her memories and now in order for him to get unstuck, she needs to remember.
Orion sends her back to one of 5 worlds, 4 are available at the start with the 4th one unlocking after you complete the others. The worlds are all named after playing card suits, Heart, Spade, Clubs, Diamond and Joker. Unlike most games of this sort where you play through a central story and branch off depending on the guy of your choice, in this game the world you choose determines the guy you are with. Because of Hitomi's amnesia she's basically thrown right back into the middle of her life and has to muddle through and that includes having a boyfriend,a job, friends, school ,whatever.
Before choosing a world Orion warns you that you shouldn't let anyone know you have amnesia for fear they will either take advantage of you or lock you up in a hospital. He tells you the best thing is to be around the people and things you used to know and see if they trigger your memories. And off you go. This is where it gets...interesting.

In every world there are some constants:
Hitomi always lives in the same place.
She will always have the same job and the same boss.
She is always a college student.
It is always the same group of people, only their relationships change.

Gameplay consists of you making dialogue choices at certain points as it usually does in these type of games. As the game progresses your choices affect 3 status bars:

Affection: How much your character likes the guy of your choice
Trust: How strong your relationship is
Suspicion: How suspicious people are about your memory loss.

This only differs in one story where a fourth bar was added named "Doubt". Which was how much your character doubted her boyfriend's words and actions.

I'm not really sure the "Suspicion" bar matters though as in some worlds no matter what you do its full from start to finish.
Isn't he charming? 

Because I like pretty silver haired boys I started with the second world, and I'm gonna be honest, it was a good decision because if I had started with the first I never would have continued playing.
Isn't this the kind of guy EVERY little girl dreams about?
Every guy in this game...IS AN ASSHOLE... EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.In their own very special ways. While the stories are all pretty damn good and interesting some of them were a chore to get through because I really wanted the option to reply to them with a "fuck you" and a kick in the nads. Even the ones that started off nice quickly turned ugly. It can be a little off putting...ok A LOT off putting.
Even when he's nice, he's kind of  dick. 
Its a pretty dark game and if you are looking for a shiny happy romantic story with cute anime boys...this ain't it. In this game, can expect mental and physical assaults and even in some cases, some very awful deaths.

You can also expect to be annoyed the entire time by your spirit "friend" Orion.
Imagine if Navi in Ocarina of Time spoke through the entire game in that high pitched "Hey! Listen" voice of hers. Giving unsolicited advice and opinions constantly, complaining and whining 24/7. THAT is Orion. he NEVER shuts up. Not only that but  he tends to get overly worked up and paranoid about EVERYTHING. I will admit that after a while you sorta start to tune him out.

I've only played a couple of Visual Novels before this one and I'm not sure which is the norm but one thing I find very difficult in this game is figuring out which answer is the right one to move things along in a good way. For example, in Sweet Fuse a little heart bomb would show up whenever you chose something that raised the relationship with a guy. In Hakuoki it was a spray of sakura petals. In this game there is ZERO indication and given how lengthy the stories can be it can be a bit of a pain. Sure you can go to the menu and open the parameters option and look at the status bars but...sometimes the addition is so miniscule its hard to tell and its also a pain to keep opening the menu just to check.
My face through most of this game

If you get tired of Orion or all the deep dark drama, you can go over to the mini games and play air hockey and rock paper scissors with the guy of your choice. No, I'm not joking and to be honest, it was a nice little break from the heavy atmosphere of the game.

Overall, its a solid game with some nitpicks and plenty of feels. Seriously, I bawled during one of the stories. I wish the main character had been given a bit more freedom in her dialogue choices and maybe a LOT less Orion but, aside from that I can't really complain. I'm notorious for not finishing games and I am DETERMINED to see every ending, collect every CG and get every trophy for this game, so you know its something special.

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