I’ve written a tonne of news stories about otome visual novels making their way to PlayStation Vita, but I’ve never truly had the chance to experience one for myself. With the opportunity to review Amnesia: Memories, I’m effectively taking my first step into a whole new world.
You start the game as a female character, waking up to a mysterious young girl starring you in the face. This girl tells you that you’ve succumbed to amnesia, and now she is living in your head instead of your memories.
The first thing you need to figure out is your name, which I chose to call myself Asuna (Sword Art Online be damned). You’re then asked to pick a world from a choice of four that you feel you belong in. It’s here that the story truly begins.
The first world I started in saw me trying to hide my amnesia from my boyfriend, who is a rather stubborn and curious character named Kent. Kent is a College lecturer who has been studying the idea of relationships and dating. It is revealed that before you succumbed to Amnesia, you both had an argument about the way he was around you – and he reveals that he has vowed to change his ways.
Although this was the first story I came across, there are three other interweaving stories within the game – each taking around 2-3 hours to finish at normal reading speed. Each of these stories present you with a new male companion, starting with a new predicament for the protagonist and therefore presenting a new story (with countless amounts of new scenarios for you to play through).
While I won’t cover the individual stories in detail (as this would spoil too much), it is definitely worth playing through each one multiple times as there are at least three different endings per story. Unlocking them can be both fun and interesting, as you see how the game’s stories can shape and evolve around the alternative decisions that you make along the way.
One particular aspect I found helpful in the game is that when you replay a story for the second or third time the choices you have already made and experienced are highlighted in green. With a rewind feature in tow, if you’ve already experienced all of the particular choices you can go back to your previous choice and take the other path. This makes seeing all the scenes a lot easier than doing so by memory only.
Speaking of choices, they are the main focus when it comes to gameplay. The main thing to take into account when playing Amnesia: Memories is that this is a visual novel, so there is plenty of reading to be done. You’ll also need to make decisions based on what has been read, which will then decide the fate of the characters in the story.
Whilst on the subject of the characters, the cast is quirky and fun. They all have their own unique personalities, and it really feels like you can make a bond with them. Even though all of the guys in the game seem to act like jerks initially, you’ll soon find yourself adjusting to their attitudes as their stories unfold around you. You’ll also develop your own feelings towards the protagonist as you realise her struggle in attempting to regain her memories.
The art direction of the game is stunning; each character is beautifully detailed and the environments uniquely drawn. The main let down when it comes to presentation is the sound design. The soundtrack is easily forgettable and can often be repetitive and annoying. Also, the voice-overs are Japanese language only, which I found to be quite a let down.
Outside of the main story mode the game offers a series of mini-games including Rock, Paper, Scissors as well as an air hockey mode. These are both fun and interesting enough to keep you entertained for a couple of matches of each mode, but you can easily pass on them. There are also art galleries and character bios for you to unlock as well – should you desire to put the effort in to unlock them.
As my first foray into visual novels Amnesia: Memories actually left a good impression on me. Each story was different and interesting enough to keep me entertained, and the depth of each story was thrilling and exciting. I’d definitely recommend picking up Amnesia: Memories if you’re thinking of trying out visual novels for the first time, or if you’re a fan of the genre then I highly recommend it.