Memoria Title

Memoria means memory. The game as well as the word. Released a year after Chains of Satinav, Memoria was a direct sequel, despite the marketing focusing on new character Sadja. Was it a PR experiment, or did Chains not sell enough so they changed the cover character? Who can remember these days? Not me, I just played the game. As for where it stacks up in comparison to its predecessor, let’s find out.
So Memoria is an adventure game with the same trappings as Satinav. The story is framed around Geron trying to find a cure for Nuri, who’s trapped in the body of a raven. Geron is still living in Andergast and throughout his story we revisit old locations in the city as well as some new ones previously unseen. Geron is the same as always, downbeat and cynical yet determined. It’s rather refreshing to see him again, even if he hasn’t changed much. Nor have much of the town’s residents changed their opinions on him. He’s suffering a serious case of where’s my respect this game. Nuri on the other hand is a raven and while there is much more in the background. Being a raven her interaction is limited. Worse, her memory seems to be fading, no longer able to fit into a raven’s mind. This made any interactions with her miserable reminding me of visiting a relative with Alzheimer’s. Other characters in Geron’s story include my favourite, Jacomo the fairy scholar, Fahi a foreign merchant with a penchant for riddles and Bryda a promising mage novice.

The Tomb of Malakkar

Wait, where’s this Sadja girl that’s on the cover? Well here’s the big differentiator between Satinav and Memoria. Geron starts experiencing dreams early in the game of Sadja, a princess who lived 450 years ago. These dreams of course feature us playing through Sadja’s story. They intersperse with Geron’s narrative intertwining as Geron seeks to discover the ending to Sadja’s tale. This for me was the mechanic that elevated Memoria above its predecessor. While I’m a fan of tightly coupled third person narrative the jumps between Geron and Sadja allowed the story to take have far more scope than with one protagonist. I have no mouth and I must scream did something similar. Sadja’s time is filled with magical spirits and a brewing demon war. Geron’s time is of peasants terrorized by a mysterious demon that turns people to stone. The leaps between the two time periods show different sides to the world and fill in the gaps in each other’s stories.

Another aspect this affords is the chance to go more into the Dark Eye's backstory. Sadja's time is actually part of a big event in the setting, the time of the Demon Lord Borborad. This incorporation of the setting lends it feeling part of a larger narrative which is almost always a good thing in a franchise. I was actually inspired to go and look up some details on The Dark Eye as a result.

Which is not to say Memoria is perfect. For one, the narrative it builds could not have happened without Chains of Satinav to precede it. Geron’s story is thin on the ground, wrapped up in detective work as he is. Sadja and her companions get little room to truly explore their characters. The game functions technically the same as Satinav, with the beautiful backgrounds but somewhat jarring character art. The puzzles this time ranged from an entertaining collect the elemental spirits venture to a frustrating forest maze. The central concept of memory runs throughout the game but the storytelling aspect only comes into play towards the end. Speaking of the end it did feel a bit crammed together. The revelations come thick and fast, resulting in a short finale that feels limited in scope.
The Flying Fortress

To go into it further our old friend Satinav comes out again. This time instead of being a prisoner of time he's its cruel keeper. We even see him write characters out of existence. Well I'd be grumpy stuck on a barge all the time. The revelations pertain to memory and a certain blind spot in Satinav’s writings. This blind spot can be utilised by a lucky few to write their own story. Needless to say we’re given the opportunity to do such a thing at the end. However the result is always the same, a character I didn’t expect to takes control and rather than telling the story, you have to undo another. It felt to me like the concept was underutilised as a result. The one choice that is in, turning Nuri back or letting her go free as a raven didn’t seem a choice to me. If you saw someone you knew was hurt and suffering standing at the edge of a bridge, would you tell them to jump?

Apart from those little tangles the ending was good though and Memoria is both a worthy successor to Satinav and a better game in its own right. If you do try them, try both in order. You’ll remember it better that way.
Nuri at the ending

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