The Dark Eye: Memoria

Posted by Mervyn Graham.
First posted on 19 September 2013. Last updated on 19 September 2013.
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The Dark Eye: Memoria
Fahi recounts his dreams about Sadja to Geron.
The Dark Eye: Memoria
Geron tries to cheer up Nuri.
The Dark Eye: Memoria
Geron wanders through the town of Andergast.
The Dark Eye: Memoria
A spider web can make for a sticky situation!
The Dark Eye: Memoria
Sadja finds a waterfall over the mountains in the distance.

The Dark Eye: Memoria is the sequel to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinov developed by Daedalic Entertainment, based on the popular German fantasy role-playing game series of the same name (Das SchwarzeAuge). The game consists of 2 interconnected stories running in parallel with each other but separated by a period of 450 years. The first story is that of a princess named Sadja from the fabled land of Fasar somewhere in Aventuria during the Mogul dynasty. It recounts her desire to lead her people into war against a horde of demons in the Gorian desert and her burning ambition to become the greatest hero of all time. The second story is that of a bird catcher named Geron who lives in the town of Andergast. In the previous game, his love Nuri, a fairy, has been magically transformed into a raven under an evil spell from a mage. Geron, now seeking a way to transform Nuri back into human form, is sent by Jacomo into the forest to seek out a merchant named Fahi who is purported to have the ability to reverse the spell. Somehow, both Fahi and his daughter are having the same recurring dreams about Sadja. Fahi promises Geron to reverse the spell to save Nuri, but only if Geron helps Fahi to find out the fate of Sadja and solve the mystery of these dreams.

The game starts with Geron meeting Fahi's daughter who gives Geron a test in magic before she allows him to see her father. This introduction serves as a tutorial for the game and teaches you as the player on how to cast spells that are needed to solve the game's later puzzles. The game begins in earnest when Sadja explores an underground tomb just outside the burial chamber of the last living Mughal mage. With the help of a warrior, a guide, and a magician, Sadja seeks to find the omnipotent Mask of Malakkar hidden somewhere inside the burial chamber. Throughout the game, you need to take on the roles of both Geron and Sadja. You will also take control of Nuri for a short while as she helps Geron to complete a small quest later in the game.

The story in The Dark Eye: Memoria is absorbing, captivating, and immersive—a cross between J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Clive Cussler's Dark Pitt novels. All of the game's main characters are well defined, each with a distinct personality and trait that appears authentic. There is plenty of sadness, melancholy, and empathy expressed by the characters in the story, but there is also plenty of treachery, violence, and deceit.

The Dark Eye: Memoria is a third-person point-and-click adventure. The game can be played with or without subtitles. However, I strongly recommend that you use subtitles because the voice acting can be spotty at times. The game features a cast of over 20 major and minor characters. The dialogs are well written and have been localized from German to English by White Rabbit Interactive.

Upon starting the game, you can select either Resume Game or Main Menu. From Main Menu, you can select New Game, Savegames, Settings, Bonus, and Exit Game. Savegames enables you to manually save your progress at any point during the game. There are 9 save slots available. These slots can be saved over if needed. An autosave is also made whenever you exit the game and is used whenever you resume the game later. Although you cannot die in the game, strategic saving is still recommended. Settings allows you to change user preferences including different keyboard shortcuts. The game offers a total of 31 achievements that can be scored by completing specified tasks.

Playable characters are controlled using 4 action icons. The inventory, which is hidden by default, is accessed by moving the cursor to the bottom of the screen. It holds both the spells that you can cast and the items that you can use in the game. A hotspot finder and a quest log can also be accessed similarly.

Ambient music plays throughout the game and aptly complements the mood of the current scene. The plucking of harp strings is soothing and peaceful, punctuated by more dramatic instrumentals that convey tension, drama, and mystery when needed. Sound effects, such as footsteps and wind, are minimal but distinguishable. With few exceptions, the English voiceovers are convincing.

Like previous games from the developer, the 2D hand-drawn background art is exceptional in quality. The 3D modeled characters look good and move realistically. Many of the backgrounds are subtly animated, such as the wafting of clouds across the sky, the flow of water along a small brook, the flight of a raven high up in the air, and the crashing of a waterfall in the mountains. The beauty of these sceneries will encapsulate you as much as the beauty of the story itself.

The majority of the puzzles in The Dark Eye: Memoria are inventory based. You need to select the correct spell to cast or combine and use the correct items. Other puzzles include solving a riddle and negotiating a maze. I strongly recommend you use the hotspot finder as many of the hotspots are very difficult to find unaided.

In sum, The Dark Eye: Memoria is a gem of a game that any adventure game fan must play. Gameplay lasts about 20 hours. The game offers 2 distinct endings, depending on a critical choice that you make near the end. I recommend this game without hesitation. It a worthy sequel to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinov and delivers an absorbing and compelling fantasy story in The Dark Eye series.

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