Previously, The Dark Eye: Demonicon was reviewed here. It did hold promise as a western RPG that does have its merits, but it does falter quite a bit when compared to its more popular counterparts. It turns out though that there was a game that was released two months before Demonicon that is a direct sequel to Chains of Satinav, simply called Memoria. The Dark Eye series is a German franchise of role-playing games for the more discerning audience who like their adventures steeped in lore and mystery.
The Dark Eye: Memoria is a product of Daedalic Entertainment, a German company that is also known for publishing other titles like Machinarium, Tales of Monkey Island, and the well-known Torchlight II. As a developer, Daedalic is known for the Deponia trilogy, Journey of a Roach, and the previous Dark Eye game, Chains of Satinav. They did not make Demonicon, which means that you can’t expect the same stuff here as seen in that game.
Of course they’re different since Demonicon is a 3D action role-playing game, while Memoria is more of a point-and-click adventure game. Most people would think that the latter would not be as exciting, but it’s more about how the game does well in its own genre, and Memoria doesn’t do too badly at all. Chains of Satinav was known to be quite respectable by those who had played it, so there was a bit of concern with this sequel. For starters, Memoria actually stands well on its own since it doesn’t require prior knowledge of what happened in the previous game to get into this one.
Memoria has two story arcs that are nearly 500 years apart. First is the follow-up to Geron’s story from Chains of Satinav, then there’s Princess Sadja’s story from centuries before, with the latter containing a solution to a puzzle for the former. The remarkable thing about these two stories is that players can get a sense of Geron learning about Sadja, even if the second arc is played in the Princess’ perspective. The well-written stories are told through the gameplay, which combines exploration with puzzle-solving that are sufficient and well-balanced, which is something that a lot of other puzzle adventure games get wrong. The puzzles tend to be rather challenging at times though, so be prepared for those.
The visuals are filled with beautiful artwork that give the in-game world shape and color, and the fluid animations give them life and character. The music and sound design are also pretty good as it does what it is supposed to do in forming the ambience that carries the gameplay, along with the believable sound effects in movement and item interaction. As for the voice acting, it does have some dips and faults with a couple of characters, but the rest are quite spot on. There are also some little errors in the game’s translation from its original German into English, but they are mostly negligible and perhaps even adds character to the game in that it began as a German title.
From the looks of this game, it seems that there are a lot more adventures to be gotten out of The Dark Eye. Perhaps in this game, there isn’t much storytelling with Geron as there is with Satja, so you may still want to play Chains of Satinav to see more of him. But other than that, The Dark Eye: Memoria is pretty good at what it does as a point-and-click adventure game that serves as a modern take on the genre.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8/10