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Memento Mori 2: Guardians of Immortality Review [PC]

Memento Mori 2: Guardians of Immortality Review Review


Some adventure games are epic journeys across varying locales. Memento Mori 2: Guardians of Immortality tries to be. It tries to tell a Da Vinci Code-esque story of murder and intrigue with clues hidden in artwork and a quasi-religious journey spanning several countries. Sadly, Memento Mori 2: Guardians of Immortality is a below-average adventure plagued by bad localization from its original European release.

You primarily play as two recently married characters, Lara and Max, with the majority of time spent controlling the former. Lara is a detective who specializes in art-related crime, while her husband, Max, who's an artist, is mostly tagging along because they're on vacation together. What begins as a simple art theft investigation (because that's the best way for newlyweds to spend time together away from home) evolves into an increasingly convoluted tale of conspiracy, murder, and spirituality.

Why hello there, you studly stud you. I just love how you unbutton your top button. Oh yeah.

It's a standard point-and-click adventure in just about every way. Click on places you want to go, things you want to look at, or items you want to use. Some items can be carried in your inventory, often with no satisfying explanation of why ("Oh look, fresh asphalt! Don't mind if just stick some of that in my pocket for later"). Items can also be examined close up, and occasionally they can be combined, which helps you solve a variety of puzzles with often unconventional solutions. All in all, it's really just par for the course for the genre, which isn't inherently a bad thing, though it's certainly unoriginal.

Memento Mori 2: Guardians of Immortality is a below-average adventure plagued by bad localization from its original European release.

The real issue is that Memento Mori 2 is cobbled together from subpar pieces, a fact made worse by poor localization in terms of both translation and voice acting. Character models might look OK when standing still, but every animation looks stilted and unnatural. The dialogue and overall story range from uninteresting to bad, and many awkward phrases betray the fact that their writers are not native English speakers.

Nobody in Memento Mori 2 knows how to hold a phone against their ear.

And that's to say nothing of various bugs and errors, including one particularly troublesome issue where certain characters sometimes say the wrong line at the wrong time. The subtitle will be correct, but the audio is completely out of place, and may accidentally give away dialogue that is supposed to be uttered later. A slightly less jarring but still awkward issue is that many lines sound as if they aren't said by their actual actors, but rather by stand-ins trying (and failing) to imitate them. One line is delivered by the actor you're used to, and then the voice is different for the very next sentence before switching back again. Even basic audio mixing is a problem; characters on the other end of phone calls are practically inaudible.

In concept, though, Memento Mori 2 aims high, and there are brief moments when there seems to be an unpolished gem somewhere under the dirt of bad animation and voice work. During the globe-trotting plot, you are occasionally faced with choices that feel as if they might have interesting and important repercussions--but they don't. Sure, your ending might change slightly if you decide to hand over a resignation letter, and a scene where you can (if you choose to) hide certain pieces of evidence almost succeeds in adding tension to the situation, but for the most part, these choices feel more like missed opportunities than meaningful actions.

That might be OK if more than a handful of puzzles in the game were interesting. Sadly, many of Memento Mori 2's puzzles are good only on paper. For example, a relatively early puzzle has you dusting for and then comparing fingerprints, an action that is reasonable in the context of the story's investigation (though the character analyzing this evidence has no reason to know this skill) and can require a certain level of thought to execute. In practice, however, holding fingerprint samples side by side is less exciting than your everyday "spot the difference" style of puzzle. Furthermore, the common adventure game frustration of being stuck purely because you didn't spot the tiny item or clue on a single screen is here in full effect, though it's alleviated somewhat by the ability to highlight clickable objects with a button press.

Sorry, we ate the pizza on the way to the door. Can we still have the money?

But even that pales in comparison to the many actions you perform that are just plain boring. At one point in the game, you need to print some photos. But oh no, that darn printer is giving an error message. It's a paper jam, so you should open it up to fix that problem. Just find the switch to open the cover. But wait! You need to remove the toner first. You can't just pull the toner cartridge out, so find the switch that releases it. There, OK, now you can remove the paper jam and print what you need to print--after you put the toner back, obviously. It's all the tedium of an office job without the exhilaration of a paycheck.

Toward the end, Memento Mori 2's plot almost gets interesting. After hours of the game's own protagonist complaining that none of the plot details make sense, the game promises to explain everything and tie it all together after you stop a killer and maybe save the world or something. But that explanation isn't at all satisfying, leaving you with nothing to show from a rather boring expedition around the globe. If this is what immortality is about, then you have to wonder why anyone would bother to guard it in the first place.

The Good

    A handful of puzzles are interesting

The Bad

    Lackluster writing is worsened by a bad translation
    Most puzzles are boring
    Audio bugs and quirks make bad acting even worse
    Animations never look natural

Posted on May 23, 2014


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