by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PC
It is no secret that I hold point-and-click adventure games to a different standard than all other games. I grew up with them. I learned to love the subtleties of the English language from them. They taught me the joy of seeing the resolution of a difficult puzzle. Some may say that because of this fanboyish relationship, I shouldn’t be the one reviewing these games. I’d say it makes me perfect for the job, as I’m overly critical of anything that doesn’t send my soul flying back to the smile-inducing golden years of my childhood. If it doesn’t give me the same thrill that Broken Sword, Full Throttle and Torin’s Passage did, then there is something wrong with it. Although there are definitely a few things wrong with Memento Mori, it is still a very interesting game to play.
Memento Mori refers to an artistic style that has been present in visual art from the very beginning. Pieces belonging to this style aim to remind us of our mortality by including images of death, such as skulls and other macabre objects. The very name means “Remember your mortality” or “Remember, you will die.” You play as Larisa Svetlova, a Russian Interpol investigator working in the field of art theft and forgeries. Your former boss at Russia’s Department 12 calls you up, stating that there is a possible situation emerging at the Hermatige museum in Petersburg. You are to find a former art forger named Maxime Durant and have him report to Ostankovic (ex-boss man) in order to investigate the museum. Everything must remain off the books.
The tasks you are to complete as Lara (Larisa’s nickname) are very mundane in the beginning. In fact, they were almost pointless enough for me to dismiss the game altogether. Just to get out of the house you have to get dressed, find your phone, find your charger, find a wall socket, and charge your phone. All vital tasks, to be sure, but they don’t exactly make for exciting gameplay. Perhaps it was the intention of the designers to give the player something very simple and obvious to do in order to familiarize newcomers to the point-and-click interface, but it could have been made so much more interesting.
When you arrive at the office, even more questionable design choices pop up. To get into the building, you will have to walk into the main lobby, interact with an elevator which gives you the option of going to the laboratory or your personal office, and then wait for the animation to run its course. Everyone who has studied interactive design knows that you should always try to get the user to where he wants to go in as few clicks as possible. This just feels as though the developers are deliberately trying to lengthen the duration of gameplay.
Intriguing narrative, great story, challenging puzzles, superbly designed plotline.
Dreadful voice acting, lackluster visuals, weak opening chapter.