Memory’s Dogma CODE:01 isa dark and thought provoking science fiction visual novel with mild murder mystery elements and a lot of decision making. The game was developed by Liz-Arts who was previously known for their adorable point and click adventure game titled Resette’s Prescription, the developer is still very new to the industry but has already shown an amazing amount of skill.Memory’s Dogma received a lot of support through its highly successful Kickstarter campaign which ended early July 2015. The game was also successfully Greenlit within only a week of being added to Steam Greenlight. Memory’s Dogma was Finally published to Steam early November 2016 by Sekai Project. The game does not include any Steam achievements but it does include Steam trading cards that feature some of the game’s amazing art.
The game takes place in a fictional Japanese setting, it is in the year 2030 and advancements in technology allow human memories to be saved with e-memory. The memories of deceased can be used to speak to the deceased at the Connect Centers using the person’s thought patterns to determine how they would respond and react. After making yet another attempt at suicide a young man named Hiroki is finally convinced by his friend that he should speak to his deceased girlfriend’s memories to gain some closure. Hiroki believes that it is his fault that Sorano was killed in an accident. He longs to be close to her again but he must figure out why she was behaving oddly and attempted to break off the relationship with him only moments before her death. Hiroki and his friend Kakeru both head to the Connect Center to meet with her memories and discover the truth behind her death. Hiroki soon finds out that he is forbidden from asking any direct details about her death and upon asking her memories questions something begins to seem off about the Connect Center and her death. Kakeru attempts to connect to the device which displays Sorano’s memories so that he can steal them but Hiroku and Kakeru are soon caught and flee the building. As the story unfolds Hiroku gains many allies as he attempts to uncover the truth behind Sorano’s tragic death and the true purpose of the Connect Center.
The game has a few possible endings which are dependent on decisions you make as the story progresses. Unfortunately, it can become very difficult to tell which path you are on since some of the answers don’t give the result many would expect. Another thing to keep in mind is that there are also choices that will loop you back to a point before you made the decision rather than lead to an ending. Aside from the fact that it can be annoying to have to replay a small chunk of the game it also makes the game feel quite a bit more limited than expected. The endings themselves could also easily be considered less than desirable especially if you are someone who prefers a lighthearted ending. It feels like the main parts of the story received a lot of attention but the decisions and endings did not. The endings lacked closure and many questions were left unanswered .The game is more enjoyable if you focus more on the static parts of the story rather than achieving a specific ending.
The game is full of detailed backgrounds, colorful character designs, and smooth animations that add a great deal of depth to the world. The characters designed by Torase Kuno are colorful and detailed but many of the characters don’t fit well together and it occasionally broke the immersion. The cast is well designed when each character is looked at individually but when looked at as a whole the cast is an odd mix of magical girl cosplayers, inexperienced detectives, troubled young men, and practically any other anime cliche you can think of. When it comes to the quality of the graphics the background art stood out the most. Many of the backgrounds were so detailed they almost looked like they could be based on real places in Japan.The animations were also so well done that many of them appeared realistic especially when it showed the clouds moving in the sky. The high definition graphics are one of the game’s most notable features and one the game’s strongest points.
Memory’s Dogma CODE:01 is an interesting visual novel that is full of potential despite its flaws. The voice cast features popular voice actresses such as Yuu Asakawa who is known for voicing the Vocaloid Luka. The game’s soundtrack and graphics are high quality and add a greater level of depth to the game. The decision making in the game as well as the endings can be frustrating but the story itself is powerful and intriguing. I don’t recommend the game to those who are beginners to the visual novel genre or to those who prefer a more relaxing visual novel experience.The game will be most enjoyable to those who enjoy complicated and thought provoking visual novels.
PROS (+): Captivating Graphics, Thought Provoking Story, Quality Voice Acting
CONS (-): Frustrating Choices, Lack of Closure
This review is based on a digital copy of Memory’s Dogma CODE:01 on Steam provided by Sekai Project.