August 2, 2021

Song of Memories

Song of Memories – PS4 Review

Konnichiha! Senpai here, eating Pocky and listening to Hatsune Miku, she is so kawaii!! Yeah, I can't keep that up, but if you thought that was overly Japanese and Weaboo, brace yourself...
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Review by John Hellier

Konnichiha! Senpai here, eating Pocky and listening to Hatsune Miku, she is so kawaii!!  Yeah I can’t keep that up, but if you thought that was overly Japanese and Weaboo, brace yourself…

Song of Memories is the latest “game” from Pqube software. I say game in massive quotations because this is a visual novel. Now for those unaware of this genre, and can’t figure it out from the name, then let me enlighten you. Do you like pulse pounding action, intense gameplay and photorealistic graphics? Prepare for disappointment, because this has none of those things. What you do get is an awful lot of reading subtitles whilst watching anime characters vaguely act out the action.

This isn’t to say that it is bad, far from it actually, although I may be slightly biased given my inner weebishness (note. Weeb/Weaboo are originally insults aimed at people obsessed with anime and such if you needed an explanation). I’ve played a few of these types of games in the past, but nothing from this subgenre. What we have here could very easily be called “Harem Anime: The Game”.

So that’s going to have split the room right there, and if you don’t know what a harem anime is then here is the short version. The protagonist has multiple girls all trying to get with him and he doesn’t have a clue for the most part. Realism be damned! Anyway, in this case we have all the standard harem anime tropes to pick from, the pervy best friend, the very clearly¬† ADOPTED little sister, the athletic childhood friend, the beautiful but frail one, the token tsundere (Google it, I’m not here to explain everything you know…). This all plays out over several in game weeks where player decision decides which of the girls you will end up with.

So far so dull sounding right? This plays out for I’m not even sure how long, but I’d guess about a series in length (26 episodes, 25 minutes an episode, you do the math). Now during this time there are typical scenes, dates with the girls, going to school, obligatory swimsuit segment etc. But there are also occasionally unexpected events and an introduction of an AI JPop group that you acquire and use to fight off the odd monster…

So yeah, after the first season which is spent picking a girl, the series finale takes a sudden lurch into a pandemic of monsters attacking, which honestly is a refreshing change of pace. Cue the second season, complete with another showing of the opening song (pro tip, you get a trophy for this).

Season 2 follows the trials and tribulations of living in a virus outbreak which turns people into mutants for you to fight. Well I say people, the virus only affects females ( side note, don’t expect any SJW nonsense here, Japan has it’s own values and it doesn’t bow to anyone). And fight is also a tad inaccurate, as combat is equally Japanese in nature, being a combination of turn based combat and rhythm game. I’m not making this up.

So, now I’ve tried and probably failed, to describe the game, I’d better move on to if it’s any good right? Well, that’s why I’ve rambled so much, because after spending so many hours with it I’m still massively confused, and not just by the story. The artwork is standard anime fare, but clearly, a lot of effort has gone into making the characters emote and move in a believable manner. Conversely, there aren’t exactly a lot of characters to see, so get used to seeing the same faces for hours. Story-wise it gets intriguing once things go wrong, but it takes an awfully long time to get there. Gameplay wise? What can I say, you can press X to advance text passage by passage, or press L1 to set it to autoscroll. As I said earlier combat is another odd one, select a song, tap along in rhythm, heal yourself if you get too low on health, it only gets anywhere near challenging towards the end fighting bosses, and even then not overly so, although being a rhythm game aficionado might be part of that.

So should you buy it is the ultimate question, and the whole reason to get this far into my review. I’m not sure I could recommend it to everyone, in fact I know I couldn’t. You have to love all things Japan to get anything from this game, otherwise you will get maybe 10 minutes in and hate everything about it. If you are a fellow weeb then go for it, however to everyone else I’d recommend avoiding this.

Overall Score – 2/10

Now it’s time to get all the endings…