A bit of disclosure to begin with so there’s no confusion. I’ve not played Memento Mori 1 at all so I don’t really know how the sequel holds up to the original. Also, due to technical difficulties I don’t think I’m too far into this one. Now that that’s out of the way…
Max and Lara from the original game are now newlyweds on their honeymoon in Cape Town when Lara’s boss phones her and gets her to go visit a local art museum. Turns out a few pieces have been stolen and the local police aren’t really doing much about it. In fact as far Captain Nomusa is concerned, the case is closed. But to be fair, he’s a bit of a bellend anyway so Max and Lara decide to work said case. Much to the gratitude of the museum owner, Mr Katlego. Turns out that amongst those stolen artefacts was a pair of statuettes that have some kind of voodoo ritual connections. Yup, combine this with Max’s bizarre nightmare visions and you’re in for a bucketful of crazy. I won’t say much more on the story though for fear of spoilers. It does however appear to involve travelling around the world, solving crimes as a few different characters, all the while being connected to this initial gallery theft.
Memento Mori 2, a point and click crime thriller, really screams 90s for some reason. It comes across a bit like a straight to DVD movie in a way. The dialogue doesn’t quite flow. It’s littered with not only clichés but also points where the characters seem to feel like they have to address the clichés. I’m not sure if we’ve just been spoiled by some of the more recent actors in gaming of recent times or not, but the voice work is wooden for the most part. The characters come across as too stereotypical and, combining this with some poor dialogue, it’s hard to care about them. Several points during conversations seem a bit buggy also. Characters will say a line that is completely different to the subtitles or their voice changes completely, as if another actor has stood in at the last minute.
Obviously though, Memento Mori 2 is predominantly about the puzzles. Being a crime based one, you’re going to have your fair share of forensic and investigation work to do. So, stick your CSI sunglasses on (poor one liners are optional as chances are Max will attempt to make a few anyway), and work your way through matching fingerprints and pieces of water damaged shipping manifesto from 100 years ago. The remainder of the puzzles seem to be the usual case of find this, put it here or combine it with this then put it here. Cliches creep in here too. For example the single and lonely receptionist won’t let you remove the newly installed grills from the window to dust it until you’ve flirted with her, giving her a box of chocolates. Some of these can be quite frustrating, although it’s the police work ones that truly stand out. You do have to persevere with these. The problem for me however, was that when I completed a few of them I didn’t feel any sense of pride for having worked it out, more just a sense of relief that I’d done it and could get on with the story. You can expect to walk between locations a hell of a lot unless you try every item in your inventory with every hotspot on screen, and even then you’re still going to be doing a fair bit of walking, and bare in mind that Max does seem to walk incredibly slow. Not even a half jog when he’s in a rush to get to the car. If there was maybe more of a time limit on various elements or random objects thrown in that actually have no real use in the game other than to confound you, it might have freshened things up a bit. It could also purely be due to where I am in the game currently, but Max’s visions haven’t really had much of an impact thus far. I’m hoping they get used a lot more as I get further.
In appearance, Memento Mori 2 has that certain 90s feel to it too, but that could be down to me having to lower my graphics settings to speed the game up as much as possible. It doesn’t look bad at its lowest, just a bit plain and untextured. When you do ramp the graphics right up though, it looks quite good. The water in the opening movie looks exceptional, as does the mountain in the distance behind the gallery. Just a shame really my PC doesn’t want to co-operate with the game at its best.
I’m struggling to keep my enthusiasm going for Memento Mori 2 which actually saddens me as I can see a lot of work has gone into it. It’s not been helped by the technical issues I’ve had either, like a couple of broken game saves that have meant I’ve had to start right from the beginning again. It’s not a bad game, just a mediocre one. Some truly inspired puzzles and a potentially great story that is let down by the dialogue.