Just a Short Jaunt through a Necropolis
In Memories of the Ruins the player assumes the role of Rai, an archeologist with the ability to read the thoughts of the dead, as he explores the fallen city Samon. During the course of the demo, Rai uncovers fragments into the city's final days, how it came to ruin, and what horrors may still lurk there.
This version of the demo (which is the second I've played) gives a good taste of both the atmosphere of the game and how the overall story will develop. In typical adventure game format, the player initially has limited access to the world but gains access to other areas by gathering special equipment, defeating enemies, and solving environmental puzzles.
In MotR, some of these environmental puzzles are difficult to recognize because there isn't consistency indicating which objects can be manipulated and which ones can't. Case in point: the first puzzle involves putting flowers on a grave. The grave is clearly marked as an object of interest; the flowers are not. In clicking on the grave it becomes obvious that flowers are necessary, so the fact that they aren't initially an object that can be interacted with isn't a problem because the player discovers this throughout the course of the puzzle. Unfortunately this process doesn't always apply, as the second puzzle involving the cannon doesn't indicate in any way that it's able to be manipulated or part of a puzzle at all.
Honestly, these are minor concerns that will get hammered out during the development process. One of the strong points of the indie game scene in Tokyo happens to be that developers often release updated alphas and betas of their games at various events as they are being developed. The result is a stronger game as these betas provide opportunities to test features and listen to feedback from players. This strength, however, is also one of the most maddening features -- some of these games I'd really like to play in full, not in developmental stages over the course of years!
While there are certainly technical issues that MotR will work out, the one I'm looking forward relates to combat mechanics. It's a bit...stiff. By that, I mean the ability of the player to react to threats in combat is limited. When Rai attacks, he's basically committed to attacking in whatever direction he's facing, and there's no way to break the attack animation -- through a dodge or guard, for example -- to deal with evolving threats.
That said, while Rai only has access to a basic attack and one special move in this demo, it seems as if additional moves will be added in the future. How this will work remains to be seen -- will abilities be gained through a RPG level up process, points that need to be invested from defeating enemies, or gained from the memories Rai discovers throughout the course of the game -- but it presents an interesting layer to the game that I look forward to seeing.
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