Memory’s Dogma CODE:01 Review

CONTENT WARNING: This novel contains graphic descriptions of torture and mortal injury/death. Seriously, this is the warning given in-game.

Zetsuna’s back, this time with Memory’s Dogma CODE:01! Development was from Liz-Arts and Sekai Project handled localization through Kickstarter.

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Memory’s Dogma is a neuroscience × genetics × near-future sci-fi indie visual novel adventure game set in Fuchuu City, Japan in the year 2030. The novel follows despondent protagonist Kusuhara Hiroki as he tries to deal with life now that one of his close high school friends, Mizunashi Sorano, is gone. Through the advent of “e-Memory,” or being able to save memories in a digital format, the living can seek closure by talking to a hologram of their late loved ones in one of the four “Connect Centers.” One can only do this during a 49-day period (related to Buddhist tradition) because of data constraints. However, because of criminal misuse of the e-Memory technology, the government has outlawed e-Memory capture on living humans. Thus a discrepancy arises then Hiroki visits the late Sorano in the Tokyo Connect Center, and sets in motion his desperate efforts to uncover the grim truth behind Sorano’s “demise.”

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Ok wow, I was absolutely floored by the lovingly polished game upon startup – the full voice acting in Japanese (even Hiroki!) from some highly prominent voice actors, the gorgeous artwork, and the mainly subtle and low-key instrumentals that accentuate the events of the game, although there are tracks that suit the more tense sequences too. Yuchi also did absolutely great with making the user interface appear sleek and futuristic.

Memory’s Dogma comes with 24 save slots and quick save/load functionality. The skip function seems to be only on the mouse option instead of being bound to a held key as well. However, the Tips listing (kind of a misnomer) is an excellent handbook to the more relevant terms used in Memory’s Dogma, so the reader can briefly look up the definition of, say “Algorithms” if they are unsure. The backlog can be pulled up with mousewheel, and as an added bonus, each voiced line appears in a muted blue and replays the voice clip on a click.

One thing to be aware of is that Memory’s Dogma has a timer attached to each dialog choice selection presented to the reader. Should the timer run out, the game defaults to a choice which may result in unexpected scenarios, so pay attention!

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What a roller coaster Memory’s Dogma turned out to be. I found that it did well with balancing the slower moments with the action-heavy scenarios. There were places where highly technical explanations were somewhat harder to sift through, but not overly much to detract from the novel itself. Overall I’d rate it as a good and gripping read – definitely pick it up if you love sci-fi stuff, but do keep in mind the graphic descriptions of violence and torture. The estimated playtime is 10 hours.

Memory’s Dogma is regularly priced at $14.99 on Steam, and is discounted by 10% until November 11. There is also a free supplemental manga PDF from Comiket depicting the early game, although a Twitter account is required.

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