Review: 2064: Read Only Memories (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita (TBD)
  • Xbox One (TBD)
  • PC, Mac, Linux
  • iOS, Android (TBD)

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K TV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • PlayStation TV Compatible TBD
  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save TBD
  • Cross-Play TBD
  • Cross-Chat TBD
Title: 2064: Read Only Memories
Format: PSN (1.56 GB)
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: MidBoss LLC
Developer: MidBoss LLC
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Nostalgia is a hell of a thing. At times is can make something appear much grander than it actually is. Fortunately, some things from our past can age well: Star Wars, Fraggle Rock, etc.

I have always considered the old SEGA CD game, Snatcher, to be one of the most unique experiences of my gaming past. It was a cyberpunk graphical adventure game by Hideo Kojima, it had a mini-Metal Gear as a sidekick, it felt like playing through one of my favorite films of all time, Blade Runner, and it had a murder-mystery element to it that resembled one of my favorite film genres, noir.

But it has been quite a long time since I’ve played it or anything like it, so I often wonder if the game has aged well or not.

2064: Read Only Memories (ROM) gave me the opportunity to evaluate my thoughts on the matter. It has been decades since I have played a game like it and I found that this style of gameplay, when done well, can still engage and entertain, so long as there is great writing attached to it.

Because, let’s face it, there was very little animation in games like Snatcher. You seldom even saw your character aside from cinematics so the game had to engage you in other ways. Enter “great narrative” and “smart writing”, and you have the reasons why this is a great little game.

… a point and click affair …
This game is chatty. And I mean pages and pages of dialogue chatty. If you have issues with a title primarily guided by the written word, then steer clear, as this is not for you. Not only is your companion robot, Turing, a talkative individual, but she has a lot to say. This is very relevant to the story because she is a robot who is much like a child, so her curiosity and observations are part of her charm and also a component of her importance to the story.

The game places you in the role of a tech-writer for a website. You review electronics and are looking for your big break in the journalistic industry. Opportunity knocks when Turning, a robot developed by a friend of yours, shows up at your doorstep to alert you that your friend, Hayden, has been kidnapped.

The search for your pal takes you across the city of New San Francisco, introduces you to a colorful array of unique characters, and tasks you with solving the mystery of his disappearance.

As a first-person graphical adventure, you’ll see things through the eyes of your character. Moving between the different environments is done by clicking on map locations, while speaking to people and investigating objects is a point and click affair.

… pixelated art conveys that cyberpunk-ish aesthetic …
Fortunately, and I almost missed this, you can use the DualShock 4’s touch pad to simulate mouse movement, which is an incredibly great feature, because using the directional buttons to select a specific item can get pretty challenging when there are a lot of selectable elements on the screen.

Gameplay in ROM involves looking at objects, speaking to NPCs, gathering clues and solving puzzles. So if you are familiar with the old Snatcher game, this will feel nostalgically familiar (including the action shooting sequences). The menu system is pretty simple, with obvious icons representing your options when you select a person or object. One small piece of advice: ROM does not auto-save, so save often.

Visuals:
Factoring in the style this game is going for, Read Only Memories looks great. Despite evoking a look from two decades ago, the pixelated art conveys that cyberpunk-ish aesthetic that made Snatcher so engaging.

Not only that but all of the speaking characters have great animations that go beyond just watching a static face on the screen. Cars zip by busy city streets, and club lights flash to convey a bustling local. Even the UI is simple to use, a component I found refreshing, since there’s no instruction manual to refer to.

… breaking up the long exposition with some emotive expression …
Audio:
Another essential component to making a game like this work is great audio, otherwise you would often be staring at a static screenshot. It is a welcoming fortune then that there’s some decent voice acting and sound design to bring these pixelated environments to life. If it’s not the sound of a busy street, then it’s the bass of that nearby club.

Voice acting works wonders here as well, as most of the primary characters are fully voiced and do a great job of breaking up the long exposition with some emotive expression. Turing, your AI robot companion, might grate on some players, but I found her banter enjoyable, again, particularly because she is supposed to be innocent and naïve.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Since this type of gameplay has been relatively rare on consoles, I only recommend this to those who are familiar with the style and appreciate a fun story told through a crapload of dialogue and visuals that are no more than interactive screenshots.

Do not confuse this with those terrible games that littered smartphones for a few years. This is a full-fledged adventure game with a narrative and interesting characters. There are puzzles to solve and places to investigate, but this is done through a point and click interface harkening back to a genre that I longed to try again.

The substance here lies in the narrative and the performances of the actors telling the story, all of which is executed well. I can’t wait for the announced PlayStation Vita release because it would greatly work on a touch screen, and on the go for that matter. But none of that takes away from this being a great little adventure game on the PlayStation 4.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • Whooo I love me my interactive visual novels like Phoenix Wright. I heard a lot about this and I am definitely going to get this one sooner than later. Your review confirmed that this is everything I wanted it to be!

    • Rey Barrera

      I love Phoenix Wright as well. What’s nice about this one is the cyberpunk setting.

  • Renegade Bastard

    Once this game hits PS Vita… Count me in as a buy! Seems like the game would be best played on Vita, IMO.

    • Rey Barrera

      You’re absolutely right. The touch screen would work great for the interface.