Getting right to the point in our 2064 Read Only Memories review, it’s essentially a point-and-click adventure game. Set in a futuristic San Francisco, a myriad of social issues create an overarching narrative as you aid the sapient robot Turing in the search for his missing creator, and your friend; Hayden.
The structure of this review will likely be different to my usual work. There’s not a lot of actual gameplay to work with in 2064. Instead, the game relies heavily on the intrigue of the investigation plot. It’s all about the narrative, characters and performances. I’ve struggled with reviewing this game for the past couple of weeks. I can see a great many technical and artistic positives but I simply didn’t like it.
Up until the third of fourth chapter, I found myself completely disinterested. Maybe I just don’t like the genre.
I struggled similarly with Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness. Some games can grip me with their narrative alone, but I need a lot more than mostly-static backgrounds and an enjoyable soundtrack to have that happen. Nevertheless, let’s run down the moment-to-moment gameplay, pros, cons and finish up with my overall thoughts on the game.
2064: Read Only Memories – Moment-to-Moment
In 2064, you play from a first person perspective staring through a stylish console window. In said window, there are two partitions: one to display the character(s) you’re interacting with and a wider partition to show the area you’re in, characters on screen and items that you can hover over and interact with. The Playstation 4 track pad provides a sub-optimal alternative to a mouse, but sometimes it’s better to use than cycling through the scene using the D-Pad or analog stick. Point-and-click adventures don’t exactly suit a traditional game-pad.
As the protagonist, you can interact with a great many things in the world and some decisions (like, say, carrying spoiled milk from your fridge with you) can impact a point in your adventure. It’s necessary for you to explore the surroundings and find things to pick up and put in your inventory for later use.
The majority of your time will be spent engaging in conversation. Whether it’s lightly interrogating a witness or using violence to get your way, the world will react accordingly. Not in any major way, but allies and enemies can be made as you progress.
It’s all fairly straight-forward, but wrong answers can result in your game coming to an unceremonious end. Fortunately, 2064 offers multiple manual save files. Though, as it states often, the game doesn’t autosave, so be sure to save often. You never know when a decision you make could be your last.
The setting of Neo-SF is an interesting one. In 2064, many mundane tasks are handled by “ROMs” programmed to undertake them. Humans have access to cybernetic implants and gene manipulation is the cause of much controversy; having created hybrid humans for a variety of reasons. As such, there’s a conflict between “The Human Revolution” and the Hybrids as to whether or not “playing God” is something these people should be allowed to do. The game does a decent job of not painting the HR group as completely villainous, but it definitely falls more on the side of sympathising with hybrid-humans by delivering their character backgrounds with a heavy dose of the feels. The existence of this conflict plays in to the main narrative well enough, even if it never really goes anywhere.
Of the characters you meet in the game, I’d say it’s a fifty-fifty split on likeable versus awful. Luckily, the ones you spend most of your time with happen to be the best. Turing; your sapient robot partner, is great. Their inquisitive mind and peculiar interests bring to mind a bright, young person attempting to understand the world and find its own identity in it. Turing is the star of the show and is performed very well by Melissa Hutchison. A robot that isn’t overly robotic, as the point is to express that it’s more than just a simple machine. I’d say the game’s greatest accomplishment is that I found myself caring about Turing above anything else.
My final positive point on 2064 is the soundtrack. It’s excellent. That opening theme has been stuck in my head for weeks in the best way. I can’t fault a single piece of composition in the game (except for maybe 4 Moolah’s rhymes). Don’t take that as particularly high praise mind you: I’m not exactly a savant of the music industry. I just know what I like when it strikes me.
The quality of the voice acting in this game is made of peaks and valleys. I feel MidBoss’ appreciation of video game personalities works against its final product. When you’ve got the likes of Dave Fennoy doing narration, the disparity between his performance and say, Jim Sterling’s Human Revolution leader is abundantly clear. That’s by no means a knock against Jim, Dan Ryckert or any of the other people I’m a personal fan of in the industry. It just becomes that much more apparent when you have professionals working alongside those that aren’t as well-versed in voice acting in the same game.
On occasion, 2064 will spring puzzles on you. Whether it’s blocking exits with limited moves or matching numerous shapes to create a pattern, they’re dull. I understand the need to create an engaging moment in what is mostly paint-by-numbers experience, but I didn’t find the mini games engaging. Particularly the final mini game that resulted in me losing the first time and waiting to meet my end, only to find that the “end” never comes. It’ll be a complete spoiler to be any less vague, but my advice once again; save often.
I’ve mentioned the characters in 2064. Turing was great. Jess, on the other hand, is outright awful. I despise Jess. Oh, don’t worry; if you play your cards right you eventually get her sob-story and feel a tinge of sympathy. That said, she’s still the most abrasive character I’ve had the displeasure of having to engage with. If I ever return to 2064, I’m bringing a nacho cheese dip for all of those chips on her shoulder. I’m also going to make as many of the cat puns as possible.
2064: Read Only Memories is a short experience that feels long. As deeply conflicted as I am with the game, I find myself disliking it. Even if the final few chapters did manage to hook me somewhat, the build up to that point felt so slow. Even with all of Turing’s charm and many-a-feature from both voice actors and video game pundits I personally enjoy, the game itself bored me.
Still, if you’re seeking a point-and-click adventure game with a huge dollop of style and a well-crafted soundtrack, 2064 might be up your alley. It tells a decent story too. I just wish I liked adventure games more than I apparently do.
About This 2064 Read Only Memories Review
Game Name: 2064: Read Only Memories – Digital Download, Provided By Publisher
Review Format: PS4