Described by Konami as an "interactive novel", the game's plot follows the fortunes of lead character Eike, a man knifed to death in a quiet German town by an unknown assailant, who must save his own life and in the process discover why he was murdered in the first place.
This is a full 3-D world around which Eike can wander in a number of different time zones ranging from the present back to the middle ages, with suitable graphical treatments for all. It's a standard adventure game fare, with the usual array of objects to collect and use in the pursuit of altering history. Graphics are well above average and convey a real sense of being there; this is heightened by the superb 3-D sound, which makes a major mark on the gameplay, thoroughly enhancing the atmosphere in a way little seen in console games.
There are only two things which prevent Shadow of Memories from being a grade A PS2 title. The first is the length and frequency of the cutscenes. In the first 45 minutes or so of play there's so much scene setting that there's precious little for the player to do except watch--it can be frustrating, but the patient player is rewarded with a deep and immersive experience that becomes compulsive. The second is the short playing time--around seven hours to complete one of the game's half dozen paths. It's just not long enough for the serious gamer and does the title no justice.
However, if you can get past these hurdles, Shadow of Memories is a wonderful game, with the plot intriguing enough to have you arguing over who the killer was.
Shadow of Memories certainly won't be to everyone's taste. It's unusual mix of heavy storytelling and adventure action seems a little odd at first but perseverance is the name of the game and the player who sticks with it will be left with an engrossing experience. --Chris Russell
With the help of a handheld time travel device, Eike must try to change the future.
From the 16th Century to present day, time must be navigated, time lines maintained and paradoxes avoided if Eike is to have any chance of saving himself and discovering his purpose.
What is Homonculus? What is the Philosophers stone? Why would a 16th Century alchemist want it? Why is someone so keen you should live? Why is someone so keen you should die? What happens if you leave people in there wrong time?
Shadow of Memories (sold abroad as Shadow of Destiny) is very much so for the latter group, except there isn't even any turn-based combat- there is just plot, and minimal gameplay (largely running around places and between timezones) with only flimsy excuses for puzzles. You need to collect energy balls to travel between timezones- but there are so many you that it's rather pointless and get the feeling that they were added as a committee decision at the end of the game development.
The plot runs along the lines of "A man dies, but is given the chance to change his fate by going back in time". There are numerous endings- technically there are 7- all of which interweave and reveal more and more about the characters' true histories.
The game starts off well, with a spooky feeling as your character, Eike, tries to avoid being killed. It's way easy though, and after you've finished a couple of the endings you may get a bit bored trying to get the other few. It's satisfying when you get the "A" ending and the "EX" endings; it's just getting there that's the problem.
Still, there are some nice little extras for getting there- some movies of development and the EX ending are unlocked when you complete the various threads. But you can't help getting a feeling that you've been a bit cheated on actual entertainment, as you sit there watching the game go by.
I would recommend the game to those who *wouldn't* buy a football or racing game, but who *would* buy all the Final Fantasy games. Some people will love the cerebral nature of the game but like I said, it's not for everyone.
However, for those who want to get emmersed in a story and adventure - this is for you. Essentially 1 part 3D platformer, 2 parts point and click (without a mouse), these types of gaes are based on two things - storyline and their puzzles.
Shadow of Memories places you as Eike, a man killed but given the chance to go back through time and cheat death by preparing yourself for the incident and preventing your death. However fate has it in for you so you must cheat death for the day before you can go on living life again.
How you cheat death is ho the puzzles work. You can go back in time and effect events, objects or even buldings and scenery up to hundreds of years ago - and that will effect how things end up in the future and hopefully keep you alive. But you must get it all done before your next time of death otherwise you'll be lost in time forever!
It sounds like great scope for adventure and while the story ticks over perfectly, the puzzles dont really seem to get going. You cant get stuck for too long because your given a lot of tips on what to do. Thankfully getting all the different endings (all signiicantly different too) provides a much harder task and you'll be more than willing to revisit the game over and over to see what all the different choices you make can do.
An excellent piece of story telling raise this games ball. Not essential by any means - but for people who get into their games like they do good films, I'd heartily recommend this.