2064: Read Only Memories Review

By Megan Walton, 1 year ago
Point and click adventure games need to make sure they have a stand out story, as the gameplay can sometimes feel overly simplified and lacking. Mysteries and thrillers often seem to go hand in hand with this kind of genre, and 2064: Read Only Memories also fits nicely into this category. This cyberpunk story may take some getting into, but once you are fully immersed in it, you'll be thoroughly rewarded for your time.

Get ready for a lot of readingGet ready for a lot of reading

The story begins in San Francisco, although you'd be forgiven for not recognising it as things have progressed quite a way. The year is 2064, and personal assistant robots have taken over many jobs, including filling in for your phone or laptop. On top of this, humans are also able to get augments to their body, with some going as far as becoming hybrids as they take on most of the characteristics of another animal. It's a strange world, but the cyberpunk setting for it all feels perfect for this rather odd tale.

You play as an un-named journalist who is going about their daily business, writing up reviews and living in a fairly run down apartment. You wake up one morning near Christmas to find a robot has made its way into your house, confronting you with the fact that its creator and your friend, Hayden, has been kidnapped. The little robot, who eventually introduces itself as Turing, enlists your help to try and find out what's happened to Hayden, and you soon realise that this is no straightforward kidnapping. With a number of corrupt companies and characters involved, you're never quite sure who's your friend and who to trust, which makes the game exciting and the ending a mystery until you actually experience it.

The ending itself is not set in stone with five different scenarios for you to experience. Not only does this mean that the game offers plenty of replayability, but each and every decision that you make along the way could potentially affect the outcome of your story. You will meet a lot of different people along your journey, some of whom may be able to help you out if you rub them the right way. Each of these people has their own unique personality, whether that's Tomcat's seemingly happy go lucky attitude, Chad and Oliver's front of youthful naivety, or Jess' in your face rudeness that may just be hiding some real pain. Everyone is a genuine delight to get to know, and you can choose whether to be friendly or less so to each and every person you meet, which in turn may help or hinder your journey.

A large part of your story is spent having conversations with these characters, trawling through the endless talking to find the important bits. There is an awful lot of conversation and, consequently, an awful lot of reading, which can get tedious after a while, especially if you want to go through all the different options with each character. Luckily, this is broken up with a fair amount of puzzle solving, a lot of which requires some serious out of the box thinking. Some puzzles are simply solved with items you'll find in the world, whether that's using a brick to throw at a robot, helping a rapper write his new song with a box of donuts, or simply pouring some milk into a cup of coffee. Some of these puzzles have different ways of solving them, which give different outcomes that might help you later on in the story and makes trying to figure them out all the more fun.

Each puzzle usually has a couple of outcomes, you just have to find out what they areEach puzzle usually has a couple of outcomes, you just have to find out what they are

The other type of puzzle you'll have to solve is scheduled at different points in the game, and include things like navigating your way through a sewer system, trying to stop a taxi by cutting off its exits, and putting together symbols using different icons. While some of these will simply need to be replayed if you fail, others alter the story instead. What the game does well is offer you a different option for nearly everything you do, and even failing to do something seems to open up a new path. This means different playthroughs offer you the chance to explore not only different endings but different outcomes to incidents throughout the game.

Everything you do in the game is set to happen at a specific location, and rather than being able to free roam, you simply have a map that allows you to click through different locations. At each location you have a screen full of things to see, and possibly an arrow that you can click allowing you to move to a second screen. While this may feel slightly limited, there are a number of different locations you'll visit. They may not be overly fancy looking, or have an over the top design, but this limits your possibility of wandering off track or getting stuck on any puzzle for too long.

The point and click gameplay that supports these puzzle works well for the most part, but when it goes wrong, it goes really wrong. You can use the analogue stick as well as the d-pad, or jump between the two whenever you see fit to use one or the other. This doesn't always work flawlessly, though. Not only does it become awkward during a shooting mini game or puzzle (which appear more than once), but also when typing on the in-game keyboard and even sometimes when simply trying to click. It doesn't always respond how it should, and this unfortunately is a big problem within the game.

One thing the game does right is grasping the perfect feel of retro gaming and pairing it with something very on topic and forward thinking. The cyberpunk based soundtrack is a joy for the ears, and you can flick through each track individually by interacting with an in-game item. This is mirrored with the whole look of the game, which is a minimal screen that displays pixelated characters and items. While it may hurt your eyes every now and again after a long period of gaming, it actually brings everything together surprisingly well, and never takes anything away from the well told story.

The map may feel limited, but it also helps point you in the right directionThe map may feel limited, but it also helps point you in the right direction

In terms of forward thinking, part of the game's story is focused around what it means to be alive and what it means to be human. Turing is a sapient machine (voiced by the excellent Melissa Hutchinson, who will be familiar as Clementine from The Walking Dead). Jess, a cat hybrid character, is fighting for the rights of other hybrids, who are sometimes being treated differently for what they are, and even denied the right to have children. These serious issues are interesting to experience and make it obvious there is a lot more to the story than a simple kidnapping. In addition to picking your name, you can pick by which pronouns you want to be addressed (he, she, they, or even enter your own), as well as specify your diet (halal, veggie, omni, etc). On top of this there are an abudance of gay characters, all of which is pleasant to see appearing in current video games.

In terms of achievements, there are a total of 64 on offer. Each of the four set endings will earn you an achievement, as will the fifth option, which isn't technically an ending but just something that can happen. You'll need at least two full playthroughs to make friends and then make enemies with everyone you meet, but making use of the save system will allow you to get most of the achievements without playing through anymore than twice fully and twice partly. There are lots of miscellaneous achievements that require you to drink a lot, find a use for some spoiled milk, keep a plant alive and even decide to turn down the last mission. There's a couple that might cause some problems, including playing through in one sitting and not getting hit at a certain point, but aside from that it is an achievable 1000G.

Check out our Best Xbox Adventure Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

2064: Read Only Memories is a well told futuristic story that does so many things right. The retro cyberpunk setting and soundtrack is a joy, and it feels like everything you do in the game has an impact. Characters actually have their own personalities, and the puzzles often have different outcomes that require some thinking on your part. Sadly, the game is let down by a few issues that can't be forgiven. Even for a narrative driven game, there is an awful amount of reading to pick through. Worse than that, though, the controls will cause you issues on numerous occasions where the d-pad and analogue stick are both involved. Overall, though, the game can be deemed a success, and your journey with Turing is one well worth experiencing.
4 / 5
2064: Read Only Memories
Positives
  • Interesting and forward thinking story
  • Retro and enjoyable soundtrack
  • Wide roster of interesting characters
  • Plenty of choices that have genuine impact on story
  • Requires some out of the box thinking for puzzles
Negatives
  • Large amount of reading can get tedious
  • Controls can be awkward and cause problems
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent a number of hours investigating leads, listening to people talk a lot, and pointing and clicking a fair few times along the way, experiencing all of the game's endings and unlocking all 64 achievements. An Xbox One download code for the game was provided for this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Megan Walton
Written by Megan Walton
Megan is a TA newshound and reviewer who has been writing for the site since early 2014. Currently working in catering, she enjoys cooking extravagant dishes, baking birthday cakes for friends and family in peculiar shapes, writing depressing poetry about life and death, and unlocking every achievement possible.