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Friday, June 26, 2009

[insani] True Remembrance review


Rating: A

Imagine a world where headaches are literally treated with decapitation, and you get the idea of the world of True Remembrance. The story revolves around the world of specialized folks who somehow have the power to help people forget anything that pains them. The disease is called "the dolor", which means emo-shit in layman's terms and the doctors are called Mnemocides, and to kill memories is the treatment.

The game shifts between the perspectives of 3 very different but very developed characters. Hell, I haven't encountered any character whose development was under par. Even the more minor ones (Ilya, Mar and Lips) made a lasting impression throughout the game. This game makes good use of the slice-of-life method to develop the characters, and such method also requires good pacing. I mean, even simple acts like braiding one's hair, grinding coffee beans by hand or listening to the radio say much in developing the character.

However, character development mainly fell squarely on the 3 main characters: Blackiris, the brooding prodigy assigned to "treat" La, an honest and naive girl whose real nature is actually a more powerful class of Mnemocide, and Rook, a carefree Mnemocide who runs an unprofitable eatery. Each of them have their own narrative and worldview, which is evident in each one's narration. Rook and Blackiris have this air of cynicism whenever they narrate the story, while La is more neutral.

The story poses an interesting talking point: Whether the destruction of memories is actually a kind of partial death, in the sense that the game seems to give the message that memories constitute a part of life itself. You know, this whole "memories substantiate our existence" thing. This thought is explored in the individual cases Blackiris treats over the course of the game, and in his life too. See, whenever patients are treated, they walk out of that gloomy town without any trace of those dolor-inducing memories. Not only that, everything associated with such memories which might act as trigger, family in Ilya's case and Blackiris' life in his gets wiped out, thus making the actual damage of getting rid of memories much larger than initially thought.

Because the story is very character driven despite the overarching plot, there's a lot of day-to-day interaction between the characters. Therefore, do not expect a dramatic story. I did not feel strong emotion while playing the game. It is not as dramatic as Moonshine, for instance. It is compensated though by a warm sense of familiarity instead although I would've preferred Blackiris be reunited with Maria in the end or just see her once more outside at least (which didn't happen). Damn...

Because it's insani, this game is freeware. Download at
trueremembrance.insani.org

Stay tuned.

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