Also On: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Given how much I enjoyed VA-11 HALL-A, I figured that 2064: Read Only Memories would also be right up my alley. After all, the two games aren?t just both cyberpunk with a bit of anime-inspired flair, they also share a universe. Even if they come from different developers, that?s more than enough to pique my interest. (In fact, a friend even said to me that if I liked VA-11 HALL-A, I would probably like 2064 as well.)
The reality is a little more complicated. The two games may share the same visual flair — not to mention a character or two — but that?s pretty much it. Whereas VA-11 HALL-A didn?t aspire to be much more than a laidback game where, as a bartender, you essentially watch the world and its inhabitants go by, 2064 gives you something to do and has something to say.
The something to say part is fine, albeit a little heavy-handed. I?d say that 2064 has a queer subtext, but that would be understating things: it?s pretty explicitly the text here. Even if you didn?t go into the game knowing that, the imagery and language around so-called “hybrids” seems like it would be pretty hard to miss. Given everything happening in the world, there?s probably a pretty good argument to be made for game that preaches inclusion, so I?m not going to quibble with that.
What I will quibble with, however, is the game?s pacing. 2064 is somewhere between a point-and-click adventure and a visual novel, only it seems to combine the less attractive qualities of both genres. You have to click on seemingly every object in room in order to make sure you?ve found everything you need to find, and every conversation moves incredibly slowly and involves massive amounts of exposition. I know there?s something to be said for sitting back and enjoying everything a game throws at you as it builds its world (see: VA-11 HALL-A), but there are definitely points where you wish you could shake whatever character you?re talking to and beg them to just get to the point already.
Your tolerance for all these endless conversations will definitely depend on how well you handle quirk. See, the world of 2064 is full of quirky characters, from childlike talking robots to Southern belle hackers to all kinds of hybrids. As with the conversations, it probably works best if you?re willing to just give in and go with it.
Is it worth it, though? In 2064?s case, that answer feels even more personal than it would with most games. I mean, consider what I?ve referenced in this review alone: cyberpunk, anime, visual novels, point-and-click adventures, and quirky characters. In isolation, any one of those things are pretty niche; put them all together, and you have a recipe for a game that will appeal to a very specific audience — and not even necessarily the exact same one as that of VA-11 HALL-A (though it?s a pretty close fit in that case). If those words raised your hackles, steer clear, but if you like any one of those subcultures, you?d be well-advised to check 2064 out.
Midboss provided us with a 2064:Read Only Memories PS Vita code for review purposes.