Sunday, August 19

Review: 2064 - Read Only Memories INTEGRAL [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While the Switch has had quite a number of adventures come its way there’s not been anything to date quite like 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL in terms of its approach or its subject matter. Set in a future and very cyberpunk-y world full of enhanced humans and robots you’ll play the role of a struggling journalist whose world is turned a bit upside down by the appearance of a very special bot named Turing. Through the course of the experience, which actually may be more of an interactive novel than a game, you’ll explore a great deal of philosophy, enjoy some great dialogue, and make some likely critical decisions… but if you were hoping for more you’ll likely be disappointed.

The impetus for the journey is the disappearance of your former friend Hayden Webber. He is the person who created Turing, an obviously very advanced robot that exhibits personality and often seems to approach being a human in terms of perceptions and even “feelings”. It’s the consequence of this and the philosophy concerning “being” that drew me in the most, but the overall cast of characters, including familiar ideas like rule-breaking cops or street punks, and more exotic ones like animal human hybrids bring forward questions and perceptions from many directions. What helps to flesh all of this out and bring the experience beyond just you reading a ton of text is some terrific voice acting. In particular, Turing’s extensive dialogue is handled admirably… which greatly contributes to the feeling he/she/it is more than just a soulless robot.

There’s no doubt that the biggest weakness here is how little there is to do of consequence or challenge along the way aside from making dialogue choices. You’ll move to new locations and engage in very old school adventure activities like look around and perhaps use an item here and there to advance the story but overall this is a sliver of the experience. Granted, that avoids the classic genre pitfalls of weird puzzles with unorthodox solutions but in its place you have an almost “on rails” experience that may not scratch your gaming itch depending on what you’re looking for. You can get a bit stuck in places, wondering what you need to do to keep things moving, but in general the key is always to be sure to talk to everyone and you’ll even need to return to the same person more than once periodically.

If your goal is to find something different that is chock full of alternative views and some philosophy Read Only Memories absolutely shoots for that target and scores admirably. It’s very much an experience geared towards self-reflection and exploring philosophy around technology, the course of human advancement, and different legitimate perspectives concerning those topics. If that sounds like something that you will enjoy digesting over a fair number of hours, performing some adventure-like tasks periodically to keep things moving, then this pretty unique experience may be for you. If not, you should steer clear.

Score: 6

  • The quality of the voice acting helps bring the experience “off the page”
  • Serves as a great exploration on philosophy around multiple topics

  • Not so much a game as an interactive novel
  • The abundance of dialogue and philosophizing may be a turn off to some
  • Covers some topics and shares perspectives that more conservative people may want to steer clear of