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2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL Review: Technoboiled

/ Aug 30th, 2018 No Comments

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL Review

Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan is a comic book classic that mixed the tenants of gonzo journalism with a cyberpunk society rife with proliferated technology. It starred a foul mouled, drug addled retired journalist named Spider Jerusalem. He is forced to head back into The City and mire in technology-drenched decadence and corruption to finish his book deal.

Spider covers topics as varied as political corruption, machine intelligence, transhumanism and more. Shades of Transmetropolitan can be seen in 2064: Read Only Memories, which is very lofty praise. However, it is not without merit.

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL is a triumph of storytelling and characterization. It uses a blend of cyberpunk and noir to drive a scintillating mystery that you can’t help but want to get to the bottom of. The point-and-click gameplay helps facilitate the narrative in a smart and engaging way.

Noir Journalism

In 2064, Neo-San Francisco is a world transformed by corporations and technology. Bankruptcy in the early 2020s transformed the way public works and the police work. Now existing in a weird ecosystem of corporate own municipals, the landscape of the Golden State has been changed forever.

ROMs exist for every task imaginable, their proliferation pushed by the powerful and profitable megacorporation Parallax. Entertainment has been transformed by virtual reality, allowing people to connect with one another, lose themselves in immersive realities and watch addictive VR dramas. Genetic modifications have turned normal humans into animal-human hybrids of every type imaginable.

Tensions are growing between a movement called The Human Revolution and the hybrid population, and it is threatening to boil over. You think none of this affects you as you write tech reviews, but you soon find yourself in the thick of things.

It is all thanks to your friend, Hayden, a prodigious engineer for Parallax whose off-hour work shows up at your doorstep one night unbidden.
 

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL Review

Turing doesn’t mince words, but they do believe in you.

Turing is the first sapient machine intelligence created by Hayden in his spare time. It shows up in your apartment to implore you to help it because Hayden has been kidnapped. Why you? Turing is quick to point out your sharp skills as an investigative journalist make you uniquely suited to track down Hayden and his kidnappers.

However, there is more than just a disappearance at work. You’ll find that by helping Turing, you are taking on a mystery that won’t just change Neo-SF forever, but the entire world.

Cyperpunk 2064

2064: Read Only Memories creates a complex and sophisticated world with history and depth through its rich cast of characters and outstanding character work. While Turing can act as a exposition device at times, painting this character as a precocious teenager slowly getting used to its own existence and burgeoning personality mostly goes to further the game’s character work.

Not only does Turing’s character help give you a broader sense of Neo-SF and the tensions brewing within it, but all the characters you encounter serve to deepen your understanding of these tensions. Whether it is Jess giving you insight into the hybrid population’s plight, TOMCAT helping you understand the tech side of things, or Lexi giving you a boots-on-the-ground perspective of the corruption of the police force, the characters drive the story.

The narrative draws on noir inspiration to make you feel every bit as hard boiled as Turing jokes about. Neo-SF is a marvel of technology, but it is dangerous. If you’re not careful, you may get eaten alive. Ask the wrong question or trust the wrong person, and you may find yourself on the other end of a bad beat. It takes savvy and street smarts to keep ahead of a city where everyone has ulterior motives.
 

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL Review

The more information you gain, the more you realize there’s more to Hayden’s disappearance.

As a mystery, 2064: Read Only Memories keeps its cards close to its chest. It takes turns and, while the core mystery is finding out what happened to Hayden, it quickly becomes about much, much more.

Turing is the ultimate mystery, and solving its origins and purpose will take you to some interesting places. The mystery isn’t a whodunit so much as what has done it and what are you going to do about it.

Neo-SF itself is a character that pulses with a life all its own. The variety of citizens in Neo-SF create an eclectic makeup. The city is a wondrous playground full of ROMs, hybrids, street punks, intelligent polar bears, eccentric tech moguls, rapping wrestlers, pompous entertainment types and shady figures.

Ask the Hard Questions

If you’ve played any point-and-click adventure game, then you know what you’re going to get when you boot up 2064: Read Only Memories. It delivers classic point-and-click gameplay that is sure to please fans of the genre.

You click on things, interact with them and, most importantly, talk to people. Items are used as a way to progress the story and solve basic story-driven puzzles. It is all what you would expect from the genre.

If point and click isn’t your cup of tea, 2064 probably won’t change your mind on the gameplay style because it is very traditional. However, if you give the game a chance, you will find yourself immersed in the world and see why the point-and-click style is the perfect vehicle for the story.
 

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL Review

2064: Read Only Memories’ prologue puts you into the role of a struggling freelance journalist.

What 2064: Read Only Memories may lack in terms of riffing meaningfully on the point-and-click formula it more than makes up for in terms of role playing. It’s biggest achievement is perfectly placing you into the role and mindset of a struggling journalist who is thrust unwittingly into this mystery.

You start the game reviewing a pair of headphones for lackluster freelance work. As you compose the review, you marvel at the squalor of your apartment in Neo SF. The struggle is real. This short, almost trivial moment in the bigger context of the story does more to put you into the mindset of the character than anything else.

You get more shades of your character when Turing shows up to request your help. Through Turing, you know your true call as a hard-nose investigative journalist who found the world doesn’t have much need for one most of the time. It is also by meeting Turing that you get to decide how you will deal with this world and its players.

Are you a sardonic jerk with a devil-may-care attitude trying to disarm enemies with wit or do you try to treat people with respect to get what you want? Do you use a more nuanced method, letting the moment, who you are dealing with and your mood dictate how you respond and interact? You have a lot of options in how you get into the role of the hard-boiled journalist turned detective.

By tracking down leads and meeting more people, you get to decide a lot on how you cultivate your relationships. Some characters are resistant to certain conversational methods, so sometimes you have to rethink your approach. Certain characters have long memories, so one slip up means you’ve made an enemy for life. How will you overcome this bad impression to coax help from a person who finds you detestable?
 

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL Review

You’re going to have to make choices, and those choices will matter.

More than simply negotiating how you interact and deal with other characters, you have other important decisions to make. These aren’t as choreographed as most decision-based narratives. They are more subtle and the results of your choices will not be immediately recognizable. The decisions you make aren’t life and death and nothing is flashy, but that doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t high.

This means your choices have weight. Like in life, you can’t get a do-over, but you also may not know what the outcome of your decisions will be as you make them. It further helps put you in the mindset of the protagonist, who may be more in over his head than you realize.

Oh, and the final choice you have is super important and flashy, but it is earned through the smaller negotiation of choices you make leading up to that point.

Overall

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL does amazing things in terms of story and the quality of writing. It is one of the best written games, telling a mesmerizing and complex story. The biggest achievement it does is marry that magnificent writing with engrossing role play and intriguing philosophically-driven story choices.If you’re looking for a game to get lost in for a few hours, you can’t do better than 2064: Read Only Memories.

The Switch version is the definitive version of the game. It is loaded with extras and a few exclusives, so this is the perfect iteration to try if you have never played the game and one you may want to play even if you have already experienced 2064.

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the developer.

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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2064: READ ONLY MEMORIES INTEGRAL REVIEW: TECHNOBOILED

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall87%

GAMEPLAY8

The gameplay is what you expect from a point-and-click adventure, if you are in for the ride then you know what to expect. What helps elevate the experience is the deep role playing and clever choices you get to make.

GRAPHICS8.5

2064: Read Only Memories has a great pixel look that expertly delivers that classic point-and-click aesthetic that conveys a fun cyberpunk chic.

SOUND9

2064: Read Only Memories soundtrack feels right at home with its hard boiled techno wonderland setting evocative of the influences it draws from. It also has a wonderful voice cast that brings its story to life beautifully.

STORY9.5

What makes 2064 such a compelling experience is the quality of its writing and characters. It is a masterfully told cyberpunk noir that is full of pathos, humor, and intrigue.

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