The Black Eye: Satinav’s Chains & Memoria Test

It’s unfortunate, especially since the first chapter of the story, Satinav’s Chains, is hesitant and begins as a bland, naive fairy tale. Only close to the conclusion does it shift to the epic drama that runs through its sequel, Memoria, from beginning to finish, making this one of the most acclaimed adventures of the past decade. In a sense, Satinav’s Chains and Memoria relate to each other in the same manner as The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. So let’s take a look at both games separately …

Satinav’s Chains A storybook-based game

The bird catcher’s young Geron draws a tough lot: A naive and luckless bird – hence the name and his fellow citizens of Andergast, the city of Andergast have been suspicious of him ever since the time seers prophesied him at stake some time ago to bring about destruction and hardship to the country.

If a crow-pest strikes Andergast with a ferocious scream of death and destruction for the inhabitants, he realizes the opportunity to prove he’s not the fool everyone believes they are. However, he discovers that the crows are just the harbingers of a bigger disaster that could threaten the entire country. So he sets off on a long and challenging journey towards distant cities and lofty mountain peaks deep within hostile orc territory, and beyond the boundaries of reality, into the realm of fairytales, and even to the realm of fantasies…

The game’s intricately hand-drawn graphics were already its star-making flagship on the PC. The backgrounds are created with rough brush strokes, resembling the look and feel of the cover art and artwork of “The Black Eye” games with pen and paper – by doing so, separating the world of fantasy from reality manner where they appear to be saturated with the magic.

A glance at any of the screenshots on this page will be enough to convince you: the breathtaking panoramic view over the sharp snow-capped peaks of the Thasch Mountains, the majestic orc statue in front of the Blood Women, or the nearly surreal design that is the Magic Harp – looking at the illustrations in Satinav’s Chains is similar to flipping through a gorgeously created picture book, and will leave you amazed repeatedly.

Amazingly, it is doing it even more effectively and efficiently now than when it first came out on the PC about ten years ago. The game that was once enchanting on the thin screens on which the game was played in the past is now in totally new and superior design on today’s large-screen televisions, highlighting the incredible depth of the pictures and the impressive landscapes. I usually set the controller down while playing just to look at the landscape for a while and look it over with my eyes, like an artist in a museum.

Up until the midpoint of the game, it appears that this DSA adventure, with its design, structure, and narrative, creates the impression of a game where this Black Eye license puts the title chains on the developers: Stunningly enjoyable and innocent, this naive story of the naive bird catcher and his naive charming fairy friend appears to be on a thrilling adventure, but in contrast to other Daedalic experiences such as Deponia or Edna it doesn’t take you through a massive game world that is non-linear, however, it follows the standard fantasy storyline of a character’s story in a series of episodes. This storytelling technique is designed to achieve the condensing of plot and mood, however, fails for long. Instead of descending into an exciting tangle and tangled segments that are in their own insignificant, the events appear dull and unsure of the search for their audience.

In other words, instead of executing the escape behind enemy lines into the territory of frightening orcs as a threatening examination of the young hero, all that is waiting for the player is a relatively little puzzle sandbox that is used to tell the narrative, which is the case in the initial part in the gameplay. The chapters typically comprise two or three screens, each with the smallest number of action options. With this compact design, puzzle pieces from the puzzles are almost assembled as you shake them. As a result, they appear more like lessons in a hobby shop rather than a thrilling adventure. The similarly amazing Whispered World of the same publisher allowed players to discover its beautiful fantasies and interact with its captivating characters Satinav’s Chains takes its players on an uninspiring road that leaves no space to think or even think about puzzles, very little room for the narrative to develop and little space for characters to grow into a distinct personality.

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It’s not until the second part that the adventure game finally releases itself from its binds as the developers let their imaginations the freedom to run wild, and the innocent fairy tale suddenly transforms into a dark, grim, and at times brutal fantasy epic and sets the course that the acclaimed sequel will follow right from the start.

One of the highlights to mention is the trip to the magical fairy world, which is akin to the dimension in the case of an Escher painting, in which the peacock’s plumage is the one that determines the time, and the image determines the season. The puzzle that features the perspective waterfall could be the most clever and cruelest in the game. The puzzles are always on top of their game when they break free from the grim look-at-use tradition of traditional inventory manipulation, as in the scenario in which Geron, who is tied to the ground, can act only through the two magic spells he has: repair and break. Even though this adds to the game a bit of a role-playing feel, the fun possibilities are only an excellent enhancement to the classic collection of adventure parsers. This can only be achieved with the sequel, which is superior in every way and is now getting into the discussion.

Memoria Fantasy Epic as Adventure Masterpiece

Memoria seamlessly follows the dramatic conclusion of its predecessor. Geron was forced to make a terrible choice that forever altered his life and the life of his fairy-girlfriend Nuri. He seeks the solution to his dilemma by contacting a traveling merchant who lures him into a series of fateful encounters that stretch back more than 450 years to the darkest period of Aventuria and then extend their dark arms to the future.

On the eve of one of the most epic fights ever fought between humans and demons, we follow the tale of Princess Sadja, a part of an adventurers’ swashbuckling group looking for a magical mask that will take an abrupt twist to the war that is about to begin. However, Sadja is enticed by the power of a demonic wand that talks and is swept into the midst of events commonly called “epic.”

As Geron is trying to piece together the mystery of Sadja as well as her fateful encounter with the mysterious creature in flashbacks, his hometown of Andergast is beset by a demon who transforms the residents into stone and appears to be seeking a dark plan that is mysteriously linked to the past events Geron’s visions of.

Memoria unfolds its story with remarkable skill. It tells its story in two storylines in continuous change, seemingly distinct from one another yet enigmatically interwoven and appearing as shadows of each other. Contrary to most video game stories that simply put obstacles in the player’s path, it does not lock doors and make the player look for the keys. It instead scatters its secrets like breadcrumbs, which serve as a lure to guide them to the right path, luring the player into a state of hypnosis and placing him in a perpetual state of intense interest in who might have left them and where they could be taking him.
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What is the mysterious monster up to? What dark mystery surrounds Sadja and her mysterious weapon? What are the plot threads, which span decades, linked? Will the writers succeed in unraveling them in the final chapter? Like the Lost or Dark series, the writers of Memoria get their suspense less from incidents, but through the issues they ask about through the interplay of multiple different periods. Like the previous roles models, they offer answers only in the sense that, just as the heads of the Hydra can generate two new questions, each being addressed. While doing this, they spin their fateful threads in such an artistic pattern that, as opposed to the other role models, they have not been caught up in it for a single time.

Through its clever storytelling, Memoria manages to shake off any of the game’s weaknesses that its predecessor had, occasionally even making them stronger and its strengths. For example, whereas the previous game simply moved the player from one point to the next one, as if it didn’t intend to take the player on an epic adventure journey, it was only there to earn bonuses, its sequel also comes with seven miles of boots, but it also creates a sensation of tingling from it as if it was a rollercoaster. In addition, rather than heroic acts, the protagonist mostly tinkers with small amounts and tinkering, which critics have criticized the games in The Secret Files series in particular. But, because of the tight interlocking between the narrative and puzzles, it is never apparent that they are undesirable tasks that only provide a backdrop for the story and serve as an essential breeding ground for the plot to develop fully.

Suppose Sadja is trapped in the mountains and is forced to construct a trap to catch rabbits for lunch to illustrate the struggles and tribulations of her long journey as well as provide an excellent opportunity to strengthen the bond with her unscrupulous friend. In the event that she is still in the tomb, each and every action forged an unholy bond that she has with her demon wand. There are no candy bars melting here, but steps are taken into the deep, soulless abyss that may offer no escape.

Additionally, the spells, which were nice icing for the cakes in the initial section but didn’t make an impact, are integrated into the puzzle designs in the sequel more creatively and imaginatively, just because there are more in terms of number. Sadja is a good example. It is able to petrify creatures or alter the minds of individuals in a “these aren’t droids” Jedi way.

All in all: the puzzle’s design! While Memoria – as with every Daedalic adventure really sometimes goes too far in its attempt to be innovative, it never fails to be awe-inspiring with its unique ideas by putting imagination and logic over the rules of inventory contents. For example, we need to reveal the lying liar among a crowd of drunken people based on his claims or trick an entire search party by using fake orders, or weave our way through the maze using her thread, just as Ariadne previously did. The game is also able to exploit its fantastical situation in a variety of imaginative ways, such as a lamp emitting darkness instead of illumination, a drop of red wine transforming into ruby, and the initial chapter makes fun of the usual squabbles at parties of role-playing games with pen and paper.

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