Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Granzella
Publisher: Granzella, NIS America
Platform: PC, PS4, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories – Review

Site Score
5.5
Good: Concept, A few interesting choices
Bad: Frame rate, Camera controls, Actual controls
User Score
3.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 3.8/10 (4 votes cast)

For those who are oblivious to the Disaster Report franchise, it is actually a fairly old one. The first game in the series was released in 2002 and it eventually spawned three sequels, bringing us to the recent release, Summer Memories. The game revolves around an unimportant protagonist who has to survive during a massive earthquake. You can opt to do many good things, such as helping your fellow man, or just fend for yourself and only think about yourself. The consequences of your actions are not clear, at any point in the game, but the overall offset had us intrigued.

Story

You arrive at a major city, in Japan, for a reason you decide yourself. It could be that you’re just visiting the city, that you’re there for a job interview, or to do some shopping. The game allows you to choose, but it is of no consequence. The story of the game is simply that a severe earthquake hits the city, and that you’ll have to make sure you survive. The game throws different situations at you, such as helping a teacher find her students, help someone get out of the rubble, find medicine and so on. You can choose to help people, or not, and this alters certain conversations and interactions within the game. Are they important? Nobody knows and a lot wasn’t really that clear when we finished the game.

Graphics

Summer Memories looked quite spiffy when we saw early PS4 footage. The game had a fair amount of different character designs and also decent textures for the surroundings. Sadly, the Switch version can’t keep up with its bigger brother and many textures look awful and the characters are like a candle in the wind compared to the footage we’ve seen. While many things look cheaply done, and feel like a PlayStation 2-3 title, the game shows that it can shine from time to time. At certain locations or points in the game, we were surprised by the graphical prowess of the title, and we wondered why the rest didn’t look so good. We remember certain alleys that look neatly detailed, probably because of the static objects. We were also impressed at the ferry station when the rain started pouring and how well this was done.

Other than the inconsistencies in the graphical quality, the game suffers from awkward camera angles, and we reckon this is also why there is a first-person view available, to make sure you can see what you’re supposed to see in a tiny room. The game also suffers from frame rate issues, which aren’t clearly noticeable, but the splitting headache you get when turning your camera around will confirm that the game stutters or has a low frame rate. Also, some details have been missed, for example when the highway in the game collapses, when you look behind the rubble, all the ‘corpses’ are lined up neatly as if someone organized the bodies.

Sound

The sound design is quite nice in this 4th Disaster Report. There is only a small backdrop in the main menu and during certain key events. Other than that, you’ll have to make do with the noises of the city around you, and a fair amount of voiced dialogues. The game does not strain itself in terms of giving too much audio feedback, there is just enough, to make the situation a tad more serious, even with the sometimes silly conversational options you have.

Gameplay

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is classified as an action-adventure game, but in reality, there’s not that much actual action going around. You’ll constantly find yourself in small enclosed areas, in which you have to find a way out to progress. You’ll have to solve simple puzzles to do so, as you’ll often have to interact with someone, or find a certain item and so on. You can also make several different choices to earn moral points, but the game never truly explains if you can only progress by helping people, or just fending for yourself. Nonetheless, you come into contact with many different people who also don’t know what to do now that disaster has struck.

As mentioned above, you’ll always be in small enclosed areas, which all have a save point. The latter makes it so that this is an ideal title to pick up and play for short bursts or when you’re on the go. This means that this version is ideal for the Nintendo Switch, but even so, you can get annoyed by not having a proper goal in the game. Yes, after a while someone asks you to fetch something, or you have to find people to reunite them with others, or you even see a murder. The latter is played out in a horrible fashion, as the murderer just ignores you after a short dialogue. It gets even worse when you have to fetch water for someone, and you find yourself in an abandoned store, with ample bottles of water, only to have to wait until the owner eventually shows up, being able to buy something.

The dialogues in the game range from serious, to awkward and silly. You’ll have to comfort people, or you can aid those in need, but things get silly if you’re talking to someone that’s standing in front of a large building, exclaiming they just heard a loud bang, but being oblivious to the fact a building just collapsed. If you add in the hilarious side-quest of having to deliver a roll of toilet paper to someone, then you have yourself an ideal representation of what the world is currently looking like. That being said, the game does change things up by letting you experience different situations in which you have to run away from collapsing structures, or where you have to row your way to safety on a lifeboat.

When looking at the controls, the game isn’t always ideal. The fact you get a splitting headache with the low frame rate doesn’t help if the controls aren’t overly impressive either. In some sections the camera is fixed, forcing you to play the game like you would play original PlayStation 1 titles. At other times rooms are too small for the third-person perspective and so on.

Conclusion

While we aren’t overly positive of our experience of Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories, it’s one of those games that could be described as a guilty pleasure, and something you get more into as you progress. The game does motivate you to press on, thanks to the ample save points in the game. While the controls and graphics aren’t overly impressive on the Switch, the game does have a certain charm as it’s something completely different than other titles that flood the market. Even though we can’t fully recommend the title at its current price tag, it could be your next guilty pleasure when you find it discounted in the stores.

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Rating: 3.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories - Review, 3.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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