Although we’ve seen our fair share of ports for consoles over the years, we weren’t expecting to see two classic Daedalic adventure games to arrive on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Both The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav and its follow-up The Dark Eye: Memoria have just been released, so we decided to give them a go on a PlayStation 5 (which works thanks to backwards compatibility).
The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav
Originally released back in 2012, Chains of Satinav is an adventure game adaptation of the popular pen and paper RPG franchise The Dark Eye. It’s a fantasy franchise rich in lore, and it translates well to the adventure game genre. I remember enjoying the game on PC back in the day, and was pleasantly surprised to see it again.
Content-wise, it’s the same game – you’re a bird catcher called Geron who starts out trying to rid the royal castle of a plague of crows, only to stumble upon a much larger tale before too long. There are some puzzles along the way, but all in all it’s a very streamlined adventure that almost plays like interactive fiction that can be enjoyed even if you’re not familiar with The Dark Eye yourself.
It is, in its console incarnation, still very much a PC game though – for better and for worse. On the downside, you can tell the game’s “point and click” origins from the control scheme, and while I fondly remember the PC adventures of the 80s and 90s it could be hard to get used to for console gamers. On the plus side, however – almost nine years have passed, and Chains of Satinav runs better on the PS5 than it ever did on the PS5. I’m also not playing on a relatively small monitor now, and seeing the game on a big screen television is a great way of appreciating the quality and detail in the artwork.
The Dark Eye: Memoria
The Dark Eye: Memoria followed Chains of Satinav one year later, and reintroduces us to Geron. It also gives us a wider view of the world of Aventuria by switching between two narrative perspectives – in addition to controlling Geron, you also follow Sadja, a princess who lived hundreds of years before Geron at the time of the Great War. Their stories ultimately intertwine, and the notion of magic is what binds much of the narrative (and gameplay) together.
It’s easy to draw comparisons between Chains of Satinav and Memoria and even though Memoria feels more ambitious thanks to its dual narrative structure, they’re clearly games from the same time period with a similar visual style, a shared game world and even some familiar characters. I certainly wouldn’t recommend playing Memoria before/without playing Chains of Satinav, as that game lays the groundwork for the events in Memoria.
Which brings me to my biggest issue with this console release. Although both games run great (on a PS5) and are a joy to play if you enjoy adventure games, they don’t come as a bundled package and are individually priced at the $20/€20 mark. When you see the PC originals go on sale regularly for about 10% of that amount, that price stings a little. These are must-play games for adventure game fans and they deserve the praise that the PC versions got, but the current individual price is for each game is what should have been a bundle price for both of them. Once they go on discount, be sure to grab them if you enjoy a good fantasy adventure game.