For a long time, the Japanese had been afraid to build Babylonian skyscrapers, but then they successfully solved this problem with clever technology and retrofitting. Surviving earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis is becoming a part of Japanese life every year. The entire infrastructure of the country is and has been designed for serious natural disasters and to withstand seismic natural disasters.
That’s not just their reality, many of the country’s exports come in the form of fantastical larger-than-life creatures with themes that cause these catastrophes, tidal waves, floods, and destruction. Think Attack on Titan. Think Godzilla walking along with Tokyo. Gamera. Ultraman. Mothra. Daimajin. Gundam. And many others. Not to mention the terrifying Japanese monsters that exist in the culture’s myths and legends.
Today, we’ll be reviewing Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories. The game franchise’s name derives from Zettai Zetsumei Toshi in Japan, which translates approximately to “Desperate City”. As we set it up, the game series is set in Japan and is all about surviving natural disasters.
The series Disaster Report originates from the era of PS2, the first game was released in 2002. As always happens with various Japanese games, localization arrives to the Western market years later, and in a censored way.
The authors encountered difficulties during the development of the fourth game of the series, originally intended for PS3. The developers simply did not have time for the deadlines, the eighth generation of consoles flickered on the threshold, and it was decided to take a break.
Then followed the complete freezing of the project. Ironically, one of the hitches is connected with the 2011 Japanese earthquake (the original plot of the game is the same). Followed by a delay for six months, and then a complete cancellation due to poor technical performance. Granzella later acquired the rights to the brand.
The Beginning of the Disaster
At the very beginning, we are allowed to choose the voice (The initial scenario only affects the voice over and thoughts in the head) and gender of the protagonist, after which we make a trip to work. The cut scene ends with a bus accident caused by a strong earthquake.
Having got out from under the crashed transport, we decide to help others or show egoism (quite robust in the current conditions). In the future, the primary needs are discovered: to eat, drink and poop :D. If we don’t find a toilet nearby, you will have to run into the bushes. This will generate a funny scene and increase the “purity” parameter, which does not affect anything.
The total duration of the story varies from 7 to 10 hours, during which we will be engaged in the delivery of goods (almost like in Death Stranding), replace the seller at the checkout, save the random NPC from persecution by the mafia, participate in the creation of a religious cult and so on.
Almost at the very beginning, we are warned about the need to stay outside if we find ourselves in a real disaster. In this case, there will be no advancement in the plot, so get ready for walks along with banked skyscrapers. Approaching each character, you will see many options for action, but interactivity consists of two or three dialog phrases.
According to the old Telltale Games tradition, in Disaster Report 4, your choice has little effect on anything, they only serve as your moral pendulum. For example, you can help a girl get to the exit of the building, do it affectionately, rudely, with a malicious smile, etc. But the episode will end only in one way, and if the character must die, then a fatal outcome is inevitable.
By viewing the trailers, it might seem that we are waiting for a serious simulator with large-scale destruction, ruins of cities, and situations on the verge of life and death that arise during such disasters. No, everything is so ridiculous that against the background of Disaster Report 4, the first part of the series seems to be a full-fledged survival-adventure. Costumed DLCs look even more ridiculous. It is enough to dress a lady in a maid costume and a guy in a superhero latex to completely stop believing in what is happening.
Don’t Touch This!
The version for Nintendo Switch, which we happened to play, we were surprised with two things: the distance of objects drawing and the effects of flame (visuals of the flame made perfectly here). However, appearing objects in front of a character is a complete disaster. No pun intended.
The frame rate hardly rose above 20–25, although the in-game engine is Unreal Engine, and the overall detail was not far from the PS3. Is it worth mentioning that most NPC “dummies” are molded from two models only. On the PlayStation 4 and PC, the graphics are practically the same, except that the frame rate is more stable than in the Switch version of the game.
The complete lack of interactivity is one of the biggest disappointments in the game: there are control points where you can interact with something by running a scripted scene. The void of the world is depressing, but good decorations are painted around, including the study of interiors in separate rooms. It comes to the point of absurdity: there is a small blockage ahead, through which a person of a thin complexion would crawl without problems. But no, an invisible wall imposes restrictions, turning open terrain into a corridor.
There are also confusing points related to finding a route. If you ventured into the open space, and there are many potential interlocutors around, you will have to talk with everyone until someone hints at our further actions. Sometimes the point for further advancement in the game is not obvious enough and you have to rummage around for 10 minutes in search of a checkpoint.
- Several spectacular scenes with explosions and destruction
- Inappropriate humor
- Characters are dumb
- Lack of motivation to complete the game
- Bad music
- Terrible optimization for Nintendo Switch
Rating: DO NOT BUY AT ALL
If you recall the very first Disaster Report, there the authors managed to invest in the modest technical capabilities of the PlayStation 2, add a lot of mini-games (for example, swimming in a boat over a flooded quarter) and put interesting dialogues into the game. In DR4 it seems that we are facing a techno-demo which is aiming for something more but resembling a primitive simulator of social life rather than a full-fledged survival experience. Rather than playing DR4, you’re better off playing pachinko (some sort of Australian online pokies).
Game Information and system requirements
- Genre: survival, adventure
- Developer: Granzella
- Publisher: NIS America
- Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
- Age rating: 13+
Minimum system requirements: Win 7 64, 3 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 950 or Radeon R9 280, 27 GB of hard drive space.
Recommended: AMD or Intel with 4 cores, 8 GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 1060, or Radeon RX 580.