Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories has been a long time coming to say the least. The game was originally supposed to release all the way back on the PlayStation 3 in 2011 but due to real world events that hit Japan pretty hard at that time the game was pushed. It would’ve been seen as bad taste after all to release this game that has Japan being hit by disasters. Fast forward almost a decade and now developer Granzella and publisher NIS America have finally released the game although it has now been moved over to the PlayStation 4 (or PC and Nintendo Switch if you’d like to play it there.) Has this game been worth the wait or was it too a disaster?
Disaster Report 4 is a third-person, survival adventure game where you venture through Japan while it is being hit by disasters like earthquakes. The game starts off with your character headed into the city on a bus for a job interview. From the moment the game starts pretty much you are hit with different choices that help shape what kind of character you are. You can choose to play as a male or female and you’ll be asked how you would react if a disaster hit. It doesn’t take long for your answer to come into play as moments later a huge earthquake hits the city and your bus crashes. From here you have to set out across the city while constantly making choices that pop up on screen that define what kind of character you’ll be.
Over the course of the game you’ll run into many NPC characters and have conversations with them. You’ll get to see how they are handling the events going on and you’ll be able to help some of them if you choose to. Doing good acts will reward you with moral points while bad acts will grant immoral points. In regards to talking with NPCs there is a lot of weird dialogue in the game and I kind of felt like the game acts like you are playing as a male character even if you chose to be a female. This is because there were quite a few times where you run into female NPCs and are given the choice to hit on them. It just felt like the game was designed as if everyone would be playing as a guy. Some of the other parts I found weird were times where certain questionable acts were going on and you were offered the chance to hit on a girl during them. While some of this was disappointing to see I did enjoy a lot of the other characters and situations you find yourself in. The game’s story, characters, and writing aren’t without redeeming qualities.
In regards to those moral points I didn’t feel like anything really came from earning them one way or another and that kind of goes for some of the other systems at play here. The game has survival elements in it as you are told to find things to eat and drink as well as go to the bathroom but you aren’t punished for not doing these things. I would be running around and end up notified by an on-screen indicator that I needed to eat or go to the bathroom only to find out that when I didn’t eat or use a bathroom nothing happened. It just kind of felt like why are these things even in the game if you can just basically ignore them?
Exploring the world can also be kind of frustrating due to unclear objectives at times. You can get around in various ways whether it be using various vehicles or traveling on foot but when it comes time to try to figure out how to get past something, I found myself stuck several times. I would then proceed to waste time trying to figure out what to do in order for something to trigger clearing my path. Sometimes I would have to talk to anyone around just to try to get some kind of hint on what to do.
The presentation is another area I was letdown in Disaster Report 4. While this is a PlayStation 4 game now a lot of it still looks like it was running on a PlayStation 3 back in 2011 when it was supposed to come out. The game also suffers from framerate issues at times and load times are a bit too long. The game also includes a PlayStation VR mode but outside of getting to experience a few parts of the game in virtual reality it doesn’t amount to much and certainly isn’t worth buying this game alone for.
Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories isn’t quite a disaster but it does have quite a few things wrong with it you need to keep in mind before jumping in. Getting to visit a Japan hit by disaster and have the opportunity to interact and choose whether to help people can be fun. It’s just a shame that the game looks and performs poorly and has some questionable design choices and writing in it.
*Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories$59.99
- Feels like you are really in a destruction riddled Japan
- Helping the various NPCs in the world with their troubles can be fun
- Visuals and performance leave a lot to be desired
- Easy to get stuck and waste time trying to figure out what to do
- Some of the writing and events are a bit questionable
- Morality points and survival elements seem pointless