Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories was originally supposed to be released for Playstation 3 in 2011, but the Fukushima disaster on the east coast of Japan caused the development to cease temporarily. The earthquake apocalypse setting suddenly felt too real. It was not until 2018 that the game was released in Japan for the PS4. Two more years later it is now also available in Germany. And the story repeats itself again: Because the melancholy apocalypse story about a Japanese city after an earthquake draws parallels to the current Corona pandemic in an oppressive way.
As the name suggests, the disaster report games are all about natural disasters. In the fourth part, it is a severe earthquake in a Japanese metropolis. Your task is to escape from the disaster area and help as many people as possible.
At the beginning of the game your (male or female) character is traveling in a bus when suddenly the smartphones of all occupants ring at the same time. You look at your device and see an earthquake warning message of the highest level. Before you can do anything, the earth begins to shake and the bus overturns.
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The next moment you find yourself at a large intersection, surrounded by injured passers-by and collapsed buildings. This is where your real escape from the city begins. But that is easier said than done. It is not only constant aftershocks that pose a great danger, most of the roads are blocked and all local public transport has also failed. So you have no choice but to struggle through on foot.
How would you choose
On your way out of the city you will meet numerous people in need. You can interact with some of them if you like. You have to help others to progress in the story. For example, you meet Kanae Tomita in a subway station that was buried by debris. After saving her, she suggests going to the port and escaping with a ship. From now on, you will be traveling in pairs. Elsewhere you come across an elderly lady who has injured her leg. Because she can't walk, you carry her on your back to the nearest hospital. There are many such encounters in the game.
In the end, it's always up to you how you deal with the situation. You can help everyone without considering your own good. In the same way, you can capitalize coldly on every predicament by asking for a reward for your support. Whoever thinks of themselves first, makes quick money and no longer has to worry about whether they can afford the overpriced water bottle in the store.
As usual in a survival game, you alw ays have to drink and eat enough. The easiest way to get food is through supermarkets, but prices fluctuate very much. Some unscrupulous shopkeepers want to capitalize on the emergency. But you can do it the same way: Pretend to be a seller and correctly collect desperate customers with self-determined prices. If, on the other hand, you want to earn money honestly, you sell the goods or clothing you have collected to other people at fair prices. Otherwise, you will get more food as a reward for your efforts.
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Your behavior, including the answers in the many text dialogues, is reflected in a moral system. If you help your fellow human beings, there are positive moral points. On the other hand, if you are only looking for self-preservation and profit, negative moral points are hailed. This system has a direct impact on whether people in the city see you as a savior or a criminal. Your behavior also affects the outcome of the game.
Headless through the city
However, you don't just walk around and help people. In between, you can sneak in or clear up an arson attack by looking for clues to the perpetrator. In addition, you even have to go to the toilet regularly to relieve yourself. You can also collect a lot on the way. These are primarily skins for your compass and numerous items of clothing.
These range from t-shirts and jeans to baseball jerseys and elegant evening wear. And there are also some very extravagant costumes, including a cowboy outfit or the work clothes of a sushi supplier. The backpacks also have a playful use because they offer more storage space and allow you to carry more items.
These small side activities are very good for the game, because the majority of them are simply spent finding the way to the next area. You often walk haphazardly through an area until you have found the right item or addressed the right person. This can be very annoying in places. This is made more difficult by a bulky camera that is regularly overwhelmed, especially in closed rooms.