Reboot, not retread: a hectic hunt in a wintry wasteland
As always, the visuals, sound effects, and musical cues are second-to-none. SH, even with its lesser releases (Origins comes to mind) never fails to get this part right. It's disturbing yet beautiful on the screen and is outstanding when it comes to the soundtrack and the sounds of the game.
Combat has changed significantly, and that is a good thing. In SH 2, it was fun for a while to bash the brains out of some horrible creature shambling toward you, but by the time you'd obliterated a hundred or so of the things, it got a little old. It also, at harder levels, got a lot hard! The advice in the manuals always encouraged the player to avoid fighting as much as possible, to run. But this never seemed to work. Before you knew it, the thing was behind you, inflicting huge amounts of damage, and you realized you should have just faced it head on and killed it before trying to search for the next item, doorway, or signpost. In Shattered Memories, you don't fight at all. The creatures hop on you from all sides, and your only way to stop the pain is to throw them off, stunning the ugly things for a moment or two. However, in this version of SH, running is a much better defense. The more the character moves fast, direct and constantly toward the exits of the haunted, frozen world where the monsters reside, the better chance he has of escaping with little or no damage. It helps that the character doesn't really die. If he is "killed," he starts the run again at the last checkpoint he reached (which usually winds up being the beginning of the frozen dream world). No searching for, and hording, of medical supplies and weapons. Just run, search, and escape, with the occasional need to shake off a beast or two who has decided to make you his knew scratching post (these creepy things caress your body when you "die").
You run into lots of NPCs, ride around in cars, make a lot of phone calls (and receive both email and phone messages), take pictures, visit an increasingly weird psychiatrist, and solve several, for the most part, rather simple puzzles along the way.
You'll also begin to feel pretty guilty for whatever actions Harry Mason, your character, has done in his forgotten past. He frequently finds messages or broadcasts on TV reminding him, in the voice of his lost daughter that she loves her daddy. The voice acting for the missing little girl is excellent, haunting, and touching. You believe she really did love her daddy, and your get mad at that daddy, your character, for not protecting his daughter better.