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Doki Doki Literature Club

Review: Shattered Worlds Episode 1

Puzzled Memories (or Shattered Worlds, as it's now called), Episode 1: The Voices of Different Realities is a Doki Doki Literature Club mod with... way too long of a subtitle. The premise is that in addition to the original game, several other mods are canon. They take place in separate worlds. Throughout the first couple days of Puzzled Memories, MC begins to hear the voices of his alternate selves from the other realities. As with A Brand New Day, he's tasked with saving everyone. The mod is extremely long - even longer than ABND - with 14 days plus a few "extra scenes", and managed to get me onboard to continue the series, despite several flaws, which I'll detail below.

A Brand New Day review

I'm going to pretty much copy-paste one of my objections to ABND here: The portrayal of Sayori is inaccurate and insulting. In the base game her depression stems from a lack of self-worth and feeling that she's a burden on MC and her other friends. She didn't see any value in herself outside of making others happy. But in the mod she doesn't seem to have any problem with making herself more of a burden, such as when she...

But unlike ABND, at least here she gets the chance to comfort MC for a change after [1] (spoiler).

The more serious problem is the message that lying to your friends is okay if you think the truth would upset them or that they "don't need to". A lot of DDLC mods do this but this one was particularly egregious so I'm not going to censor myself this time. Lying to your friends is evil. Monika outright says that she's been wiping the others' memories to keep them "safe from the truth", but that isn't even factually true because this mod doesn't deal with the meta-canon of DDLC! There *is* no "horrific epiphany"! If I thought the story was going to end without the other girls finding out the truth in time to help I would have dropped the mod, but [2].

Bad excuses for lying

The same thing also happens with MC's alternate selves (IIRC there are a lot of scenes where one of them was like "Oh no this is bad we need to stop this from happening" and didn't explain). I consider this more of a storytelling flaw than a moral flaw though, since it wasn't that they thought they needed to "protect" MC, it was more that the writer was using lack of communication between heroes as a cheap trick to increase tension.

So after reading my criticisms you might be wondering why I didn't give this a flat negative review. The big redeeming trait is how cool the expanded world they're making is starting to look. You'll see what I mean when you play it... and go digging in the game files a bit (let's just say there are some interesting comments in the scripts for the extra scenes).

There's also some good original music.

Spoilers

[1]: his parents die

[2]: near the end Sayori regains her memories on her own (and goes into a coma) and in later installments they do finally start working together. Thank god. I'm still mad that none of the other girls are offended to find out how hard MC and Monika lied to them to keep them useless.

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