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... all at once. 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 - containing 14 days in addition to a few "extra scenes", and has me excited for Episode 2, despite several flaws, which I'll detail below. (Actually, now that I think about it this list is strikingly similar to my criticisms of ABND.)
I'm going to pretty much copy-paste one of my objections to ABND here: The portrayal of Sayori was inaccurate and insulting. In the base game her depression stems from feeling that she is a burden on MC and her other friends, but in the mod she doesn't seem to have any problem with making herself more of a burden, such as when she...
- Lets MC pay for her meal when they go to the restaurant
- Guilts him into making her choice of food instead of his when she was at his house
- Still trying to trick MC into buying her a snack after he already bought her lunch the same day (separately from the restaurant scene!)
- (This isn't really related to her being a burden, but it's still inaccurate and insulting) Almost kills herself (a second time, after MC already helped her through her depression) simply because MC fed a starving Natsuki and she insisted on interpreting it as him choosing Natsuki as his future romantic partner instead of her. Come on, Sayori isn't pathetic.
Still, it wasn't as bad as it was in ABND, since at least here she gets the chance to comfort MC for a change after his parents die.
Another copy-pasted point, this one from Doki Doki Salvation: It's mentioned that Sayori ends up taking medication for her depression, and that it's been helping. This is unfortunate because, when you know what I do, you know that medication can never directly affect a person's emotions. The mod is therefore contributing to a false and potentially harmful idea that people have. But if you've read my arguments in the linked article, you're already either convinced of the same thing I am and the mod won't shake your faith, or you're too irrational to be convinced by reason alone, in which case there's not much I can do to help you.
The final criticism is the message that lying to your friends is okay if you think the truth would hurt them or that they "don't need to know". I'm not going to censor myself this time. Lying to your friends is just fucking bullshit and I'm sick of it. Monika even says verbatim that she's been wiping the others' memories to keep them "safe from the truth". If I thought the story was going to end without the other girls finding the truth in time to help I would have dropped the mod, but Near the end Sayori regains her memories on her own (and goes into a coma). This is enough that I plan on playing Episode 2, but if the writers go too long without waking Sayori up, or if she just loses her memories again, I'll probably drop it. I really hope they use the opportunity to have her tell MC and Monika what a good person thinks of someone keeping them in the dark like that, and portray her as right.
So after reading my criticisms you might have got the impression that I made the mod sound better in the opening paragraph than I actually think it is. How could I be "excited" for a mod that has "fucking bullshit" in it? Well, the big redeeming trait I didn't mention 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 (there are some interesting comments in the scripts for the extra scenes, let's just say).