Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories Game Poster Image
Dated disaster game has a strong focus on moral choice.

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The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

One of the standout features in Disaster Report 4 is the range of actions and behaviors. Players can choose to help those in need in a moment of crisis or to selfishly look after their own interests. Survival is the main focus, but how the player chooses to live is up to their whims.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player choices run spectrum from being a heroic and selfless character assisting those in need to being a slimy and selfish character looking out for their own self-interests. Non-player characters also run the gamut from caring and compassionate to lewd and cruel.

Ease of Play

Game isn't particularly difficult, but controls feel clunky and sluggish. Constant interruptions in gameplay with cutscenes, dialogue menus, etc.

Violence

Due to natural disasters hitting a major metropolitan area, there's a lot of injury and death shown. Buildings even collapse on groups of people, including the player. Some injuries are shown more graphically than others.

Sex
Language

Some phrases, such as characters referencing being "pissed off," and mild profanity occasionally pop up in dialogue, as well as some less than subtle lewdness.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown drinking alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is a survival action/adventure game available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. Players take on the role of a person during a massive earthquake that has hit Japan. They must make their way through the city and survive, dealing with things like aftershocks, floods, and other survivors. Players are also given a wide range of moral choices, which often affect the events of the game. The dialogue features some profanity and sexual references, both from non-player characters and, depending on choices, from the players as well. As the game takes place in the wake of a massive natural disaster, there's a lot of injury and death taking place around the player, with some blood shown on-screen.

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What's it about?

DISASTER REPORT 4: SUMMER MEMORIES is an action/adventure game that asks just how far a person might go to survive a catastrophic event. Players take on the role of a commuter going about their day in a Japanese metropolis when a massive earthquake strikes unexpectedly. As roads crack and buildings fall, you're on your own and searching for a safe haven. Meanwhile, aftershocks, floods, and other issues make every step a deadly proposition. And then there are your fellow survivors: some are in peril and in dire need of help. Some are more friendly, lending a hand wherever they can. And on the other side of the spectrum, there are those looking out for their own self-interests, even going so far as to take advantage of the situation at the expense of others. As the city collapses around you, will your own humanity and morality follow suit? Given the freedom to choose your own path, what type of person will you be, and how might your actions and behaviors affect your fate?

Is it any good?

If a natural disaster struck unexpectedly, how would you react to it, and more importantly, what type of person would you be? Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories asks players these questions, injecting more of the human element into the standard survival adventure. Players constantly face decisions that risk their lives and test their morality. Do you take a chance to search a nearby building for much needed supplies, even though it could collapse at any moment and bury you in rubble? Do you force another survivor to pay you for your help? The game pushes boundaries here too, including offering more lewd options such as using the tragedy to hit on other characters. It's left to players to decide the type of person they want to be, and choices made in the moment can have consequences later on down the road. It's shocking sometimes to see just how cold and slimy the player can be in a time of crisis. Thankfully, it's just as easy to swing the moral pendulum in the other direction to be a more humane, sympathetic character.

Disaster Report 4 has had a rough road getting to audiences, having originally started development almost a decade ago. Unfortunately, this shows in the gameplay. The presentation lacks a lot of detail in the environments and animations. The controls are clunky, with players moving around awkwardly from place to place. This gets even more frustrating when pieces of wrecked buildings fall and there's no way to escape the debris, causing instant death for the player. Finally, while the game does a solid job of incorporating all types of personalities into the stories, the plot is paper thin and disconnected from the harsh reality of the situation. Some characters even stand around acting like it's just another normal day as the city falls apart around them. Despite this, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories still works as a great springboard for audiences to start real discussions about how they would react in a real-world disaster situation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about disaster preparedness. What are some ways families can be ready in an emergency? Does your family have a plan in place? What would be important to include in an emergency preparedness kit?

  • When given the option to make choices across the moral spectrum in games, what sort of character are you most likely to play and why? Do your in-game choices reflect how you would behave in the real world?

Game details

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