Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is the fourth entry in the Disaster Report action-adventure series that began on PS2. The second game was also released on PS2 in the West but the name was changed to Raw Danger. The next game was never localised and it was released in Japan on PSP. Disaster Report 4 was supposed to be released on PS3 back in 2011 but it was delayed.
Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories finally released in Japan last year for PS4 after nearly a decade and it was then ported to Nintendo Switch. A year later, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories finally arrived in the West thanks to NIS America on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and even PC. I’ve been playing this over the last few weeks on Nintendo Switch for review and as of this writing, the game is quite a disaster on Nintendo Switch.
This game takes place in a city in Japan where you play as a customisable protagonist who is on the way to a job interview. The character customisation here isn’t great and the low quality visuals on Nintendo Switch definitely don’t help here. While on the bus, the city is hit by a massive earthquake and this is where the story begins. As a concept, I quite like the premise. You need to make decisions to try and survive the calamity and escape.
One of the best aspects of the game is listening to the stories of people around you. Each person seems to have their own problems and troubles they are dealing with. The problem here is that there’s a loading screen that sometimes lasts nearly 10 seconds before you can talk to almost any NPC that is relevant to the story. Some of the dialogue options are pretty hilarious though which
Progression through the story is handled pretty badly though. In some situations, you will not be able to progress the story until you move to a specific part of the small area you have access to, until a building or wall collapses revealing a new path. Everything I don’t like about the game’s design is made worse by the horrid technical performance on Nintendo Switch and was hoping a day one patch would improve things. As of version 1.01, this is still nearly unplayable in some situations.
While the premise of the game is serious, there are some aspects of comedy here through some dialogue options and the multiple costumes available to you. Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories reminds me of how smaller Japanese developers used to try different things back in the PS2 era but not necessarily in a good way.
Visually, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is a simple looking game. It looks like an Earth Defense Force game when it comes to the city but feels like you’re the one trying to survive when buildings collapse around you instead of you doing the destruction like an Earth Defense Force game.
In terms of audio, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories has a pretty good soundtrack with atmospheric music and piano melodies. Voice acting is only available in Japanese and there are instances of spoken lines without subtitles. The soundtrack is one of the only things I actually enjoyed about this game.
Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is a technical mess on Nintendo Switch. The performance is awful almost all the time and the visuals aren’t much better when played both docked and handheld. The frame rate is never consistent and it drops often enough to give me motion sickness with the final visuals feeling like a slideshow at times. The only redeeming factor for the Nintendo Switch version is the HD Rumble which is implemented quite well. Having tried the demo for the game on PS4 Pro and PC, this is definitely a game you want to play on PC if your PC can run it well because it isn’t great even on PS4 Pro.
Overall, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories has some interesting ideas and the open-ended gameplay and hilarious dialogue options make for some memorable situations. The performance, visuals, and constant loading screens on the other hand make this one of the worst ports I’ve played on Nintendo Switch. Even if the technical issues on console eventually get fixed, this will not be worth getting at the asking price. If you enjoy janky games and have been looking for something that is unlike anything else on the market, you might find something of value in Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories. Just avoid the disaster port it is on Nintendo Switch.