Narrative Review Virtual Reality

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories – Review

What’s this all about then?

Check the weather report for a mild chance of a natural disaster! Prepare your heart for this and grab your best clothes because we might be getting in danger, but we can still look classy while doing it! Welcome to Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC developed by Granzella and localized by NIS America. For this review, a PlayStation 4 copy was used.

From the start, if you guessed what the game is about simply from the title, you would probably be right. I had never heard of the series before this entry, but it has quite a long history. We’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, so this seems like a good time for a history lesson – Distance Education style! 

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories was originally planned to be released for the PlayStation 3 in March 2011. Sadly development wasn’t complete by then, so it was delayed, and then a week later it was canceled. It would be one of those games lost in development hell. The most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan where many lives were lost happening within days of the game’s planned release date didn’t help either. 

When all hope seemed lost, a light came forth. Granzella acquired the intellectual property for it and the dream was back in business! And so, nine years down the line, this game and came back from the dead on a new platform! The bell has rung and the history class is over. It is time for the review and to see if the game lives up to the hype cultivated over the years!

Disaster Report 4 - Tilt

A shaky start

The game itself has a simple plot. You are on a bus visiting the city for a job interview during the summer when suddenly the game shows one of the main features: an elderly lady wants to have a seat, which you can accept or refuse. Not what you might expect, but it’s an important aspect of the game. You get to make a lot of choices with quite a few options on how to act.

The game suddenly displays its title by having an incredibly powerful earthquake occur out of nowhere and after leaving the toppled-over-bus, our protagonist is up for action and the game truly opens! Fans of the older titles may be a bit surprised. A natural disaster as simple as an earthquake is quite tame compared to themes brought up by older games of the series – the last spin-off game even had an appearance by our gigantic lizard boy Godzilla and his crew pop up like we were suddenly on Power Rangers.

What do we do in a disaster zone?

The game itself has…shaky ups and downs. Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories certainly has charm with the way it implements humor, stupidity, and the cruel reality of a natural disaster. These are all thrown into this blender of game which will run with the smoothness of a rhino doing ballet and the progression of a turtle counting the alphabet. Still, the issues with how smoothly it runs don’t demerit what it does right. 

You spend your time running around taking care of people who have basically lost all notions of common sense, even if they are in immediate danger. Finding lost children, helping panicking people out of dangerous buildings, unblocking escape routes, and more. I found that I did not feel that rewarded with what you do, despite every step being story progression in a way.

All of this running around (or floating around with a boat in a few sections) could feel quite clunky. The movement was not always smooth and there were problems with interacting with objects and people at times. This did not help.

Your character, which has a small degree of customization, may not be shown to feel a lot of surprise from what happens around you aside from your choices. Despite this, you can feel for the people affected by the earthquake as they do have what feel to be genuine worries and thoughts. These people have had their lives thrown upside down along with the car they were on and get into situations that I feel truly happen in real life but thankfully for me, it’s a soda pop ocean, or rather a Fanta-sea. 

Speaking of how your character feels, there are some management functions such as a stress meter. That said, probably to make the game fun to a broader audience, they do not affect the gameplay in a very significant manner. 

Overall, it could be described similar to an old car: You can have some trouble starting it and getting used to how it’s gonna perform, but when it does it’s a fun experience that you don’t experience often.

Disaster Report 4 - VR

Virtual Disaster?

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories has a VR mode for the PlayStation 4 and now PC since a recent update. While I have not played the Virtual Reality portion myself due to a lack of VR equipment, our editor Nook has and was not too impressed with the gameplay – just wandering around finding stickers with some technical issues along the way. He did say it was a rather interesting way to look at some of the environments from another perspective though.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics themselves are quite nice but they are certainly outdated if compared to other games made from the start for the PS4. The city represented could not be called lively due to everything that happens. That said, it works well for the atmosphere the game sets up for you and while walking around it you get to know those who live there. You can go from thinking about how the city looks like now in this disaster to wondering how lovely it was before and how these people lived in it.

Music is something that attracts me a ton as well being an okay pianist myself and the game doesn’t have it as one of its high points as a whole. But I do have to say that the main menu is one I saved onto my personal playlist, mainly due to my view on it changing from a calm piece of music which sets the tone on the bus, that will then be broken to become a sad requiem of the lives affected around you and how you can deal with it on the emotional side.

Disaster Run


Overall, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories brings an interesting premise and a chance to look at humanity’s true nature when affected by something they cannot control. Despite being a slow game to get through and having its share of problems, I can say playing the game was worth it for me not due to the trip but the experience of the series.

I am hoping that the next game in the series happens and is made from scratch with more current technology to bring forth an even more realistic experience. 


If you have played the series before, you will certainly enjoy it and if you haven’t, be aware of what the game brings and don’t expect something fast-paced or you are just gonna disappoint yourself out of a good ride, or rather, an experience that can shake you to the core. Finishing it up with a pun makes this review itself a disastrous report.

The game can be purchased digitally for PC via Humble Bundle or Steam. It can be purchased digitally for the PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch via the console store.

If you would like to see more Japanese games you might be interested in our review of Sakura Wars.

Many thanks go to the publisher NIS America for a review code for this title. 

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