Platforms: PlayStation 3//Xbox 360//PC
Publisher: Capcom Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Genre: Beat ‘em Up//Action Platformer Platform Played: PlayStation 3
Dystopian futures have always found a way to intrigue me, so when I heard Remember Me would be delving into such an interesting subject manner – I took notice. The 2084 world of Neo-Paris has allowed a new major corporation to rise immense popularity, the company in question is Memorize. Dealing in people memories the company is able to upload important, remove tragic and share wonderful memories through their Sensational Engine (Sensen). The ability has allowed Memorize to gain great power over the world, they are able to manipulate the population as they see fit and even completely wipe the memory of an individual.
Our hero Nilin is a Memory Hunter and vigilante, who is opposed to the 1984 world Memorize has created. We join Nilin directly after suffering from one of these memory wipes, she is left with no clue about her past or who she was. Seems like a mechanic that has been used countless times before, right? However in the context of the world, it makes perfect sense and works wonders. We experience the gorgeous world Dontnod Entertainment has created, alongside Nilin.
The attention to detail in this world is astounding, as I constantly found myself distracted by the minor details etched around my surroundings. Pieces of information from our environment appear in the world, for instance if I am near fire the temperate of said fire will be displayed in front of my very eyes. The unique art style is a beauty to behold, seeing the newly developed architecture and great use of a simple colour palette, continuously reminded me of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Players looking for more information on this dystopian future are welcome to search for collectibles, that offer an abundance of information that explain characters, landmarks and major events that have occurred in the universe of Remember Me.
We follow Nilin’s story as she is determined to regain her stolen memories, while taking down the Memorize corporation. Known as an Errorist, Nilin is hunted from the very beginning as she escapes from the high security prison known as La Bastille. It is an intriguing plot, albeit predicable at times and suffering from some cheesy dialog, it doesn’t hurt the enjoyable experience presented. Nilin is a likeable, kind-hearted hero who wants to do what’s right. Yet her situation puts her in positions where we must really question our own moral ambiguity, alongside her. She wants to help people rise up against Memorize, but she doesn’t want to sink lower than the company she despises to do so. This is where some deep underlining thoughts are woven nicely. Are our actions for the greater good? Is it fair to sacrifice the few for the many? And most prominent question, is altering the memory of others justified?
These moments are presented during one of the games most unique mechanics, called Memory Remixes. During these interactive puzzle scenes, Nilin enters the mind of another character, where she is now able to change events to suit her means. These become a process of trial and error as you interact with certain glitches within the memory, to provide the outcome you desire. These provided something I had never seen before, instead of a simple “choose A or B” sequence, these Remixes allowed me to feel like I was truly playing with someone’s mind. The interactive element made these sequences my favourite feature of Remember Me.
Nilin also uses her Memory Hunter abilities to traverse the world, where certain sections will require stealing memory’s that provide information to open doors, traversing dangers and so forth. Remember Me’s traversal elements are very standard, your Sensen will always tell you the next ledge to climb too and this guided tour takes away the freedom of finding your own path. Other games like the Uncharted series have been able to mask the guided tour it presents to players, in the world itself. Yet Remember Me’s traversal ends up feeling completely generic and linear, rather than provide anything unique to the experience. These guided tours are also extremely noticeable due to the worlds claustrophobic feel. Ledges that look climbable will somehow kill you, arrays of shops are all closed and many places are off limits. This linearity hurts the experience. I am the best Memory Hunter in the land, yet I cannot drop down 1 metre because the game dictates that I am not allowed to do so. The lush world of Neo-Paris looks amazing and I wanted to explore what has been expertly crafted, but they never let you the player off the leash.
Remember Me’s main gameplay mechanics revolves around the games combat, which requires you to fight a lot of enemies throughout this experience – I mean a lot. Nilin’s combat style is similar to the Arkham series, with the ability to evade attacks and jump between enemies with ease. Nilin also has special abilities which she can use during combat, such as becoming invisible, becoming super strong, setting off memory bombs and taking over robotic enemies to attack your foes. The problem is, even when Nilin is super powered, she feels super weak. I understand the character is meant to rely on her athleticism, but her weaknesses stands out like a sore thumb. When you are fighting one enemy and constantly laying combos for a good 30 seconds and the enemy is not going down, it becomes a monotonous chore when you just want to proceed to the next room.
On the other hand I really enjoyed combat for the most part, in a weird sense Remember Me‘s battles become very much like a musical rhythm game. This is because of the games Combo Lab, which is where players can use items called Pressen’s to create combos that add extra buffers to your attacks. For example, I can designate a 4 strike combo where 3 of those button presses could regenerate my health, while the other decreases the amount of time I have to wait between using my special abilities. This provides a strong tactical mindset to combat, especially when Remember Me is constantly throwing new enemy verities that require juggling certain Pressen’s to survive.
Many times I found myself trying to his these combo’s with Guitar Hero-esque accuracy. One enemy type will decrease your health with every strike you land, which means you should focus on a health based combo so your health is constantly being replenished while you take the enemy down. It becomes quite satisfying to pull off certain combos, at certain times and see your plan of attack absolutely dominate your enemies. These battles were kept fresh because of these new enemy types, and although Nilin’s combat still felt concerningly weak, the strategic elements of combat made battles more enjoyable.
Combat is made difficult at times due to the poor camera. Since the camera focuses on creating a cinematic, sweeping imagery during fight scenes and traversal, we are given a camera that decides to go in the most awkward positions. Losing track of enemies is a constant battle, being able to barely see Nilin as she traverses the world, even boss fights become more of a challenge due to some poor work on the cameras end. We are given some great cinematic footage during our traversal at times, really setting a great scope of the world Dontnod has created. Yet this emphasis on cinematics seems to have come at the sacrifice of a camera that truly works.
Remember Me offers many boss fights that challenge the most skilled players, forcing them to juggle their combo Pressen’s while using your special abilities against the boss. These fights became an absolute joy, since they truly rely on thinking before you act, instead of running in with fists of fury. There is a real strong system on offer here because of the Combo Lab. This in total leaves quite a mixed bag. In some ways I completely loved the strategic combat, but then there are some aspects where they completely missed the mark. Overall I feel this is an innovative system that kept combat fresh, but definitely has some kinks that could be ironed out in any future titles.
Remember Me‘s world is greatly emphasised due to its incredible cinematic soundtrack, which once again was very reminiscent of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The soundtrack takes orchestral sounds which have become common place in video games, but adds electronic elements to create a futuristic-cinematic blend – and it works. It feels right at home alongside the games art style, which does an impressive job at making the universe feel like one cohesive package.
The main issues in the sound department come from the many times the games audio bugged out. I had multiple sections where the games audio would replay in the background while it was still running, causing this echo effect that was completely incoherent. This wasn’t a onetime thing either, this happened a handful of times and the audio itself would stutter, choke and basically break down during cut scenes and gameplay. I loved the games soundtrack and the voice acting was serviceable, but these constant audio issues took me out of the experience far too many times.
Remember Me has some issues, but even though these are clearly apparent it provided an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. Nilin’s story was able to captivate from the very beginning and you feel a real sense of connection with the character, which is made stronger due to the fact you can relate to what is happening around her. You are finding out about the world alongside her and dealing with the same moral questions.
This is one of those games that won’t resonate with every player, but it has enough enjoyment here to garner a great cult following. Remember Me aimed for some lofty expectations and in many ways did an exceptional job, one that makes me want to experience the world Dontnod has created even further. Remember Me offers a great deal of potential and it would be an absolute shame if we didn’t get to explore more of what this franchise has to offer.
+ Unique soundtrack that provides a cinematic feel
+ Enjoyable strategy elements to combat
+ Memory Remixes
+ Gorgeous art style, in a fleshed out world
– Major audio issues throughout
– Claustrophobic environment
– Poor camera becomes an issue during combat