I know I’d written on my noticeboard that Dishonored would be my next 360 title, but I decided to play Remember Me instead because it’s newer, less well-known & probably shorter.
It’s weird playing sci-fi games in current times. It’s not like back in the 80’s & 90’s, before CDs & cell phones, when the stuff we see in games & movies looked too fantastical to ever be true. But with technology at its current state & showing no signs of slowing, I can’t help but wonder if we’ll be seeing the tech in these games within the next decade. We have tablets & E-readers. And with projects like Google Glass & even a functional holographic keyboard in the works, it’s hard to think our future won’t be like what we see in Remember Me’s world.
Set 70 years in the future in Neo-Paris (which shouldn’t it technically be called Nouveau-Paris since it’s, ya’ know, French?) people now have brain implants that allow them to digitally store their memories. This technology, called Sensen, allows people to experience other people’s memories, sell memories for cash, & even delete unpleasant ones. But as usual, such advances don’t come without a price. People can have their memories tampered with, even completely deleted, leaving them hollow husks. And this seems to be what the company behind Sensen, Memorize, is up to.
The game starts with our heroine, Nilin, having had this done to her. She remembers nothing except her name. But before she can have even that taken from her, a mysterious man called Edge helps her escape from the painfully obvious militant organization. While floating in a coffin, we learn that Nilin was part of a terrorist group called the Errorists who seek to bring Memorize down, & that she was a Memory Hunter, someone who can take people’s memories. From there, the game has proceeded in the standard formula of making me question if one side is really better than the other. Sure, Memorize is obviously the bad guys, but it’s hard to feel good about the side Nilin’s on when Edge floods an entire district just because the people living there were rich, blind sheep. But at least the game is aware of this & shows Nilin questioning these actions while realizing she doesn’t have much choice. I’m fully preparing myself to learn that Edge sold Nilin out in the first place to have her memories removed just to make her compliant to his goals. Or I could just be paranoid.
The gameplay is equal parts free-running/platforming & fighting. You run through the area, finding pipes, ladders & other architecture to climb on to reach your goals. Your progress will frequently be interrupted by combat, usually with a group of baddies. I have to admit, while both aspects work, they feel a bit… unpolished. Clunky. I like that the game shows you where your next ledge is, but it’s very linear. Don’t expect an Assassin’s Creed. You can only climb on what the game says you can, which is disappointing. The combat is responsive, with Nilin easy dodging around enemies & throwing punches. I like that you can unlock new moves & customize your combos to a certain extent. It’s hard to explain in a short summary, but basically you unlock X & Y moves that you use to fill in predetermined combo sequences to different effects. For example, your starting combo is always X-X-X so you can only use X-linked attacks, but you can decide which attacks. Some attacks are good for breaking guards, some heal Nilin, some are chain-attacks & other speed up the recharge for her special moves. Speaking of special moves, I’ve unlocked two so far; one is Fury, which increases Nilin’s speed & power, while the other overloads enemy Sensens, stunning them. But these have recharge times & I can’t find a lot of the collectibles needed to increase the focus bar. But enemies tend to get so clustered together that it’s hard to finish a combo without having to dodge out of the way of an attack.
The memory aspect is the most intriguing part. Nilin can take certain characters’ memories which can unlock new abilities or give her access to Remembrances. Remembrances let memories overlap the real world to show you how to get past obstacles. It’s pretty cool. Nilin can also remix memories, which means she can change how someone’s memories play out. These sequences play out like a puzzle, where you rewind through an important memory looking for the key parts to change. Not everything you can change will give you the desired outcome. It’s only been used once so far to change a bounty hunter into an ally by changing her memory into Memorize killing her husband during a medical treatment for some memory-related illness. And I have to admit, while I enjoyed it, I felt kind of bad afterwards. I mean, I made her go through her husband’s death when he’s still alive. I just wish there were more of these sequences.
So far, I’m enjoying the world of Remember Me, even if the mechanics leave something to be desired.