Tag Archives: action

Game Review: Remember Me

With the game market’s current state, a lot of publishers are too afraid to risk investing in a new IP for fear it won’t do well.  So I have to give Capcom credit for agreeing to publish DontNod’s Remember Me… even if they did try to convince the developer to change the lead character to a male.  Thankfully, DontNod stuck to their guns & were able to bring us the creation they wanted untainted.  But was it worth it?

I've already complained about this box art before

I’ve already complained about this box art before

Remember Me is set in Neo-Paris (fancy name for future Paris) in 2084, where a corporation called Memorize has invented a brain implant that allows people to store, upload, share & even delete their own memories.  You play as Nilin, a young woman who wakes up in a strange facility where they seem intent on erasing what little is left of her memories.  But before they succeed, she’s rescued by a mysterious rebel named Edge, who’s the leader of a group called the Errorists.  He tells Nilin that not only was she an Errorist who was imprisoned, but that she’s a Memory Hunter, able to interface directly with people’s memories to steal or delete them.  But she has a unique talent to remix these memories as well, allowing her to alter someone’s memories, essentially changing who they were, are & could be.  At Edge’s insistence that she’ll regain her memories, Nilin helps the Errorist cause by trying to bring Memorize down.

Nilin is one of the few female leads I can think of that isn't White

Nilin is one of the few female leads I can think of that isn’t White

Remember Me is an action-platformer.  The combat system consists of combos that you can customize by unlocking Pressens, or moves.  There are a variety of Pressens; some restore health, some break guards, some lower the cooldown time on your special moves & other link combos together.  Nilin will also unlock S-Pressens, which are special moves such as Fury, which lets you deal more damage over a short period of time, or Rust, which turns a robot enemy to your side.  The better you do in combat, the more PMP you get & the more moves you unlock.  Platforming is also a big part, as Nilin will often have to find alternate paths to get to her goal.  Ledges that you can jump to are clearly marked by a yellow indicator.  There are also times when you’ll remix someone’s memory.  During this, you have to find the right combinations of things to alter in the memory to get the right outcome.  At other times you’ll be following Remembrances, real-time flashbacks that can tell Nilin how to approach a problem.

Narrative: I think the story, setting & characters are the best part of Remember Me.  First of all, the setting of Neo-Paris is well fleshed out & interesting.  Although clearly sci-fi, it isn’t so far removed from our own world that it’s unrecognizable.  The advancements in the story seem logical.  I found the whole memory & sensen aspect very interesting, & something that I could see becoming a real thing in the future.  I also felt that the game accurately addressed the issues & abuses that such a system would inevitably bring.  Is a life without pain & suffering — or at least the memory of it — really better?  I also found Nilin to be a good lead character.  She’s presented in a very unique & realistic manner.  She expresses the same doubts & frustrations that I think anyone would in this situation.  Although the whole amnesia aspect is pretty cliché, it’s handled in a thoughtful manner.  Nilin comes across as kind & likeable, wanting to do with right thing, but often confused & misguided.  The overall story in Remember Me, while starting a bit slow, really picks up in the last few levels & was fairly enjoyable.  I do wish more of the boss characters were fleshed out, though.  I also thought the game did a fantastic job presenting the moral ambiguity of the whole remixing memory thing.  While the results may ultimately be for the greater good, is it really justifiable to make someone think their husband died when he didn’t?  What really sells it is how Nilin herself expresses doubts about her ability.  So overall, fantastic world & characters that tackle tough issues in a smart manner.  Score: 5

The Combo Lab where you unlock & build your move sets

The Combo Lab where you unlock & build your move sets

Mechanics: To me, the controls felt really clunky & stiff.  In combat, the timing for the combos always felt a bit off, & it’s hard to pick out a single target when they all come in groups.  The cooldown times on some of the special moves are ridiculous, especially when considering that for some of the bosses & mini-bosses you have to use a specific special move to defeat them.  This means you have to waste time fiddling around with the smaller enemies until you can use it again, which just draws the combat out needlessly.  And although it’s nice that Nilin has a dodge move that prevents her from taking damage, she gets stunned when she does get hit, leaving her open for more damage.  For the platforming sections, the controls are just as stiff.  Nilin turns very stiffly.  It feels like the thumbstick is too sensitive, which is annoying when you’re running around about the make a precision jump.  And the platforming is very linear.  You have no freedom.  You can only climb on what the game tells you to.  And I don’t usually mind linearity, but it’s a bit ridiculous when Nilin can’t jump on a box.  I would’ve liked to see a bit more freedom in choosing my path.  But the ability to customize your combos is a nice addition, & the S-Pressens are varied & a lot of fun to use.  The game tries to be helpful in marking the next ledge you can jump to from your current position.  The game also tries to encourage exploration by leaving packs off the beaten path that increase your health & focus meters.  The Remembrance & Remix sequences were all interesting & well done, but I would’ve liked to see more puzzle sequences.  So overall, while all of the mechanics work, the stiff controls bring the experience down a bit.  It’s by no means broken, but it can be frustrating at times.  Score: 3

Some memory remixes are quite funny

Some memory remixes are quite funny

Aesthetics: Although not the most graphically stunning game, the environments are interesting & well designed.  You can tell a lot of time went into crafting the world around the gamer, from the buildings to the fashion.  Unfortunately, you might not notice this as you spend a lot of your time running down narrow halls.  I liked a lot of the character designs.  Nilin looks pretty cool, even if I don’t understand why she has gray streaks in her hair.  The enemies, for the most part, & unique as well.  For example, the giant robots you fight a couple of times, when they roar they project an image of a screaming mouth.  It’s both unsettling & interesting at the same time.  Oh, & there’s a robot toy panda.  The voiceacting is pretty good in the game.  But why does Nilin have a British accent if she’s from Paris?  The music that plays when you’re exploring the level is pretty fitting, especially in the last level.  But there’s not a lot of combat music.  In fact, it’s pretty quiet unless you complete a combo.  So overall, not bad but not spectacular either.  Score: 3

Replay Value: Average.  Some people will like it enough to play more than once but there’s no real reason to unless you enjoyed the game.  Personally, I plan to play it again, but I predict most people will be fine with one time.  Score: 3

Breakdown

Untitled

Overall Score: 3

Final Word: Remember Me proves that an engaging story can make to press through lackluster controls.  If you like sci-fi or are looking to try a new & unique IP, I recommend checking this one out.

– GamerDame

Title: Remember Me
Console: 360, PS3 & PC
Rating: M
Developer: DontNod Entertainment
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: June 3, 2013
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Action, PC, Platformer, PS3, Reviews, XBox 360

Game Review: Zone of the Enders 2 HD

The great thing about sequels, when done properly, is that they’re a chance for developers to improve on mistakes in the previous game.  They need to listen to the critiques of gamers.  Fortunately, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, seems to have taken the criticisms levied on its predecessor & worked to improve itself.  Many of the problems I had with the first game are gone, or at least improved upon.  So how does that make the game fare?

Why is the Anubis suit so much cooler than mine?

Why is the Anubis suit so much cooler than mine?

The 2nd Runner picks up two years after the first Zone of the Enders ended with the new main character, Dingo Egret finding the Jehuty on Callisto while mining the moon for Metatron.  Before he even has the chance to wonder why the frame is there, ships from the Mars military BAHRAM attack the moon to take Jehuty back to power up some enormous weapon.  Dingo, formerly a runner for BAHRAM, has a dispute with the clearly insane leader, Nohman.  And then Nohman kills him.  But instead of that being the end of the story, Dingo wakes up to find that a spy for the Earth Space Forces, Ken, has saved him by attaching his vitals to Jehuty.  This means he gets to live, but can’t leave Jehuty’s cockpit.  With no other choice, & eager for revenge on Nohman, Dingo sets out to destroy BAHRAM’s ultimate weapon before it destroys Mars.

Eat my pretty lasers

Eat my pretty lasers

A lot of the controls from the previous game have been carried over.  Controlling Jehuty, you can fly in any direction, dash, guard & fire of Burst shot.  You also have both long & short-range attacks.  There are more sub-weapons this time around, & unlike in the previous game where you gathered them like ammo, you now have a sub-weapon gauge that depletes as you use them & restores as you destroy enemies.  Two other new attacks are the ability to attack while grabbing an enemy (including a cool spin attack) & homing shots, which you use by holding down the attack button while moving, allowing you to lock on to multiple targets at once.  It’s also added an improved ability to sense enemies &, more importantly, incoming attacks.

Narrative: Overall, I think the plot to 2nd Runners is reasonably well done.  It continues nicely from the first game, bringing back old characters & showing how they’ve changed while also giving us some new, interesting characters.  I also felt it gave a satisfying conclusion.  Dingo is a likeable protagonist, much more so than Leo from the first game.  He’s portrayed as a “popular” character, liked by those who’ve been under his command, but also cares about those people as well, so he makes for a good hero.  The game also does a good job of showing how he transitions from being resentful towards Ken basically holding his life in her hands to coming to under her motivations & caring for her.  And thankfully it’s only as a comrade & not so tacked on romance.  Amazingly, they actually made Leo a decent character this time around.  He’s no longer the same whiny punk from the first game.  He’s still a bit daft, but at least I didn’t hate him this time around.  But I have to say, I wished they went in a different direction with Nohman’s character.  In the first game, although we never see him, he comes across as a good leader.  He tells Viola not to throw her life away & seems to care about his comrades’ well-being.  But by the end of 2nd Runner, he’s your stereotypical villain out to destroy the universe.  When is that ever a good plan?  If they played it off as him being a misguided rebel trying to free Mars from Earth’s oppression, I think the story would’ve been more satisfying.  I also feel that they didn’t play up Dingo’s life being tied to Jehuty as well as they could’ve.  They could’ve made for a really tragic figure but it’s really only shown once near the beginning.  So overall, good story but with a few missteps that could’ve made it great.   Score: 4

On par with most anime

On par with most anime

Mechanics: The combat was the best part of the first ZoE, & the same goes for this time around.  Combat is as fast & fluid as ever, but the new additions really help add some variety to the fighting.  The new moves are incorporated really well into the game.  I think the most useful addition is the ability to lock-on to multiple targets to fire homing shots.  It makes fighting in large groups much easier.  Some sub-weapons are carried over from before, but there are a few new ones.  And just like last time, they all work very differently so you can vary your strategies.  The ones I tended to use the most were homing missiles and gauntlet.  But the best sub-weapon is the Zero Shift, which is the last one you get.  It’s basically like a warp that lets you instantly get behind enemies no matter how far away they are.  It’s a shame you don’t get to use it more, but given how overpowered it is, I understand why it’s saved for the end-game.  The game also adds the ability to tell which direction an attack is coming from off-screen, which is very helpful.  There are several new enemy types, each of which poses its own challenge.  There are also plenty of boss fights & set pieces in the game, & I thought that each was really well done.  All of the bosses require their own strategy.  Sometimes you have to knock them into barriers, sometimes you pull their armor apart.  I think my favorite boss was the Doctor, because at one point in the fight Jehuty’s sensors are blinded & you have to follow ADA’s directions to avoid attacks.  My only complaint in the gameplay department is that there are four sections where you’re supposed to protect other characters.  Two require you to fight enemies while keeping other mechs alive while the other two require you to carry a character around.  I hate escort missions, but thankfully these sections weren’t too bad.  Only the two sections where you’re protecting one person will fail you if they die, the others just affect your overall ranking in the game.  Thankfully, you can heal people, which makes some of these sections easier.  The only other minor complaint is that there’s no way to change sub-weapons on the fly; you have to pull up your menu screen.  But overall, excellent gameplay with a few minor frustrations.  Score: 4

In-game dialogue scenes

In-game dialogue scenes

Aesthetics: The game has two distinct art styles.  The major cutscenes are in an anime style while the actual in-game sections have a sort of cell-shaded look.  The anime sections look really nice, & while the in-game graphics aren’t the most detailed, they look okay.  Occasionally you’ll have a scene where you’ll get pop-up windows of the characters talking on the screen that are in the anime style over the in-game graphics.  I didn’t find these to be utilized well because the characters are mostly static in these windows except for their mouths moving, & it made it hard to see what else was going on.  On the audio side, I can’t really say much about most of the music because, aside from the theme song (Beyond the Bounds) none of it stuck out.  I can’t remember most of it, but at least none of it took me out of the moment.  And the voiceacting is… well, while none of the voices were bad, a lot of the times their delivery was flat.  Hardly horrible, but definitely laughable when trying to convey emotional scenes in monotone.  Score: 3

Replay Value: Average.  I don’t personally see a point in playing more than once, but you can replay the game with unlocked frames.  You can also unlock Ex-Missions by finding files throughout the levels that give you challenge stages, which does add to the replay value.  Score: 3

Breakdown

untitled

Overall Score: 3

Final Word: Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner definitely improves a lot of both the story & gameplay aspects from the first game, but it’s average presentation holds it back from having major appeal.  It’s still a fun action game & worth checking out if your a fan of sci-fi or mecha games.

– GamerDame

Title: Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner HD
Console: 360 & PS3
Rating: M
Developers: KCEJ & High Voltage Software
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: October 30, 2012

Leave a comment

Filed under Mecha, PS3, Reviews, XBox 360