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