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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

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

First Impressions: Remember Me

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.

gaming_remember_me_screenshot_3

– GamerDame

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