Remember Me is the latest offering from Capcom and perhaps one of the more highly anticipated games of the summer. Boasting an intriguing and unique premise, mixed with several different types of gameplay that offer a few really interesting mechanics, I was hoping that this would be the game to wipe the stale taste left in my mouth from reviewing duds like Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel and Fuse. But could Remember Me possibly live up to the hype surrounding it, or the expectations that I had placed on it? Continue reading to find out.
You see, Remember Me is one of those futuristic type games, where the setting is Earth, only not Earth as we know it. Here, we’re dropped into the year 2084 and oh boy how things have changed. For one, Paris is now called Neo-Paris and it just so happens that this is where the story takes place.
We step into the shoes of protagonist Nilin, a freedom fighter of sorts who belongs to a group known as the Errorists. This group of revolutionaries fight against the oppression laid upon them by the giant corporation Memorise, who have invented a brain implant known as the Sensen. This little device allows citizens to upload and share their memories online as well as get rid of the not so pleasant ones. In turn, it has allowed Memorise to create a surveillance state and establish a large degree of control over the population.
Of course, our freedom fighters are having none of this and through acts of sabataoge and all the other activities that go along with underground revolutionaries, they vow to put an end to this madness. Madness? Wait, no. This is Memorise!
As the game begins, Nilin is imprisoned in the Bastille Fortress, run by the evil corporation. She’s in the process of having the last parts of her memory wiped when a mysterious stranger named Edge contacts her through a coms device and helps her escape. Now out in the open, without a great portion of her memories, Nilin learns that she is a talented fighter who has the ability to both steal and remix other people’s memories, something which Edge tells her can help to take down Memorise. And so, together the two team up to once again restore freedom to society. Unbeknown to Nilin though, not everything is as it seems and as she slowly regains her memories, she’ll discover what’s really going on.
So, intriguing, unique premise, right? Yup, most definitely. And for the most part, it works pretty well. A few cliches rear their ugly heads here and there, as does some questionable dialogue. And yes, some of the twists that our story takes are a bit predictable, but, overall I was hooked. I was eager to get to the end of the game so I could see what happened and both the backstory and character development were sufficient enough to have me truly invested in both Nilin and her world.
In some ways, the game reminds me of the BioShock series. It presents an intriguing futuristic world, one with many secrets and things worth exploring, but unlike that series, Remember Me only gives you the information necessary to move the story forward. There isn’t much exploration to be found here and so often I found myself wanting to interact with the world around me but was unable to, due to the singular path I was being forced down. The world that developer Dontnod has built is both visually appealing and ripe for exploration, I just wish it wasn’t so closed off to the gamer. They really needed to flesh it out more and not make things so linear.
Like I said above, the story is really solid, despite some cliches, and there are collectible journals to find that do shed some additional light on how planet Earth ended up like it is in the game. But still, I feel that there is a whole treasure chest of possibilities just waiting to be opened when it comes to exploring Neo-Paris in the year 2084, and, unfortunately, due to the linear nature of the game, so many of those possibilities are forgone.
When it comes to the gameplay, Remember Me offers some good fun. Part action/adventure game, part stealth game, part platformer and part puzzle game, there’s a lot of variety here and thanks to that, the game rarely feels stale. Seriously, Remember Me incorporates gameplay mechanics from all the aforementioned genres and, surprisingly, most of them work really well.
The core gameplay falls under the action/adventure umbrella, as the majority of your time will be spent making your way through Neo-Paris on the hunt for the truth, with the end goal being to regain your memories and take down Memorise in the process. You’ll traverse through the various environments, all of which are engaging, lively and a joy to venture through, as you follow the instructions of Edge, who guides you on your path.
When it comes to combat, the game features something called the Combo Lab. As you progress, you’ll be able to build your own fighting combos to use against your enemies. What’s interesting about this is that you can design your combo to do various things using something called Pressens. For example, you can build a combo to give you a health boost using a regen pressen, so if you’re low on health during a fight simply pull off that combo and regain some health. Or you can build a combo to recharge your special abilities (more on that later) in a quicker fashion. Once a special ability is used it takes a bit of time to recharge, but if you really need to use one, just pull off the combo that you built to boost your recharge time.
This aspect of the game makes it a lot more fun and much more than just a button masher. You actually have to strategically think about which combos to pull off while in combat and it adds a new level of thinking and strategy to the game, saving its confrontations from becoming mindless. That being said, this aspect of the game could have used a bit more depth as once I had unlocked the four combos, and set each one up to give me a different boost, I found myself never visiting the Combo Lab again.
Admittedly, none of the combos exceed six button presses and there are only a few combos that you need to learn, but it still does make Remember Me stand out from countless other button mashers. Unfortunately, the game more or less forces you to use these combos, as basic button presses barely register. Another unfortunate aspect of the combat is the fact that you can sometimes get pretty swarmed in fights, and at these times the fights lose a bit of their flow, meaning you have to spend more time dodging and jumping away from enemies (in order to get some space to pull off a combo) than attacking them, which can become a bit annoying.
Those special abilities I mentioned above, they’re called S-Pressens and they are pretty awesome. Unlocked progressively as you go through the game, they give you access to some cool powers. There’s one that turns you invisible for 30 seconds, allowing you to get the drop on enemies, one that freezes certain enemy types in their place, allowing you to pull off big combos for maximum damage, one that lets you place a bomb into your opponent, damaging him and everyone in his radius, etc. They all come in handy, but again, strategy comes into play here as certain S-Pressens are better for some enemy types than others. Like I said before, though; you have to fill up a meter to use them (like in most games), and once a particular S-Pressen is used it needs time to recharge.
Lastly, in combat you can also use a projectile weapon that is attached to your arm. Among the various functions it serves, you can shoot at enemies from afar. Like everything else, though, it can only be used so much before it needs to re-charge. In addition to using it in combat, the mechanic is also used to open/unlock doors, move heavy objects and more.
Now, aside from the combat, which makes up the majority of the game, there are some other types of gameplay to help spice things up. Various sections will have you sneaking around secure areas, trying to avoid detection from alarms and whatnot. Don’t expect any Sam Fisher type antics or anything, as the stealth isn’t a huge component of Remember Me, but it does pop up here and there.
Like stealth, platforming is a noteworthy part of the game and plays more of a role than the stealth elements. Nilin sneaks around a lot and in doing so, you’ll find yourself running, jumping, leaping and hanging on rooftops, sides of buildings and indoor areas. It’s all pretty basic stuff, but it unfortunately doesn’t all work too well.
When it comes to basic movement and even combat, the camera held up (a few sloppy angles aside), but for some of the platforming sections, I experienced a number of problems. I often found myself missing jumps or falling off edges simply because the camera wouldn’t adjust. It was never a huge issue but it did lead to a few frustrating deaths, and considering that there was a decent chunk of platforming content in the game, I felt that it should have been handled a bit better.
The last type of gameplay you’ll find here is that of the puzzle genre. As I said above, Nilin has the ability to remix memories. What this means is she can go into someone’s mind, access their memory, and mix it so it plays out differently in the subject’s head. When this happens, you first watch the memory unfold. Once it’s complete, you can rewind and fast-forward through it looking for “glitches.” These glitches are what can be remixed, and by remixing them, you can change the outcome of the situation. Each “memory remix” tasks you with achieving a certain outcome, different from the original memory, and to do so you’ll need to remix the right parts in order to get the desired outcome.
It takes a bit of thinking and piecing together to achieve a successful remix, but once you do so, it’s immensely satisfying. This is by far the most interesting aspect of the game but, for some reason, Dontnod only included four of them in the campaign – a surprising design choose.
Technically, Remember Me looks fantastic. Dontnod has implemented a striking visual aesthetic with some excellent art direction that brings to life the city of Neo Paris wonderfully. It really is a pleasing experience for the eye and almost all of the environments hold up well and never feel bland or boring. The outdoor sections of the game shine the brightest, but even the indoor ones are well designed. Aurally, composer Oliver Deriviere’s score is really great. It fits the game and its themes perfectly and definitely enhances the experience.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Remember Me is that it doesn’t realize its full potential. There’s a superb game hiding in here somewhere, but due to various shortcomings, it turns out to be only a good game. Its most interesting aspect (the memory remixes) only make up maybe half an hour of the 10 or so hour single player campaign, and while the Combo Lab adds some variety and personality to the fighting mechanics, it’s far too basic and doesn’t have nearly enough depth. Furthermore, this world and backstory that’s presented to us is deeply fascinating, but so much of it is closed off and not suitable for exploration. Admittedly, I did have a lot of fun during my playthrough, and would recommend a purchase, but it’s just too bad that Dontnod missed out on the multiple opportunities to turn this good game into a superb game.
This review is based on the XBOX 360 version of the game.