Remember Me is a multi-platform game that promises to insert players in an immersive world they’d be able to explore, all while engaging in unique and interesting gameplay mechanics. Created by French developer Dontnod Entertainment, and published by Capcom, this single-player game takes place in future Paris – excuse me, Neo-Paris. The exact year 2084, and in this world there exists a device called a Sensen. A device so ubiquitous it’s practically mandatory all citizens of Neo-Paris wear it. And with this so-called Sensen, people are able to have their unpleasant memories removed, or pass on their pleasant memories to others. Sensens are so popular in society, they are even used to “rehabilitate” hardened criminals in a way akin to a lobotomy. The game starts the player off in control of an Errorist named Nilin, who was recently captured, and just underwent a memory wiping process. However, her resilience to the process allows her to retain memory fragments such as her name, but she recalls little else. Therefore, in order to regain her memories, she must make her way from the slums of Neo-Paris to the upper echelon where the city’s cultural elite reside, and confront the corporation behind it all – Memorize.
One of the strengths of Remember Me is the imaginative world in which the game takes place. There’s something Phillip K. Dick-esque about a world that allows its inhabitants to change the perception of their lives through memory wipes. It’s not an original concept, granted, but it’s fleshed out by the utilization of advanced, almost Orwellian technology. There’s an economic divide in Neo-Paris that allows the rich to go about their lives blissfully unaware of any hardships they may have faced, while the poor must slog around in their nearly-flooded dwellings remembering every depressing event that ever happened to them. While playing as Nilin, you’re constantly told about the plight of oppressed, and the ultimate goal the Errorist movement. Their motives are commendable, but they’re not entirely without fault in how they go about achieving their endgame. I guess, ultimately, you can see the error of the Errorists’ ways… Sorry, I apologize.
Remember Me provides a unique and satisfying narrative, but it lacks a cast of deep, engaging characters. Nilin is a strong-willed female protagonist – she isn’t the problem. Over the course of the game you learn a lot about her; her insecurities, her confusion over who she was; and her perseverance to find her true self. Nilin is great, even though she occasionally repeats lines so cheesy they’d make a person who’s lactose intolerant throw up. Another great character is Edge – the “Otacon” to her “Snake”. He communicates with Nilin from the beginning all the way to end, and you’re never quite sure if his intentions are genuine, or if he’s just taking advantage of a compromised Nilin. Those two are really the only characters with any depth; the rest of the cast leave a lot to be desired. You have characters that disappear shortly after they’re introduced, and then you have characters with names like Bad Request, and Trace – really? Okay, so where’s Bad Gateway, Rootkit, and IP Address? C’mon, I know there’s an Errorist named BitTorrent out there… Maybe he lives in Neo-Sweden?
Combat in the game is very similar to Batman: Arkham City, except it’s less fluid. During the game you are given to ability to unlock attack components called Pressens, which can be linked together to form a combo. The more PMP, or experience, you gain the more Pressens you can unlock. The makers of the game boast tens of thousands of Pressen combinations, and while there are four types of Pressens (damage, chain, healing, and cool down) there are only four predetermined combos you can assign them to. However, there’s a lot of strategy to be found within fighting, especially when you’re surrounded by numerous enemies – which happens frequently. The only way to heal yourself in battle is by completing combos with healing Pressens, but you’ll go insane trying to dodge enemy attacks while keeping your combos active. Another way to dispatch of enemies is to use S-Pressens, or special moves. Each S-Pressen has a specific function that can be applied to a specific enemy, or group of enemies. But after using them one time you have to wait for them to “cool down” before you can use them again. Even then, your Focus Gauge has to be completely filled before they’re even activated. And as final attack, Nilin is able to perform a Memory Overload on dazed opponents, which is a nice addition, but lacks variety. Overall, battles in Remember Me can get tedious very quickly; the repetitiveness of dodging while keeping a combo active is enough to have you begging for your own memory wipe. Yet, it’s addictive experimenting with Pressen types and watching Nilin pirouette around enemies. Also, the soundtrack of the game is extremely mood-setting; combining orchestral sounds with electronic ones. So, during battles you’ll try to complete combos just to hear the oddly satisfying battle theme in its completeness.
Outside of the battles the game plays very much like most other platformers. Nilin traverses the buildings of Neo-Paris using any object her Sensen identifies as climbable. Along the way there will be objects that must be interacted with in order to progress further. None of them offer much excitement, and sometimes act as a hindrance when all you want to do is progress through the story. It’s fun and sometimes jaw-dropping walking around Neo-Paris, especially the nicer parts of the city. However, other than some isolated paths in which you can find collectables, the game pretty much keeps the player on a linear track. It’s sad too, because Neo-Paris is beautifully realized, and looks ripe for exploration, alas… The aforementioned collectables include SAT Patches, Focus Boosts, Mnesists and Scaramechs. Hold on, Pressens, S-Pressens, Mnesists, Scaramechs? Man, this game is certainly not afraid to throw ridiculous-sounding terms at you.
Remember Me’s gameplay mechanics can come off as derivative and underdeveloped. Yet, one mechanic stands out as the true reason to play Remember Me at least once. That’s the memory remixing sequences – the primary feature of Remember Me, and sadly its most underutilized. When remixing memories as Nilin, you tap into a subject’s Sensen device and manipulate a defining memory in the subject’s life in order to influence their actions in the game’s world. Each one has a set of bugs the player can alter that would allow a memory to play out differently. This feature is the most fun you’ll have playing this game, and you’ll find yourself hoping that a cutscene ends with a memory remixing sequence. The problem is there’s only a handful of them throughout the entire game. Amazingly, no one has thought of this concept before, and it should definitely be explored more if they ever decide to make sequel.
Remember Me is an ambitious game with some familiar and not-so-familiar gameplay mechanics. If you can ignore the mostly frustrating battles, and the tedious platforming, you’ll be rewarded with a very interesting story, a likable protagonist, beautiful environments, and an exceptionally fun mechanic . I really hope the creators decide to continue with this franchise, because there’s a lot of potential yet to be realized. With a focus on memory remixing, a more involved supporting cast, and even the possibility of it being open-world, I can see Remember Me becoming an AAA franchise worth remembering. As it stands now, it’s a flawed game that’s still merits a playthrough.
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