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Developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom, “Remember Me” is a third person science fiction adventure which intrigues but doesn’t satisfy.
Set in a future where memories are treated like commodities, Memory Hunter, Nilin, has had her memory wiped and has no idea what happened to her or who she is. She is assisted by the mysterious Errorist leader, Edge. His mission is to destroy the corporation, Memorize, who created the SenSen which stores the entirety of a person’s memories. This seems great on the outside but has divided society even further and has led to a mutation in some people which robs them of their sanity and deforms their bodies. These people are called Leapers and their situation is swept under the rug by Memorize. Edge wants Nilin to help him in his crusade and promises that she will regain her lost memories.
“Remember Me’s” gameplay is straightforward. Nilin fights with techniques called Pressens which she unlocks at certain parts of the game. They can be linked together to form combos which deal more damage as you lengthen the combo. She also has special moves called S-Pressens which can be used to defeat certain types of enemies. The S-Pressens can only be used if Nilin has charged them up and after using one there is a cool-down period until the next time it can be selected. There are some Pressens that shorten the cool-down period to assist Nilin in defeating enemies faster.
Other Pressens include regeneration, chains and power. Regeneration Pressens allow Nilin to regain health. Chain Pressens copy the ability of the previous move in the combo with more strength. Lastly, power Pressens are simply moves that deal damage. Each Pressen can be combined in any way the player wishes with the exception of the first move at the start of the combo chain.
Nilin’s combos are able to do more damage if they are chained together without being interrupted. This would be fine if the camera angles did not drastically zoom in and out when steering Nilin toward or away from enemies. The camera can easily disorient you into leading Nilin into a corner to which she can become overwhelmed by enemies.
Dontnod was clearly trying to imitate United Front Games’ “Sleeping Dogs” or RockSteady’s “Arkham City” when they developed the combat system for Nilin. Unfortunately, the combat does not exhibit the fluid movements of Batman in “Arkham City” or the devastating power of Wei Shen in “Sleeping Dogs.” It is mechanically repeating combos until the enemy dies or Nilin dies.
Another infuriating aspect of the combat is that when Nilin reaches low health, the screen glitches. This is to illustrate that Nilin is low on health in an edgy way that underscores the game’s technological theme but it is just annoying. There is little chance that you will be able to recover while trying to see through the glitch screen to regenerate health with your Pressens while at the same time avoiding their attacks.
“Remember Me” has some innovative aspects such as Nilin’s ability to “remix” memories. She can go into the mind of a person and change any event she wishes to whatever she wants it to be. For example, in the very beginning, a bounty hunter is searching for Nilin. Nilin catches her off guard and “remixes” her memory so that she believes she has a vendetta against Memorize instead of Nilin.
This memory tampering brings up whether what Nilin is doing is ethical even within the circumstances of Neo-Paris. After “remixing” Nilin has no control over what the person will do as a result of the new memory she has thrust upon them. The consequences of that are also seen further into the game.
In addition to “remixing” memories, Nilin’s main job is to steal them. She can steal whatever memory she needs to further the mission, including memory maps called Remembranes. These maps follow every action the person performed during a certain period of time and Nilin can use this information to get around traps and enter door codes to get past secured areas.
While doing missions Nilin has a chance to collect Mnesists which include information on the history of Memorize, people and places within Neo-Paris. Health and Focus upgrades can also be found to increase Nilin’s stats.
The enemies Nilin encounters are mostly Leapers and security officers from Memorize. Each come in different varieties and become much more difficult to defeat as the game progresses. Leapers generally claw and jump on top of Nilin from the walls, while the next stage they can actually disappear, making it difficult to fight them.
Security officers come in different types, ranging from low level grunts which attack with fists to high level officers which tase Nilin. Besides security, Nilin also has to fight robots which deal devastating damage. However, if you use the correct Pressens, they can be easily defeated.
Nilin gets around by scaling buildings, and the environment limits her greatly. You can’t really explore the city and if you try to find Mnesists and you go the wrong way and a cutscene takes place, too bad. You have to save it for your next playthrough.
“Remember Me’s” score is a mix of synth and techno which reinforces the action segments of the game, the creepiness of the Leapers and at the same time exemplifies Nilin’s struggle to find out who she is.
“Remember Me’s” environments and graphics are gorgeous. The transformation of Paris into a technological wonder is amazing. The art team obviously put effort into designing everything from the dank Leaper slums to the posh residential areas of the upper crust citizens. Each area had something to look at for clues about how people live with such advanced technology at their fingertips.
The worst part about “Remember Me” is that it is mediocre. There was no sense of urgency when completing objectives or satisfaction when learning more about Nilin or Memorize. It felt as if the game had been made before. It had some great concepts with the memory remixing and giving Nilin the ability to change people’s perceptions of their own reality but it didn’t really go anywhere with them. You just mechanically go through the motions, not really caring about how Nilin feels or how anyone feels. Once “Remember Me” is finished, it’s a game that’s easily forgotten.
Rating 2.8/5- “Remember Me” is trying to be something more than it is. It tries to bring a theme of where technology could be headed while trying to warn against corporations dominating this very dangerous new power. Unfortunately this story isn’t new or exciting and it shows from the lackluster characters to the dull gameplay.
Image Courtesy of Luke Painter