REVIEW: Remember Me

What would you do if there was no such thing as privacy? Would you like to live someone’s moments by accessing their memories and feeling the feelings they felt? Try saying that 3 times fast… Memory manipulation is where things are at in Remember Me, the first game to come out by the hands of DontNod. And it is one that will leave you with a mixed bag of feelings, and despite a good premise it lacks substance and ends up falling short of expectations.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this new IP and it even surprised some people when it turned out to be a platform/hack and slash hybrid…

The year is 2084 , you play as an errorist in the city of Paris, Neo-Paris to be exact. Nilin, our female protagonist, has an unique ability, to change someone’s memories and by doing so, change their perspective of the world around them, A neat gameplay twist that unfortunately isn’t fully explored in the game. You start the adventure incarcerated and with amnesia. Soon you get to break free from your captivity and set out to find out who you really are and how society has gotten so low, with the lower parts of Neo-Paris filled with mindless abominations and the upper classes not caring one bit with what’s happening around them and just trying to ignore the crumbling of society happening at their feet.

With the evolution of technology it has become possible to extract someone’s memories and sell them, with the person who buy’s them able to relive the memories and feel the emotions connected to them, opening a huge market of “memory sharing”. As a repercussion of this, people started to be more interested in living in the past and experiencing feelings they never had before, making them forget about reality and giving way for the government to use these tools as a way to control people, using even especially trained agents to steal, erase or even change peoples memories, making them nothing more than mere sheep. A revolution is burning throughout the city and you will get entangled with it in your attempt to unveil the truth being Mesmerize (the company running the memory business and the city’s government) and why was your memory erased.

Nilin is an undeveloped character, and one that unfortunately won’t stay with you when you turn your game off. They tried to make her a strong willed and determined woman but there isn’t much of character development and what we are given falls short of expectations. “This little red riding hood’s got a basket full of kick-ass”. Really? If it was said as a joke I would accept it but the game’s serious tone and direction just makes something like this feel silly and out of place.

Lets delve into the gameplay itself and here we will find some good ideas that were poorly executed. In this game, you spend half of your time running and climbing and the other half, you spend fighting. The climbing is dull and instead of letting you explore the scenery they make you “parkour” only to the places they want you too, indicated by a yellow arrow! There is no sort of reward by doing this, just follow the motions until the next fight. The fighting is also very simplistic, with a new combo system that if better explored, could have been a great innovation. As it is, we’ve got a rather simple 4 combo system where you can can personalize your kicks and punches (named pressens in-game) and at which order you have to press them in order to complete the combo. Each of the 4 combos will have a specific purpose, such as healing you or diminishing the time it takes for your sensen abilities to recharge. What are these sensen abilities? Special powers that you can activate during combat, 1 of these powers can stun all the enemies on screen for example, while other might make you invisible, giving you time to take out that particularly resilient enemy in one single deathblow from behind! There are a total of 5 sensen abilities and you’ll unlock them automatically as the story moves along.

The best moments of Remember Me are those that let you mess with people’s memories to achieve certain story-driven goals. In these sequences you’ll see the full memory play out and then you can rewind it and tweak little things in the scenery that might change the outcome of the scene. There is a little amount of trial and error as you might end up changing something you shouldn’t and completely fail your objective, but don’t get me wrong, it’s in these moments the game shines the brightest and there should have been a lot more of these memory altering sequences! Note that you are not altering the past or the future, you’re just altering the point of view of a single person, altering the way they think events actually happened… Think of the possibilities and ramifications of this mechanic if it were used as a main gameplay mechanic instead of something that serves to break the monotony of the dull combat and climbing. The enemies you’ll be facing range from the regular soldiers/mutants to some bigger enemies like robots, invisible or electrified foes that will have you changing your tactics frequently and give some form of variety to the combat, that in time will start feeling rather repetitive…

There is also a stealth element to the game, but it is very sporadic and simple to be worth mentioning, you’ll be hiding from flying robots and then walk  past them as they turn to face the other way, and that’s it… The sound design in this game is superb, with music tracks that fit the ambiance of the title and good voice actors that fit the characters despite some cheesy lines…

All in all, Remember Me is a game with a competent storyline, a good soundtrack but lackluster gameplay mechanics, with a boring combat system that looked promising but failed to deliver, and one of the most restrictive ways to deliver scenery exploration and progression. Its is not a bad game, but it just feels lacking and a disappointment… It promised us greatness and only delivered a decent and slightly better above average game that could have been a splendid if not for its missteps…

 

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