Set in the year 2084, in Neo-Paris, this futuristic adventure follows convicted ‘Errorist’, Nillin. The story begins with her being trapped in the Bastille fortress and having just had most of her memory taken from her. With the help of the mysterious character, known as Edge, Nillin is able to escape the prison. She joins the Errorist cause once more, as she tries to regain her stolen memories, while also taking down the evil corporation, known as Memorize. Along the way, Nillin takes orders from Edge, her savior, and encounters a number of fleshy and robotic enemies as her journey progresses.
The concept behind ‘Remember Me’ centers around memories. Everyone in this futuristic Paris is hooked up to a device called Sensen (which is provided by the evil Memorize corporation). Sensen allows the wearer to store memories and re-live and also get rid of bad memories. Memory is what the entire game’s mechanics revolves around. As Nilln pieces together her past, more abilities will come back to her, as the story progresses. This means that fighting moves, combo slots and special abilities slowly come into your possession, right up to the last episode of the game. This helps to build a feeling of constant growth and keeps the gameplay plodding along. And plod, it does.
This is an action/ adventure title, which uses beat-em-up style fighting. Combos can be customised by the player and this added a level of strategy to how you build them. Each enemy has different strengths, weaknesses and attack patterns. Using these patterns to your advantage will mean success. All fighting, in the game, is about timing your moves perfectly. The only way to string a combo is to hit each button in a specific rhythm, failing to do so will break the combo string. It gets rather complex but the game spoon feeds it to you so gradually that you are never overwhelmed with it all. The best game to liken the combat with is probably the ‘Batman: Arkham’ games; though at the same time, they are very different fighting mechanics.
Though the mystery, at the start of the game, is enough to keep you intrigued, it isn’t long before the gameplay becomes stale. With a limited amount of abilities and fighting moves, it feels like a overly long tutorial. It takes a while before the player feels like they are now into the meat of the game. After the first two episodes, the gameplay becomes a problem, purely just because of how limited you are in what you can do. It is rife with tedium, with the occasional new feature added in (though these features aren’t used much initially, they are setting the player up for when they are needed later in the game). Honestly, Episodes 3 to 5 feel like a drag (there are 8 Episodes in total, each lasting approximately an hour each). The middle section of the game is just plain boring, throwing in the odd piece of story that will all pay off in the final three chapters. At the time, you don’t realise that they will pay off, so it makes playing the game, at that time, a real struggle. In hindsight, they are important bits of story but they aren’t things that necessarily needed to be told via two to three hours of uninteresting gameplay. This is the game’s biggest downfall, it’s just not interesting enough to warrant a disc release.
The story is compelling, at least in the first two and last two chapters, that is enough to make you want to play the game. The middle is tiresome. If the game was more economical with the story telling and if the developers would rather have had a tighter game experience, they should have condensed the game into maybe five episodes and made the game a digital download only. This is the problem with ‘Remember Me’, you feel like you are playing an Xbox Live Arcade/ PlayStation Network/ Steam title, rather than a full price game. The developers obviously wanted to make the game long enough to justify a disc release but the gameplay and story suffers because of this. Eight to ten hours is hardly worth a full price label anyway, so they might as well have made a tighter gaming experience and sold it as a download only title for around half the price. Given that this isn’t a title based on a popular franchise, it would benefit from luring in potential fans by making it a more attractive purchase option. As it is, it would be safe to assume that the game won’t do as much business at full price as it might have done as a solid (and shorter) download title.
The best section of the game, is the final three episodes. This is where everything comes together, characters shown (then thrown away in the middle of the story) and the abilities gained earlier in the game. It is also where the themes come to the forefront of the story. It’s just a shame that it takes a lot of boredom to get to it.
Aesthetically, ‘Remember Me’ is a very pleasing game. The art direction and the design of environments, characters and enemies is very well realised and executed. It could be said that the visual style of the game is one of it’s biggest successes. The levels themselves suffer from being overly linear though. The game features elements of platforming (in the style of ‘Tomb Raider: Legend’) and mild puzzle solving. The level design is done to force the player into these two styles of gameplay but it means you never feel like you’re in control, just always going through the motions. There are some hidden items scattered around but these are easy to find because as soon as you see the tiniest hint of freedom (via an optional path to go down), you know instantly that at the end of it will be a hidden item. This almost defeats the point of having hidden items in the first place.
Voice acting is patchy in places, some characters come off as genuine, while others have a more theatrical feel to them, this means it is very hard to get attached to any of the characters, even the main character (which is a bit of a problem). The music is the nicest thing to listen to, as the futuristic and cinematic score keeps reminding you what you should be feeling and during combat, it provides a small indicator as to how you are doing, via short musical cues.
The game’s best asset is the ideas within it. How memories are used, manipulated and how they control the futuristic Neo-Paris. It does feel as though these ideas would be best served in a shorter game or maybe even a different game entirely. A ‘Mirror’s Edge’ style game might be make better use of the ideas of ‘Remember Me’ and make the gameplay interesting enough to wade through, in order to get to the meat of the story.
‘Remember Me’ is a bag of ideas both thematically and in terms of gameplay. Films like ‘Total Recall’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Blade Runner’ are clearly inspirations here for the ideas in the game but in terms of gameplay, this is a strange mix of ‘Tomb Raider: Legends’ (for platforming style) and ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’. Nillin is like a cross between Lara Croft from ‘Tomb Raider’ and Faith from ‘Mirror’s Edge’, it is hard to play ‘Remember Me’ and not be reminded of those great games. If only ‘Remember Me’ was as fun to play. A good game should leave you wanting more, by the time ‘Remember Me’ had finished, I was well and truly done with it and have no desire to revisit it.
‘Remember Me’ is a game with some great ideas and themes but it is hampered by being overly long, given the depth of the actual story. If the middle part of the game was more interesting, It would have had a more enjoyable time playing it. As it is, this feels like a download title that aspires to be a full price disc release title. Combat is definitely where the gameplay is most interesting, platforming and puzzle elements aren’t fully explored, though explored as far as they can be, given the incredibly linear level design. By the time the game ends, you feel like you have been on a journey, though be it a quite empty one, as the characters are hard to really care about. The ideas are what makes ‘Remember Me’ worth a quick playthrough but it’s gameplay is what makes you want to make the playthrough quick in the first place.
6 out of 10
‘Remember Me’ is developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom. It is available now on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.