Sci-Fi post-apocalyptic combat games are a nice break in the sea of zombie thrillers and general shooters that seem to flood the market at the moment. Surviving at its core has to be one of the most anxiety filled and enjoyable aspects of a game intertwined with any action-adventure – you want to live and you want your life to mean something.
Capcom and I have had a very rocky relationship; they’ve published some of my favourite titles, and also some more questionable titles so Remember Me quickly became an interesting and more anticipated concept. Created by Dontnod Entertainment, Remember Me is their first AAA title and they’ve made quite a big impression.
Remember Me starts off as an ad for Sensen, a device that can record and share memories. It’s emotional, very well acted, voiced and directed. Dontnod have captured the emotion and nuance of behaviour for each person in this ad for Sensen, my concerns for such a product disappeared as I wanted to experience what they were experiencing; true bliss, love and happiness by sharing my memories with another person. What a strange desire to have. What type of world have we turned into?
You’re immediately thrown into this world, slow and disoriented. You’re walking through a tutorial, the game eases you into it as the instructions come up on screen. The entire first episode is a beautiful credit sequence. Typography comes up on screen every so often as you look around at what surrounds you. Little glimpses of what might be are shown but protagonist Nilin has no idea what is ahead of her, she’s had her memory wiped and it’s up to you and a friend named Edge, leader of these so called ‘Errorists’ – who seems to look strangely borrowed from another game – to get you out of here.
The world, visually, is what you’d expect from a typical Xbox 360 game. They’re not completely mind-blowing but they’re detailed. Extremely detailed. In a typical linear fashion, Neo-Paris is as packed to the brim as it can be. It adopts an Assassin’s Creed-type gameplay style of climbing buildings with locked camera angles which really add to the cinematic feel and appreciation of your surroundings. The world Dontnod created is absolutely beautiful in its derelict state. There are journals to find and each tell you more about different parts of the world, which really adds to the history of getting to know what and why Neo-Paris exists.
Manipulating, extracting and wiping memories is how Nilin will survive this world now called Neo-Paris. Scouring the slums, you hear how decrepit the world has become as filthy degenerates walk past, whispering slurs at you. These started to remind me of the Splicers from BioShock, as they start to creep on you in the darkest of corners in the streets.
Combat is interesting and quite arcade-like. You’re introduced to a system where you get to choose how your combo is formed. There are various attributes to your combo, some reduce cooldowns, multiply damage or even generate health, so you can try to customise these to something that suits your gameplay style. At first, combat was really exciting. I enjoyed timing each move correctly to get the bonus of the next move, but after a while I found the camera to impede quite a bit and overall it felt like a series of quick time events. Eventually, they did just become quick time events! The camera getting in the way of not only combat but general gameplay added an extra difficulty and chunkiness that the game really doesn’t need.
Once you wrap your head around each ability and get a combo right, combat feels so rewarding despite everything else. Sure it might take you a bit to get there, but it builds up the hype and the anticipation. It makes it all that much frustrating when you get hit or even die. As you progress through each level, or Episode as they’re called in Remember Me, different enemies are introduced. Some act more like tanks, others are much stealthier, and this provides a nice variation of things to fight.
Forced cutscenes make you appreciate the settings, but make the game feel slower than what it is. By forced cutscene I mean walking into an area for the first time, having Nilin slowed right down as she speaks to Edge as you walk slowly to the next trigger point to start playing the game as normal. Sometimes it takes a long while to get right into the action, and in an instant, it’s gone. Some bosses feel more rewarding than others because of this reason. It seems that Dontnod tried to find a happy medium of cinematic and gameplay but didn’t quite get there.
Nilin as a lead seems to be lacking. I wasn’t completely disappointed by her and actually started to enjoy the discovery of Neo-Paris and all its hidden messages with her. She has some pretty bad ass moves and as story progresses, we get to learn about her history through others a bit more. She has some more insightful moments but overall, is an empty shell. Sure, that’s the point of the game, she is not only trying to remember herself but the others she used to know but it starts to feel a bit too convenient.
- Exploration is fluent
- Arcade-like combat appropriately placed in a linear single player game
- Combines melee combat, platforming and exploration quite well
- Camera becomes very intrusive and leads to difficulty in gameplay
- Bugs in the game, can’t always select an object or won’t always register you’ve pressed a button
- Forced cutscenes/quick time events aren’t balanced enough with gameplay
- Not enough memory remixing
I want to go back and rediscover the game so I can read a little more into the history of Neo-Paris, which has to say something about the success of the game, or possibly about how much I’m a sucker for buggy things. While I did encounter a few difficulties that with a little more polish could have been overcome, I enjoyed the humour, story writing, the combat most of the time and the actual memory aspect of the game when it wasn’t just about action. More of that please! Remember Me touches on issues we face in society and with government today, as well as some of the more controversial issues of being able to read minds, steal minds or be other minds.
Written By Yiánna Paris