Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Release Date: 6/3/2013
Also Available On
Remember Me is a brand new IP from Capcom. I always welcome new IPs because you never know when you’re going to get the next Assassin’s Creed. Once I started to Remember Me I instantly fell in love with it. The art style is fantastic, the story is engaging, and the characters are memorable. This will be a game I talk about for years to come…at least the story anyways.
you are Nilin, a memory hunter fighting against M3morize. M3morize is a corporation that invented technology to let you forget any memory you want and gain memories. As you can tell, this leads to a civil war because everyone eventually becomes Leapers who are completely corrupted and bereft of memories. It turns out that there is some sort of new world order to wipe out everyone’s memories and make them all mindless soldiers. That’s the jist of it, and if I say any more I will give too much away. The story is fascinating and really plays well with the art style and atmosphere.
The problem with new IPs is that the developers concentrate on just one aspect of the game and the rest of it gets left behind. This is apparent in Assassin’s Creed 1 after playing AC3. You can see the difference. Remember Me has an amazing story and characters, but the gameplay is just lacking, it just feels useless and unnecessary. The tools you have to play don’t really mean anything in this game, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. The first thing is the combat system. While it’s unique it is very limited and actually holds the player back. Nilin has four different combos she can do over the course of the game. You fill these combos with two different attack buttons called Pressens. These Pressens can increase your health, decrease S-Pressen cooldown timers, give you more powerful attacks, and cause a chain reaction. This seems really interesting, gaining health during combat? It’s more frustrating and limited than you think. With just four combo chains you have to memorize all four of them and also remember what Pressens are in each one. I had one as a focused cool down combo, then one for health while the third was for power. The further in the combo the Pressen is the bigger effect it has. With just four combos combat gets really repetitive and super boring, it just never picks up.
Once you unlock S-Pressens things get a tad bit interesting but only during boss fights. These are powers that can let you attack really fast, stun everyone, place a bomb, and even turn invisible and get a one-hit-kill on an enemy. You can use two different ones on robot enemies that will attack you. These S-Pressens are key to winning tougher battles later in the game. That’s all there is to combat, and it is so limiting and repetitive. I actually only kept going because of the story.
Another part of the game that is never fully developed are the puzzles. There are only four in the entire game. These allow you to remix people’s memories to make them think something happened a different way. You watch a cutscene then rewind it looking for glitches that can change the scene. You have to set off the right glitches to change the memory. The problem is that there are no multiple outcomes. You just keep retrying until you get it right, there’s no fun in that. If I mess with someone’s memory, let me decide how it goes. I also wish there were more of them. There are also Remembrance puzzles that you interact in the world with. They are usually really easy and the answer is given to you after just a minute. I hate how these things were so underdeveloped, they are great concepts. There are a couple of move-the-stuff puzzles using your arm’s special powers, but I felt these were useless. You unlock a gun type of thing that can blast enemies and move things. Why do I need to unlock this throughout the game? Honestly, the moving and blasting open doors just felt like pointless filler.
Lastly, the exploration is very linear. The controls respond well, but the best part is just viewing everything. You get taken from the slums to the richest areas of the city. The journey is fascinating and breath-taking. Remember Me feels like a mix of Mirror’s Edge, Steven Spielberg’s A.I., and Blade Runner. I ate it up and the characters are very memorable. I just wish it had better gameplay to compliment it.
After you finish the game you will be talking about the amazing story for a while. While none of these mechanics are bad, they are just underdeveloped and feel like they need more work. The combat is interesting but very limited and repetitive, the same 5 enemies repeat often, and the puzzles are underdeveloped. I hope Remember Me comes back because I love Nilin and her journey through this break taking world, just give us better tools to explore it.
Remember Me is a game I really really wanted to love. Whereas most gamers looked completely over it
(thanks to Capcom’s poor advertising, unsurprisingly) I was super hyped for this game when it was first announced. New and remarkable setting? Check. Assassin’s Creed style parkour? Check. A unique take on puzzles (memory remixing), as well as a unique take on combat? Check. And most importantly, in this generation of established IP’s being done to death and little risks being taken, Remember Me is something totally different. It is a completely new IP coming late into this generations console span. It is a very courageous game, which is why it is so disappointing that so much of it can be summed up as mediocre. What disappoints me the most about Remember Me is that it conforms to many faults and norms of other action-adventure games rather than shattering them despite having the potential to do so.
You might assume from the conclusion of my opening paragraph that I hate this game, which conflicts with my seven and a half out of ten rating. Well, just like my review score compared to my opening paragraph, Remember Me is a conflicting game. It’s a game that will win your heart over just to shatter it moments later with another long, drawn out boring battle. It’s a game that teases you of a beautiful, interesting and striking world but then constrains your freedom to explore it. One common complaint with action games is that they force you into boring lifeless corridors where you must fight enemies until an barrier magically opens, allowing the protagonist to progress into another one of these rooms, ad infinitum. Remember Me does this in numerous occasions, however instead of dull, lifeless rooms it is in a breathing, fully realized world. While this does make those battles more interesting, it comes with a cost as it highlights how linear the game actually is. There are some parts where the game kills you for falling two feet below simply because the game does not want you to explore that part. Remember Me would do much better with a BioShock style of exploration, or even better, in an open world.
The few sections where the game does open up (and ignores its combat completely) are the best moments of Remember Me. The world is very flashy and futuristic, yet also completely run-down. The shanty-towns, skyscrapers, and luxurious marketplaces are all a marvel to explore. Neo-Paris is a beautiful place, and you’ll definitely take a few moments to breath in the sights when the camera actually allows you to see them. Remember Me is a dystopia, and it contains a very good story marred with some cheesy writing and voice acting which fluctuates from character to character. Nilin, the protagonist, starts off with all of her memory removed and only the help of a mysterious man named Edge who runs a group known as the “Errorists” (cheesy, I know). It takes place in 2084 (I wonder what dystopian novel that is a reference to) when almost everyone has digitized their memories using a program called Sensen. Nilin is a memory hunter (in fact, she is the only memory hunter), meaning she has the ability to delete and remix memories. Therein lies one of the true moral dilemmas of Remember Me, which will leave you constantly thinking: how moral is it to adjust ones memories? Is it okay to make your greatest enemy your best friend within one second to avoid killing them? To delete those memories that haunt you for life so you can be happier? The Errorists think not, and their goal is to overtake Memoreyes, the creators of Sensen. It’s hypocritical that their method of doing so is by using methods that are exactly what they oppose, but that is one of the things that makes this story so interesting.
The world has a huge backstory which can be discovered through numerous documents which you will want to find. This is one of the few games where the collectibles actually mattered to me, as I wanted as much knowledge as I could have on the world. Back to the characters, Nilin is an amazing protagonist. She is extremely powerful yet also highly flawed, making her feel very much like a human. The same can’t be said about the rest of the characters however. Most of them fall flat, with the exception being Edge. The voice-acting in general is pretty subpar other than Nilin, who has fantastic voice acting, and some lines are really cringeworthy. I’d recommend playing the game in French with English subtitles, as the French voice acting is superb. I wish I knew this before I started the game.
I’ve spent so much time babbling about how fantastic the story and world is that you are probably wondering how the actual gameplay is. Well… unfortunately it is pretty mediocre. It starts off with a ton of promise, as the combo-creation system seems like a unique way to allow us to have creative input on the combat. In the end though, the combat gets very monotonous and you’ll be wishing for each battle to end. The combos don’t have the fluent animations seen in games like Batman series and there aren’t enough combo spaces to fill up. The parkour system is fun yet also seems pointless as they game is constantly directing you where to go, meaning there is no actual freedom to it. The four memory-remixing puzzles included are amazing ideas, yet I wish there were more. The controls in them are terrible and they aren’t really “puzzles” considering the solution is always right in front of your eyes, so on second thought I guess only having four was a good thing because I immensely enjoyed them and if there was any more the flaws would have actually been apparent to me. If there ever is a sequel to Remember Me, which Capcom really should do, then I hope they add more memory-remixing puzzles and make them more open-ended while fixing the controls.
There are a few upgrades you gain in this game, but they all feel like filler such as a machine that lets you unlock doors. Why must I go through two button presses to unlock a door? There are also a few puzzles other than the memory-remixing ones in this game, but they are all forgettable and also feel like filler.
My final complaint with Remember Me is that it feels pretentious. Now, how can a game exactly feel pretentious? Well, for one, Remember Me seems to think it is like the Charles Dickens or Shakespeare of video games, with monologues (that feel like plot summary), allegories, and metaphors. These are the moments that really made me cringe, and did often ruin my enjoyment of the game.
Now, to end this review on a happier note, I want to say what is one of the best parts of Remember Me which will certainly make it a cult classic in a few decades: the music and art. This game looks stunning, as I mentioned earlier, but it sounds even better. I rarely check the concept art of a game or look up the soundtrack on youtube, but this game made me do both of those things. The tracks start off with a rather typical orchestral beat, but soon mix with an electro beat that gives it a stunning feel and perfectly captures the theme of the game. Remember Me is a game that I will certainly remember for a long time, just with the gameplay parts hopefully deleted from my mind (God, reading that out loud really makes me cringe).