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Review: Remember MeCapcom DONTNOD Entertainment action
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Platform: 360, PS3, PC
Release Date: June 4, 2013
ESRB: M for Mature
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game
Will gamers remember Remember Me years in the future? It’s a hard question to answer considering many will never play it due to some early reviews that christened it as being purely average. Then again, those who have not seen the reviews are likely unaware of the game at all considering Capcom’s intense reticence to advertise the game at all. For those that do pick the game up and give it a chance they will find an interesting little action title, although it does fall short of its peers.
Remember Me stars a woman by the name of Nilin - a memory hunter. Or, at least she was before she had her own memories wiped. As the whole story hinges on her memories it is the perfect starting point as players are as in the dark about things as she is. Overall, the story is a neat little thing although there are some seriously ham-fisted segments. Players may like or dislike the slight contemplative air of Nilin's thoughts between levels but at least it fits in with the narrative as a whole.
What does the gameplay offer? The vast majority pivots between platforming and action segments where you’re forced to beat up on a slew of enemies. As far as the platforming is concerned it’s a fairly standard experience. There are no massive Uncharted-style set pieces but it’s serviceable. The game even dots the paths players should take with orange arrows if you get lost. Although this can be helpful in a pinch, it also takes away their own need to explore. Why search other sections if the path is pointed out for you?
Engaging in fist fights is one way that the game tries to distance itself from existing titles. Nilin is a skilled fighter but is not restricted to a certain set of combos. Instead, players craft their own combos for her in a menu. These attacks, unlocked through play, designate which buttons are pushed as well how as successful attacks benefit the player. Some will restore health while others work to speed up the cooldown of special attacks known as S-Pressens.
S-Pressens are unlocked in due time and there are only a few of them in all. Each has a specific use such as one that makes an enemy robot fight for you before exploding. Another makes Nilin go invisible for 30 seconds which she can use to take down an annoying enemy in one strategic hit. Most of the time they are not necessary to use but there are instances where fights will be much harder if you don’t know which S-Pressen will make quick work of things. Of course, by the end there are segments where they are required to implement in fights.
Although the idea of customizing combos is novel, it isn’t particularly interesting. I was able to get through the game with a few very simple combos simply because each one restored one aspect of Nilin’s well being. One was set to all healing attacks, with another on S-Pressen recharge speed, and another for stronger attacks. Fans of fighting games may take more time to craft their combos but the average gamer is unlikely to revise their combos very much.
Exploring the environment isn’t a very exciting aspect of the game either. Although it does look very attractive, the futuristic world also appears to be one very long path with some slight room for variance. When presented with Neo-Paris, you want to explore beyond the beaten path. Unfortunately, there is very little out there aside from some collectible content and other bonuses. It’s a shame because the world seems like it would benefit from more exploratory action at the hands of the player.
A few puzzles were even thrown in but these are rather simplistic for the most part. In fact, only three puzzles which make use of wordplay riddles might cause hang ups for some players. Regardless, the game is always willing to offer hints if you’re willing to look which means you’re likely never stuck for long. There is another form of puzzle in Remember Me and it occurs when you enter the memories of a character.
Memory remixing is by far the standout aspect of Remember Me. Players must visit a memory someone holds in their mind and alter it so their current state is different from what it otherwise was. For example, if you make them guilty of something terrible in their memory they will then become filled with guilt in the current day. The idea is interesting and the execution is fantastic.
When in a memory, it first plays like a video before you can take control. Once you’re empowered, the player must rewind and fastforward the memory to figure out things they can change to cause the desired chain of events. There are always a handful of ways to change a memory and some of the possible variables lead to the wrong conclusion. Still, it’s fun to see how much variation each memory has and what terrible results you can force out of a single memory. Unfortunately, there are only four memory remixing sequences in the game - one of which is a rehash of a previous event. Considering this is the most highly touted aspect of Remember Me, it is quite a shame it wasn’t used more often.
One playthrough takes around ten to fifteen hours and a bulk of it is spent hammering away at enemies. Although the game certainly isn’t broken, these aspects aren’t particularly fun either. They work but it feels like the title would have been better served by focusing on what makes it unique. Contorting memories as the main form of gameplay would have been incredibly interesting and was probably ignored simply because the majority gaming audience doesn’t want “puzzle games”. What a shame.
The experience provided by Remember Me is refreshing for its experimentation but not the best specimen of an action game out there. This is unfortunate because there are elements of the game which make it very interesting to experiment with, but there just aren’t enough of these moments to lift up Remember Me as a whole. Still, it may be worth embarking on Nilin’s quest to get a taste of innovative play in an otherwise triple-A title.
+ Attractive world that you wish would be more open to exploration
+ Compelling lead character Nilin sells the narrative
+ Memory remixing is quite fun
- Changing combos isn’t necessary once you find your favorite moves
- Fairly linear world with similarly linear platforming
Overall Score: 7.0 (out of 10)
Remember Me is not a memorable experience as a whole. Instead, you'll remember it for the moments when the game shines as an experimental product that could only release near the end of a console generation.
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