Remember Me tells the story of Nilin, a memory hunter who boasts the unique skill of being able to manipulate or ‘remix’ memories. While Nilin makes for a fantastic protagonist, both savvy and sympathetic, the bevvy of side characters and allies/enemies are mostly misses at most. Remember Me is too obsessed with it’s technology-heavy setting, and digs it’s own grave trying to create ‘hip’ or ‘cool’ characters that would fit into the setting of a futuristic Paris (Neo-Paris). Names like Bad Request and Edge made me groan, and the plot isn’t that engaging as a whole. Dialogue is usually reduced to speaking over comms, and while Nilin’s VA is more than good, the dialogue itself isn’t very interesting. Remember Me doesn’t jump on it’s interesting and original concept, and the story suffers from that.
In terms of presentation on a purely surface level, Remember Me nails it for the most part. Whilst the setting of Neo-Paris isn’t realized to it’s full potential, the game looks great, and the technology-ravaged atmosphere is a delight to absorb. When walking down a street, vendors display their goods, and pop-up signs detail what vendor sells what, in a delightfully appropriate twist in the standard display. The mix of modern and futuristic is something that is really intriguing, and while the interaction fails miserably, on a surface level this game is beautiful. Of course when you start digging deeper, Remember Me starts to fall apart…
Gameplay is of course the crux of a game, and it’s on a sad note I have to say that Remember Me does not reach the highs set by it’s presentation and setting. Gameplay for the most part is reduced to an ‘Arkham’ style of combat (the Rocksteady Batman games in reference here, setting the bar for fluid and responsive combat), where you hit face buttons to attack and dodge when indicated. Surprising here is a lack of a parry button, forcing you to evade for the most part, which kinda breaks the flow of combat a little.
To throw a sense of creativity and variety into the mix, Remember Me employs the use of a ‘combo lab’. This allows you to potentially create your own combos in the lab, unlockable through combat earning PMP (Procedural Mastering Power) utilizing the face buttons and a mix of ‘Pressens’. Pressens are fighting moves that the player can organize in a combo that have different effects upon hitting an enemy, namely extra damage, health regeneration, chaining combos into more powerful ones and cooling down of special abilities. Special Pressens, or S-Pressens are abilities that turn the tide of battle, like hitting harder and faster, or stunning enemies. While the combo lab is definitely a nice idea, it lacks depth and the potential to create gamebreaking combos is too easy. Projectile weapons exist purely as whittling down cannon fodder, or solving puzzles.
Platforming is also something of a failure. While the graphics are gorgeous, the platforming is painfully linear and simplistic. While sections do throw a spanner into the works by introducing outside elements to throw you off the platforms (so to speak), there is always an indicator that tells you where to go. This indicator cannot be removed (as far as I’m aware) and it’s infuriating to think that the developer assumes we, the player, aren’t able to figure out the already painfully linear path ourselves, without throwing an indicator into the mix. This sort of gameplay I have never enjoyed, whether it’s Uncharted or Tomb Raider, it doesn’t challenge me as a player and it isn’t very fun to participate in. Nilin also, as a memory hunter, ‘steals’ memories from people in order to bypass obstacles, for example stealing someone’s memory of a layout of a minefield to successfully traverse the field. This sounds interesting in concept, but amounts to little more than ‘follow the leader’, albeit with a sci-fi twist.
On the plus side, I’d like to end the gameplay section on a positive note, memory remixing is hands down the BEST part of Remember Me, and if there is a sequel (which I sorely hope for), I would LOVE to see more memory remixing segments implemented. Sadly, there are less than a handful of these sequences, which showcases Nilin’s skills as a memory hunter/remixer, and involve the player manipulating memories in order to trick the person they’re enforcing it on to remember things incorrectly or differently. The way this transitions into gameplay is both incredibly fun and memorable, and while they usually resort to trial and error, it was an absolute joy to play one of these segments and see what I had to do to change the memory, and what I did wrong/right. Memory remixing is easily one of the highlights of this game and despite the bland platforming and combat, it’s just refreshing to see that such an original concept is pulled off so well.
Remember Me is a mixed bag. Not because of it’s female lead character, or the colour of her skin, or the lack of outright violence. To suggest that Remember Me fails because of those fronts is downright ignorant and sexist. I want Remember Me to succeed the same reason I want games like Mirror’s Edge or Beyond Good and Evil to succeed. Because they’re rare original gems in a cesspool of sequels and reboots. To see Neo-Paris move to an open world, to redefine the gameplay and combo lab, to open up platforming, and to throw in a more tightly wound story and more memory remixing segments would make a potential sequel one of the best things I would play. However, what we have now is good. Remember Me is a good game, and while it stumbles many times to the finish line, it can triumphantly stand as an original and unique game.