June 11, 2013
Taking place in a rather futuristic version of Paris called Neo-Paris, Remember Me has you take control of an elite memory hunter called Nilin. The only issue is that she's... lost her memory.
As you play through the game, you'll learn more about Nilin's past, but also why the world has become so corrupt due to the ability for people to control their memories. You'll also learn the true power of memory hunters, which leads to a rather interesting gameplay mechanic that you'll get to experience a few times throughout the game.
The story is well crafted from a technical perspective, but there's something about it that stops it from melding that well over the entire game. Things happen that seem like they "should", but by the end it felt a little bit unsatisfying. Nihil was a good protagonist, but it's a shame she didn't have more conviction. It's understandable given her lack of memory, but she seems to take a lot on blind faith.
At its core, Remember Me is a classic beat 'em up game. It follows a fairly linear structure where you'll got through platforming sections for a bit, where a small amount of story might be divulged, and then end up in a closed fight "arena". At this point you'll either have to tackle some generic enemies or take on a more difficult boss.
Nothing out of this sounds all that inspiring - this kind of thing has been done before. Where Remember Me tries to separate itself though, is through the addition of something called a Pressen. Throughout the course of the game you will unlock four main combos that you can perform. On the surface, this doesn't sound like that many, but the inclusion of Pressens makes them rather dynamic as you can change what each step of a particular combo does.
It might sound a little complicated at first, but the premise is actually quite simple. Say you have a combo that involves four punches. By using Pressens, you can make each punch do a different thing. These vary from straight damage to lowering cooldowns for your S-Pressens or even increasing your health during a fight. In short, it makes the whole thing much more tactical. For example, you could to set up a mass healing combo or one that cuts your cooldowns significantly. Alternatively, you could choose to create combos that combine all of them, so you get a little bit of everything as the combo pans out. It's also worth noting that the further into a combo the Pressen is placed, the more its effect gets amplified.
As you play through the game, Nilin will remember some of her previous powers. These are called S-Pressens and are a rather different kettle of fish. Some examples are being able to go invisible and perform a stealth kill on one enemy, or stunning all of the enemies in the arena. These come at a cost though, and all have quite long cooldowns associated with them - hence the need to use the cooldown Pressen in your normal combo attacks.
Actual combat relies quite a lot on timing, as button mashing is strongly discouraged. Instead, you'll need to time your attacks in a sort of rhythm, so that they land correctly. This also means you can employ evasion to continue your combo chains if you plan it right. Unfortunately, this is one element that hinders the gameplay experience. It's understandable why this has been done, so it's more obvious what combos you're performing, but it stifles the impact the combat has. Instead of being a fast-paced, visceral experience, it instead becomes one that holds itself back.
Likewise, the platforming isn't all that great. It gets the job done, but there's very little about it that shines in any way. Still, it does serve as a nice vessel for getting you through the Neo-Paris landscape.
Perhaps the most interesting feature comes with memory remixing. Tapping into Nihil's talents as a memory hunter, this allows you to alter people's memories, so they believe something entirely different to what actually happened.
In short, you get placed into an interactive cutscene. You're shown events to start off with, then given the objective of changing them to suit your needs by manipulating small details to create a chain reaction. The interesting thing is that it's all in real-time, so you get to see what happens if things don't got to plan. This might, for example, result in one of the characters dying by accident. The only downside is that you only get to play with this a few times and you won't help thinking that the developers could have done so much more with this fantastic idea.
The game's presentation is pretty good, but the soundtrack is the stand out element here. Graphically the game isn't all that bad, but the animations are a little bit ropey sometimes. However, the music fits the scenario perfectly, blending classical elements with more electronic instrumentation.
Upon completing the game, there isn't all that much to do from the perspective of replay value. There are collectables to try and acquire, but that's about it. It's a shame there wasn't a greater incentive to play through the single-player campaign again.
Remember Me is a game that introduces some rather neat concepts, but doesn't do enough to capitalise on them. The introduction of Pressens adds a new element to this genre, while the memory remixing had some serious promise. The depth of both elements just doesn't seem enough though and with other parts of the game being decidedly average, that's all Remember Me ultimately ends up being, average.
Remember Me was reviewed on the Xbox 360. You can read more about GamingUnion.net's scoring policy here.