Review by DarkSymbiote

"It's best left forgotten"

Remember Me, Dontnod Entertainment's first game began creation back in 2008 as "Adrift". But eventually, creative direction shifted to the theme of memory. Inspired by social networking websites of all things, boasting a fresh artistic approach and a new female protagonist. Apparently, the female-ness of the game detracted some publishers but the developers were adamant with their story and didn't want to give in. Capcom picked it up (don't worry, they didn't make it) and the game finally had a future. Does Dotnod deliver on their cyberpunk adventure, or do we get nothing than more than an over-"artistic" developer failing to deliver?

Story

The power to take what someone is - their memories - and bend them to my will.

Out star, Nilin, is a so-called Memory Hunter. These people fight against the evil cyberpunk corporation in futuristic Paris called Neo-Paris. No, they couldn't come up with something more creative, so they added neo-. Nilin's lost her memory and is escorted by the La Resistance leader Edge via radio. Her goal is to take down the Memorize corporation who has gotten the entire population addicted to Sensen. Basically, it allows people to upload and share their memories as well as remove unhappy ones. Of course, Memorize is evil and Sensen is obviously a bad thing. It's odd people in the story are so oblivious to it. Toss in some poor exposition too.

Nilin's someone who doesn't do much to forward the plot. She just takes order from Edge and considering her amnesia she's far too willing to just rise up and fight for a man she never met face to face. Speaking of Edge, he is an oddity. It's never explained how he recruited people for his resistance and the plot twist involving him can be seen from a mile away. The other plot twist is downright stupid and unbelievable. Each episode begins with a famous stock quote and, naturally, Nietzsche's springs up. Supposedly, there was some war sometime ago but that isn't explained. You can pick up notes granting more knowledge on the world but who would want to read so much text in such a short game?

Design and Gameplay

I could do with a guide.

Remember Me doesn't do anything new save for one feature. We'll get to that. The major method of traversing Neo-Paris is platforming. And just like most "platforming" sections these days, they are far too easy and requires almost no skill. But Remember Me's platforming is offensive on a whole new level. The game essentially tells you exactly where you need to go via markers and the camera is fixed during these parts. Deviation is very rare. What's worse is that, more often than not, you can't go back the way you came even though there is no object separating you from your goal. So be prepared to miss out on health and energy upgrades even though sign boards are scattered just to let you know where they are placed. They were better of leaving this section of gameplay to cutscenes because there is very little point of platforming other than to pad out the length. Perhaps the developers are so pretentious they feel gamers are absolutely brain dead unless there is fighting going on.

When it does come to fighting, Remember Me is a poor take on the Arkham games' sublime combat. You'll be able to customise combos with specific Pressens if you will. These have status bonuses and the game seems deep when it comes to this. It is till you jump into a fight. The enemies jump on you constantly but Nilin's too slow with her punches and kicks. Comboing is a pain with two different buttons, memorisation and the small window to continue your combo. It's stupid enough that you can't continue your combo from enemy to enemy and dodging breaks your combo unless you do a very specific jump over an enemy's shoulder and even then you would be lucky to get a hit in during the more crowded fights. It doesn't help that new Pressens and combo lines unlock far too slowly. There is no way to get more experience or PMP unless you do the very long combos all the time or hunt down bug-like things that feed on latent memory... The camera is atrocious and aiming at enemies with your spammer is a pain. The thing probably wasn't even play-tested. It's easier to aim guns in real life. And speaking of life, the screen does an unpleasant glitchy effect when you're low on health. This is grossly annoying and makes simple fights dodge fests. To help you, there are some additional powers that Nilin remembers whenever she feels like it. You need Focus to perform these and you gain Focus by beating down on enemies or by getting hurt yourself. Too bad your entire Focus gauge is depleted after a death. The game also has a nasty habit of constantly reminding you to perform your combos and blatantly letting you know what an enemy's weakpoint is.

Enemy design is totally mediocre. There are some fast mutated simple minded hostiles called Leapers, variations of Leapers who become invisible or stronger by feeding off memories... or something, no-so-fancy robots and uninteresting guards in armour with batons but no guns. Later in the game these guards come in armour that damage you all the time even if you resort to the spammer. It's incredibly cheap. The most hilarious aspect of the game are the big, brutish security robots who project a holographic jaw when they let out a roar and when they trash talk by comparing blood and oil. It's hard to believe the developers found this intimidating.

The best and original part of the game are the memory remixing segments. You're presented with a person's memory and you'll be tasked with with altering his or her memory as per instructions. You'll rewind and play and stop at precise "memory glitches" to alter precise events. Unfortunately there are only a few of these moments and it's not fully realised with the goal only being possible trough one distinct path. It's still a nice implementation in an otherwise unimpressive game.

Finally, the Aug-Eye helps you with directions and puzzles. By help, it means that it gives you the entire answer if you linger long enough. Though, one of the puzzles does have a confusing solution.

Visulas

Everything's here. You only need to look.

The game's artistic direction is its strongest department. Considering it's an Unreal Engine game, it looks quite different. Sadly there is some minor texture pop-in but the close ups looks good even though there is some odd use of a grain filter at times. It does have those stupid future looks such as funny clothing and creepy looking robots. The use of FMV for a couple of scenes is a strange choice bearing in mind of the game's unique looks.

Audio

Yeah. Ok. Enough of the running commentary, thank you!

Disappointingly, the audio isn't that great. Olivier Deriviere's score isn't particularly memorable aside from aside from a certain female vocal that lasts for a few seconds. It's somewhat electronic that doesn't begin or end well. When your doing well with combos sometimes a horrible techno track pops up. It goes away as soon as your hit. It's a bit jarring to say the list. The sound effects are decent but Nilin's attacks lack feedback.

As far as the voices are concerned, they are serviceable at best and amateurish and melodramatic at worst. The direction is definitely partly to blame.

Pros:

- Unique art style
- Memory remixing
- Nilin is not a femme fatale stereotype

Cons:

- Awful combat
- Platforming is not rewarding
- The plot is stupid (for the lack of a better word)

Final verdict

Your despair will be my fortune.

Remember Me would be a total unforgettable experience if it weren't for the art. That and memory remixing are the only good parts of the game. Neo-Paris doesn't feel very lively, the story could have been much better, the combat is a total failure and almost one-third of the game would have been better off in auto-pilot. Pick this one up only if your tired of generic protagonists and dull looking games.

Rating: 5.5


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 06/14/13

Game Release: Remember Me (US, 06/04/13)


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