It’s genuinely surprising, but in 2013 there are still a very small amount of games featuring a female in the lead role.
Even early in its development cycle, Remember Me faced an uphill struggle when it was being pitched to different publishers with its game protagonist, Niln.
Still, it made it through and is now being published by one of the world’s biggest. Question is, was it worth the effort?
Developer: Don’tNod Entertainment
Release Date: June 7th
Format: Xbox 360/PS3/PC
Version Tested: Xbox 360
Remember Me is a third person action/adventure. It’s from a brand new studio. It’s a brand new IP. The bets are all against it. This year has already had some extremely good releases, so there’s a lot of pressure on this title from the off.
But skip this one at your peril. Remember Me is one of the most interesting new titles we’ve seen in 2013.
The story focuses on Niln, a Memory Hunter with extraordinary, unique abilities. She starts the game having her memory wiped, and it is up to the player to recollect those memories. A mysterious voice contacts Niln before she is completely wiped. His name is Edge. Apparently he knew Niln well before she was in this predicament and the things he says start to make sense to her. She’s been captured by a megalomaniac corporation, Memorize and lives in a world addicted to technology (sound familiar, right?). Niln starts to remember being a Memory Hunter, and was granted the unique ability to remix people’s memories. She was part of a revolution fighting back against Memorize, but was rounded up and captured.
However, she also starts to recognise that Edge may not be all he seems and starts to question the things he asks her to do. It’s up to the player to work out who to trust and who to avoid, all the while, jumping between ledges, stealing memories to learn key information, avoiding wild gunfire and using the unique Combo Lab to fend off the opposition.
Many have questioned the narrative of Remember Me, but I neither found myself baffled or lost. In fact, I found the narrative to be among some of Capcom’s best in recent memory. Still, the voice acting is slightly questionable on occassion, even that of the game’s lead. Delivery is everything when trying to explain an unfamiliar scenario to a player and Remember Me gets it wrong as much as it gets it right.
Remember Me is a conflicted animal, though. The game does present several camera issues (a not uncommon complaint for third person action/adventures) and sometimes it’s difficult to gauge a distance between jumps because the camera is fixed at an awkward spot. Likewise, sometimes you can’t see properly through a wall if you need to clamber between ledges.
The game is also plagued with loading screens. Dying is the worst mistake you’ll make in Remember Me, because you’ll literally be sat waiting (close to a minute on rare occassions) for the game to get itself back to the previous point. These loading screens also play a part when switching between chapters. Basically, you’ll be dealing with them more often than you’d like and in an age where seamless games are becoming increasingly popular, it makes the game feel clunky and even dated.
The game even hard froze on one occassion for no apparent reason. I know these things happen, but they irk me nonetheless.
Still, the game is powered by creative ideas which I want to see more of in future titles. Remixing memories is a creative new way of puzzle-solving in games. Players are tasked with changing people’s recollections of events. For instance, an enemy may remember their partner walking out of their life after a brutal argument. If that person presents a threat to Niln, she can remix their memories so that the individual actually thinks they killed their partner. Naturally, this will completely change their frame of mind and the type of individual they are.
Remixing memories is accomplished by re-enacting the events as an overseer and tweaking objects within the scene. For instance, if you move a coffee table in a slightly different direction, the enemy will trip up over it, or if you take a gun off safety then firing it will obviously have fatal consequences. Unfortunately, remixing memories doesn’t play as much of a role in Remember Me as I would have liked, but when these sequences pop up, I found myself grinning like a chesire cat.
Don’t Nod have also included a Combo Creator system which sort of works and sort of doesn’t. To be honest, you’ll find yourself repeating the same moves over again, but it’s the result of those actions that makes things interesting. Players can customise a combo trail to make it so every hit delivered will heal a portion of their health. In fact, they could infuse the entire combo trail with healing properties. However, the game encourages players to structure a combo with a variation of what is known as Pressens.
There are four types of Pressen. One has healing qualities, but others also offer increased power, chained attacks and a cooldown of power energy. There are several special attacks Niln can use but they can only be used once every few minutes. Adding Cooldown Pressen in your combo means that these special attacks have a reduced cooldown rate. Similarly, chain attacks actually double the effect and competency of the previous hit in the combo and power obviously doubles the damage Niln deals when striking.
The Combo Lab is a clever way of giving the game some increased lifespan and will hopefully encourage players to adapt their fighting strategies as they approach combat.
What’s more, the game looks great. This world is distinct and elegant, yet strikes familiar chords in anyone who has dreamed of a neon-lit future. The cast of characters are memorable. The enemies intimidating and the backdrops are jaw-dropping. Don’t Nod have worked painstakingly hard to create an Intellectual Property that will recognisable for its own merits, rather than a clutter of nods and winks to the greatest sci-fi stories known to humanity.
Remember Me is not as bad as you might have heard. Not at all. It’s an extremely brave game from a new studio and it takes necessary risks in a genre that has started to become stagnant and predictable.
Does it iron everything out perfectly and is it presented in the best possible way? Absolutely not. However, the story and mechanics brought to life in Remember Me absolutely deserve to be remembered by both the industry and consumers alike.
An ambitious, inventive debut that should be celebrated for its accomplishments and not forgotten about for some of its minor technical shortcomings.