Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment / Publisher: Capcom / Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC / Price: $59.99 / Release Date: June 4, 2013 / ESRB: Mature
We live in a wonderful age: navigation is a quick phone input to have a voice graciously direct you to a destination (with no added snarkiness), and food deliveries are only a click away. Constant internet connectivity has given us a world where social interactivity can be experienced anywhere, at anytime. These are just a few samples of the many ways technology benefits society today, and it’s an aspect DONTNOD turns on its head to demonstrate where digital dependency can go terribly wrong.
Our previous coverage of Remember Me eloquently introduced us to Nilin’s struggles as a former corporate memory hunter on a quest to fight those who have turned the future into a bleak nightmare, and to find her true self among the wreckage that is her mind. In 2084, the citizens of the once-beautiful French capital have accepted the comforts of advanced technology in exchange for a lost of personal freedom — there is no concept of privacy. MEMORIZE is the corporation behind SenSen, the technology that allows everyone to upload and download memories, giving this company powerful control over the population. Happy memories are like drugs, and MEMORIZE controls the supply. Nilin won’t stand for this, and in the portions of the game I played (roughly 50% of the finished product) she makes it an interesting journey.
Remember Me is a third-person action adventure game, with an equal balance of platforming and combat. As an Errorist (haha, get it?), Nilin faces soldiers, mutants, and robots everywhere she goes — and she travels quite a bit — as she slowly regains bits of her memories that help her defeat her foes, all while guided by the leader of the rebellion, Edge. The more Nilin fights, the more moves she’s able to recall and the more combos become available in the Combo Lab.
The Combo Lab is where the player can create — you guessed it — combos, customizing them to fit your play style (a surprisingly simple mechanic to grasp thanks to the game’s measured introduction to it). Using pressens, special types of moves that help Nilin in different ways, serve as the lifeblood of the game. For example, power pressens deal more damage versus regen pressens restore Nilin’s health. Combine these two pressens in a combo to hit enemies hard while simultaneously gaining health when the combo is complete.
Apart from your customized combos are S-pressens, a separate wheel of powers you can use to gain the upper hand in a tough battle. If enemies overwhelm you, use DOS to stun the herd. If there are robots giving you a hard time, the power RIP will turn one into an ally. Or you can use your Spammer, a glove serving as a ranged weapon to shoot enemies too far away to melee. Conversely, you may not need any of these moves; hit an enemy with several combos and the option to overload an opponent pops up: an attack that completely obliterates your enemy’s brain.
There’s a dynamic combo display at the bottom of the screen that demonstrates your button combinations to help you complete a combo, but throughout my playthrough it felt like a mechanic that simultaneously worked yet hindered the combat. At first the fighting feels a bit sluggish: button presses aren’t registered as fast as you can input them. Thankfully the fighting pace picks up by episode two, but there’s still something off about it, a characteristic the game’s camera doesn’t help with either. Often times I found myself struggling to keep my eye on specific enemies because the camera wanted to center itself or focus on something it deemed significant.
The camera even hampered the platforming, which there’s quite a bit of in Remember Me. In my five to six hours with the game, I made my way out of a gutter full of leapers (mutants) to an impoverished neighborhood to the upper-class level followed by a prison, all by climbing pipes and jumping on unstable roofs. There were times I was lost because the camera decided not to shift enough to the side to show me the arrow notification pointing to my next objective.
Nilin is a unique memory hunter, in that she has the ability to alter memories. After watching a memory play out as it truly occurred, you can rewind it (by rotating the left analog). As you’re viewing the footage backward you may notice some distortions; these are called memory fluxes, objects you can alter to change the outcome of the memory. It is a bit tedious to constantly rotate the analog stick, but it’s excusable given the puzzle elements involved in memory remixing. What may seem obvious to move the first time around may actually kill the wrong individual in the memory, or just make for a funny outcome.
All that said, none of the aforementioned complaints were ultimately frustrating nor took away from the more intriguing parts of Remember Me: the world. A futuristic dystopia where technology has destroyed luscious cities yet concurrently co-exists in everyday life is captivating. There are virtual notifications all over (think what Google Glass wants to be), robot parts are littered at every corner, the former husks of those who indulged in too many memory trips are the shadows of the slums, and environmental visual and audio glitches make it all so ominous. I want to know more about Nilin’s world, and how its inhabitants manage to cope with their surroundings.
Remember Me is slated for June 4th, a week before this year’s highly anticipated E3. Despite some grievances on the combat and camera, the game still shows promise and should remain on everyone’s radar. I’m curious to see where Nilin’s journey takes her, and am now fearful for Google’s imminent Google Glass laser eye surgeries and Facebook’s “always on” brain chip.