Nilin’s plight is entertaining and well worth experiencing.
It’s not often you get a shiny new IP towards the end of a console’s life but Capcom’s latest effort is most welcome. Boasting graphics you wouldn’t expect to see until later this year on a next gen machine, and a concept that’s both fresh and innovative, Remember Me is not quite unforgettable – but it is damn good.
Remember Me is a new third person adventure from new French studio, DONTNOD, and is a kind of amalgam of all kinds of great gaming moments. Shimmying up drainpipes and leaping across ledges is more than a little reminiscent of the Uncharted series or Enslaved, while combat seems as though lifted from Rocksteady’s Batman titles – with a little Devil May Cry thrown in for good measure. The cyberpunk undertone echoes that of Deus Ex and even the graphics and depth of field makes me think back to the days of Beneath a Steel Sky. It’s a game with many influences that also manages to be completely unique.
Set in Neo-Paris 2084, we’re introduced to an age where memories are a valuable commodity, uploaded and shared among the masses – a kind of Facebook for the mind! All this is made possible thanks to brain implants developed by all-powerful mega corporation, Memorize. Among its minions is Nilin – a “memory hunter” capable of manipulating minds and stealing those all important memories.
Thing is, we meet her shortly after she’s been betrayed by her employer and has had her own thoughts erased. The irony. It’s therefore up to us to take control of the feisty female protagonist and – with a little help from underground rebel group, the Errorists – liberate her memories while getting some revenge in the process.
We join her as she’s awoken in a laboratory, confused, alone and knowing little more than her name. It’s up to you to help her escape. Thus begins a decent tutorial showingcasing her basic skills, the various controls and giving a taste of the gorgeous graphics that permeate each and every level.
Besides the basics of movement, the introduction to the Combo Lab explains how the player can customise attack moves. By collecting XP (PMP points) and unlocking “Pressens”, we’re able to tailor streams of combos, making them as complex and as powerful as we choose; the longer the combo, the stronger it becomes.
Initially, these feel fairly tricky to pull off and button mashing proves ineffective. It’s all about getting the timings right and soon you’ll find your rhythm, striking and dodging like a pro. Even the background music reacts and helps you gauge your strikes. It’s a great system – if seemingly a little over complicated at first.
You’ll quickly unlock access to all four Pressen types: health regeneration, increased damage, chain attacks and a cooldown add on which means your special S-Pressen powers regenerate a little faster. These S-Pressens temporarily provide additional abilities, such as unleashing a powerful chain of attacks, stunning enemies or turning them against one another.
Handily you can access this Lab menu at any time to make changes, and improve your odds against your foes. Surrounded by loads of Leapers and need to despatch them quickly? Then assign loads of strike moves to your pad. Need some additional health while fighting a Skinner – apply the health Pressens. It’s a simple but effective mechanic that certainly adds a skill element to the proceedings.
Besides Pressens and S-Pressen moves, other abilities will be unlocked during your playthrough too. One particular highlight is the ability to steal memories and replay them. In practice this means you see a ghost image of your victim and how they navigate a minefield, or how they avoid robot drones. And then there’s the Spammer – a pulse-like weapon acquired after beating one of the early bosses. As you progress, this is upgraded so you can perform more powerful strikes or manipulate objects.
Stealing the show, however, is Nilin’s ability to change the future.Effectively a series of mini-games, the aim is to replay your target’s recent memories and then manipulate them to change the outcome in your favour. An early example revolves around an assassin who’s after you for a hefty bounty; the only way to prevent her from finishing you off is to infiltrate her mind. Turns out she’s only in it for the money… she needs to bump you off to pay for medical care for her husband. Aw. All you have to do – through thumbstick twiddling – is watch out for memory glitches and interact with objects that will coerce his doctor to kill him, thus ending the would-be assassin’s need for money! Clever, eh?
Sadly, there are only a few of these memory games – and they’re all pretty simple to complete. It would have been great if they’d had multiple outcomes that could alter your playthrough. As it stands, should you fail you just try again – manipulating other objects until you get the right solution. It’s an underused gem of an idea.
Remember Me is clearly a bit of a looker and the atmosphere is fantastic throughout. If you really want to experience the delights of a futuristic Paris, you can even head into the options menu, turn on the subtitles and change the audio to French! The lush colours and detail of the city, from the beautiful architecture to the water effects in the slums and sewers, are lovely to look at. A minor gripe perhaps is that the character models do seem a little less accomplished compared with the amazing backgrounds. It’s also a real shame that you can’t actually interact with much… no discussions with passing robots, you can’t purchase items from stalls and you can’t properly explore.
This was perhaps the biggest disappointment. There’s a rather strict predefined – and clearly highlighted – path, punctuated by set piece attacks by groups of bad guys. It’s no bad thing – and the story is strong – but I’d question the replayability factor if you’re not particularly bothered about mopping up all the collectibles for achievement purposes.
Camera angles can also be a sense of frustration, restricting your vision during fights and proving a little disorienting when leaping between platforms.
Some parts of the game are particularly tricky on the toughest difficulty setting and deaths and restarts become commonplace. Annoyingly, the load times take a little longer than I’d like – and this starts to grate after a while. Saying that, the combat is enjoyable – if a little repetitive – although most enemies can be beaten simply by running in circles around them and occasionally firing off your Spammer or leaping in for a quick strike or two. A bit of a cop out but highly effective.
There’s no denying that Remember Me is a great game with a strong plot. Visually, it’s very impressive and the soundtrack and dialogue is really well done. It’s certainly a game that oozes finesse. The lack of multiplayer and limited replayability perhaps works against it a little, and I can’t help but be a little disappointed that there are so few of the memory glitch mini games – especially as they were touted as one of Remember Me’s main selling points. Nevertheless, Nilin’s plight is entertaining and well worth experiencing. Don’t forget to pick up a copy.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Note: You can read our review of the PC version here. The PC version of the game was reviewed by another author hence the views may differ.
Unique idea and innovative concept. Looks amazing.
Lack of freedom, slightly repetitive combat and too few memorable moments.
A great new IP that will surely be developed in the future. Remember me is well worth a play.