"Joking aside, Remember Me’s premise won’t win any awards for originality, but its beautiful visuals and occasionally brilliant concepts may be enough to warrant a playthrough."
If Remember Me is any indication of what our distant future looks like, then I’m glad I won’t be alive long enough to see it. It’s 2084 in Neo-Paris, a time when memories are as interchangeable as I-Tunes tracks. A massive corporation called Memorize (really?…“Memorize?”) has invented a new brain implant that allows people to share their memories on the net. Sensen, or the Sensation Engine, allows Memorize to control most citizens, turning Neo-Paris into an Orwellian state. As expected, a small rebellious group is formed in hopes of bringing the industry giant down. They are called….are you ready… Errorists. And here, my dear readers, we have a game that doesn’t even bother with creative titling. Joking aside, Remember Me’s premise won’t win any awards for originality, but its beautiful visuals and occasionally brilliant concepts may be enough to warrant a playthrough.
The game opens with our hero Nilin waking up imprisoned in the Bastille Fortress. As you might have guessed from the numerous trailers, her memory has been wiped and she sets out to hunt down whoever’s responsible. Nilin is special in that she can “remix” memories (very much like the movie Inception). This allows her to change people’s minds by going inside their head, tweaking things in the environment, and changing the outcome of certain situations. Being able to turn enemies into allies sounds great on paper, but the execution doesn’t emphasize the concept’s potential.
"The platforming is outright embarrassing. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this much handholding in a game."
There are only a few remix scenarios in the entire game. While the memory plays out like a cut-scene, you use your analog stick to fast-forward and rewind the event while manipulating available objects in certain patterns to trigger changes. At first, it’s really fun to see the many ways a scene can play out, but you soon realize that success is only achieved by a very specific combination of triggers, so the entire task becomes nothing but a series of trials and errors.
Even with the dissatisfying execution, the memory altering sequences are the highlights of the game. The rest is all about third person fighting and linear platforming. The platforming is outright embarrassing. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this much handholding in a game. Every ledge, every ladder, and absolutely every fucking object has an arrow hovering above it. Like a dog, you’re chasing after yellow glowing markers through extremely linear environments that allow NO room for exploration. Why? Why did they do this? Why was the entire game designed like a giant tutorial?
The combat starts out quite fun. Nilin moves like a gymnast and chaining combos successfully can be very satisfying. Combos are customizable, allowing you to create diverse button combinations with power boosting attributes. You can use health modifiers, charge modifiers, and strength modifiers to mix and match your fighting styles. You can also pause the action with the left shoulder button and select a special move that can get you out of a tight situation.
"Your combos are constantly interrupted and the entire system becomes pretty much useless. All you’re left with is a 3-4 hit combo before you have to dodge or you're attacked from literally every direction."
Unfortunately, this great system also falls flat on its face. Combos are easily interrupted by enemy attacks. In the earlier stages, this is not a big problem. You can effortlessly dodge surrounding enemies and quickly resume chaining your hits. However, thirty minutes later and you’re facing hordes of enemies around every corner. Your combos are constantly interrupted and the entire system becomes pretty much useless. All you’re left with is a 3-4 hit combo before you have to dodge or you're attacked from literally every direction…and you have to deal with the same fighting maneuvers over and over, and over…and over…
Some gamers might be more tolerant than others, but considering that we’re nearing the end of a generation, these types of gameplay flaws are inexcusable. Luckily, the visuals are so beautiful…you might even forget you’re playing a broken game. The concept artists that crafted this world should be applauded for their efforts. There is so much detail and life around every corner…it’s truly spectacular. It’s a shame then that each level is so claustrophobically linear, you always feel like you’re walking in a straight line. Such wasted potential…such wasted talent.
"By the time you’re done with this 8-9 hour journey you’ll wonder why the same kind of effort that went into the visuals wasn’t dedicated towards the gameplay and narrative."
Remember Me wants to be memorable (see what I did there?). It wants to entice players with its gorgeous aesthetics, it wants to be immersive by introducing a strong female lead…it wants to leave a mark on the gaming world, but unfortunately stumbles in most key areas. Remember Me wants to do a lot of things but doesn’t know how to put them together. Good ideas can only go so far…and this futuristic action brawler is filled with them, but each seemingly exciting concept malfunctions under the weight of its own ambitions. By the time you’re done with this 8-9 hour journey you’ll wonder why the same kind of effort that went into the visuals wasn’t dedicated towards the gameplay and narrative. In the end, Remember Me is a big tease…one that hints at a great game hidden somewhere underneath thick layers of poor gameplay designs and half-assed writing. It’s a shame really, because Nilin’s potential never fully shines through.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC