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Remember Me Review

Posted by Joel Guttenberg On Tuesday 9 July 2013Comments Off

Available on 360, PS3 and PC l Published by Capcom l Developed by Dontnod Entertainment l Classified M l Supports 1 players

REVIEW IN BRIEF > Remember Me takes place in a dystopian future version of Paris. Memory manipulation forms an innovative part of the gameplay and also provides the driver for the story. The game has a strong focus on acrobatic and martial arts skills, the latter used to defeat some tough opponents. The art design and music are highlights, while the unreliable camera and some repetitiveness detract a little from the experience. This novel science fiction adventure, like its protagonist, does not often the miss the mark.

REVIEW IN FULL > Remember Me starts with a young woman named Nilin waking up in a stark, clinical facility, after her memory has been wiped. Here she is contacted by a mysterious revolutionary called Edge who assists with her escape. As a former ace memory hunter, Nilin is coached into taking the fight to the Memorize Corporation, which is responsible for the dystopia in which Paris finds itself. The Sensation Engine, or Sensen, is the invention that has led to all the strife. Although people can now get rid of unpleasant memories or experience new ones through the device, the streets and underground areas are populated with memory addicts, some of whom have mutated and developed nasty abilities.

…expert timing is required to avoid elements such as spinning fan blades or electric shocks from exposed wires.

The game is set in Paris, 2084, and is reminiscent of movies like Blade runner and games like Deus Ex, except that it offers loving glimpses of icons such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph in the backgrounds. Further images of Paris are evoked with environments such as cafés and coffee shops, but for the most part the action could be taking place in any future city, subway or sewer system. Regardless, the game does look crisp and shiny when it needs to and dark and gritty for the subterranean environments. Characters all animate smoothly and Nilin shows off her acrobats and mixed martial arts skills without skipping a beat. The sound and music are highlights, particularly the music. It’s a punchy mix of synthesisers and orchestral elements and appropriate pieces play at exciting points in the game. If you get a chance, look for the track, Nilin the Memory Hunter.

The bulk of the gameplay involves Nilin clambering up walls and drain pipes, shimmying along ledges, vaulting over obstacles and performing other gymnastic feats that make the term, ‘platforming’, seem pedestrian in other games. This mechanic is simple to use and Nilin’s destination is highlighted with little chevrons, so it’s very seldom that the way forward is unclear. A little desperation is added to this mechanic when objects break as Nilin traverses them. At other points, expert timing is required to avoid elements such as spinning fan blades or electric shocks from exposed wires. One of the best sequences involves a frantic escape from an enemy in a small aerial gunship. Manoeuvring Nilin up, over, around and through obstacles while the gunship blows apart the environment is quite a thrilling piece of gameplay.

Another major aspect of Remember Me is its customisable combo system. Players use the ‘Combo Lab’ to populate several templates with various combat moves or ‘Presens’. Each Presen belongs to a martial arts style and produces a specific effect when its corresponding button is pressed. The four Presen effects include power attacks, health regeneration, special move timer cool down and a chain function for bigger combos. This system allows users to tailor their attacks based on their play preferences and the type of enemy they’re currently facing. A dodge move is an essential part of Nilin’s skills and allows her to take on large groups of enemies, potentially without getting a scratch on her.

In addition to these regular Presens, Nilin also has an arsenal of S-Presens, or special moves which can use used to disrupt enemy cloaks, control androids, or even unleash a flurry of attacks to quickly take down large groups. Finally, as the game progresses, Nilin will acquire several ranged weapons which are critical to overcome certain types of adversary and are also used to solve a number of puzzles and obstacles over the course of the game.

Battles are often fought in enclosed areas where the camera can get in the way and make the experience a little frustrating.

During her adventure Nilin will face tough security guards, wild leapers (mutated Sensen memory addicts) and various androids. The enemies all behave differently and some require special tactics or moves to defeat. For example, some get huge buffs whenever other opponents are the field, so Nilin needs to defeat the rabble first before tackling these tougher combatants. Battles are often fought in enclosed areas where the camera can get in the way and make the experience a little frustrating.

Enemy AI is nothing too special. Most will simply rush Nilin, although some will attempt to corner and surround her. Other enemies will circle and charge using special moves. Some of the leapers will jump onto walls and need to be dislodged with projectiles before they can be engaged. Nilin also faces a few challenging bosses over the course of the game. They tend to have massive health bars, usually in three segments and change up their attacks as each segment is destroyed. The boss battles are fun, but do wear a bit as they drag on. Some foes require quick time events to defeat. Unfortunately the prompts for the quick time events appear inside the game world, rather than simply onscreen. In some instances these can be difficult to see until some camera fiddling reveals their location.

At several points in the game, Nilin gets to use her special ability to remix people’s memories so that they recall a different outcome for some key event, and then behave differently, usually to further Edge’s cause. These sequences are quite fun. They involve watching an event play out, and then fast forwarding or rewinding it to find glitches that can change details in the memory. The memories are played out in a floating, digital looking world and key characters and objects fade into being as the subject remembers what happened. Nilin can make changes such as repositioning items, turning electronics on or off, or something like disengaging the safety switch on a pistol. Certain combinations of glitches might result in the death of subject, so Nilin then needs to try to remix the memory again, until a specific outcome is obtained. Players may find themselves wishing that there were more of these novel sequences in the game.

Apart from the camera issues and ‘Where’s Waldo’ quick time events, there isn’t much to detract from the experience. Some of the environments aren’t as interactive as they could be. Neo Paris would feel a lot more lifelike if it could be explored. The campaign also feels a little short. Overall, though, Dontnod has succeeded in making Remember Me into a great little action game. Despite being a worthwhile offering, it seems to be quickly disappearing from view. On your next trip to the store, remember to pick up a copy.

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