I often try to avoid playing games that bring me frustration, and even if I want to write a review about it, I try to stop my playthrough after I invested two digits of time into the game. However, I only got about seven hours into Remember Me, a ten to twelve hour long game, before I became so frustrated with it that I felt that it would be a waste of my time and energy to continue playing it. Why did I feel this way? I would likely forget within the year, so here’s a review to properly articulate why I disliked this title
Remember Me Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Remember Me actually starts very strongly, focusing on the amnesiac hero, Nilin, and her quest to regain her memories while exploring the slums and high life of the late 21st century post-war reimagining of Paris. Fighting off a company who has effectively taken control of the world at large by training people to dismiss any sort of bad or negative memories and thoughts they may have in favor of pleasant and happy ones. There is actually a lot of promise in that premise alone, but for a game centered around and named after such a concept, the writing fails to give it the gravitace and attention it needs.
I was so confused about nearly every element of the story. From Nilin’s motivation, what exactly she knew or remembered at any given moment, and quite a lot about the world itself. It is a nifty little sci-fi story, but it does not bother to properly explain much of anything, from defining terms for the amnesia hero, and after a certain point fails to be interesting. I do like the idea of Nilin as a character, a terrorist who scrambles and reworks the minds of others, under the impression that the means justify the ends, regardless of how many people she kills, wounds, or traumatizes. However, the amnesiac heroine barely questions her actions, and doesn’t react with much emotion at all when she learns about her past. Well, except for when she killed one violent political figure who would have harmed the world at large. For some reason that gets to her.
The memory alteration mechanic and narrative concept is also more or less wasted. I would have honestly expected full on mind control or mental manipulation to be a central plot point, turning friends into foes, foes into friends, and using people as puppets while Nilin mused about the morality of using people as tools. However, that is not the case, and instead the story is one that manages to remain hard to follow above all else. It’s hard to follow, easy to dislike every character, and I stopped caring about the story shortly after the introduction of Kid X-Mas, a musclebound televised vigilante with a data gun, portrayed straightly.
Moving on, the combat in Remember Me is akin to the combat stylings popularized by the Batman Arkham games if it was reworked to resemble a character action game, but the team wasn’t quite sure how to make either. You are gradually given combos throughout the game, amounting to only a handful of individual movesets, I only got four, all of which can be slowly customized in regards to their properties, either focusing on damage, healing, or recharging your super moves. About halfway through you can make a damage combo, a healing combo, and a recharging combo, and only going through YXYXY in one scenario, XYYXY in another, and YYYXY in a third. The challenge comes from remembering your combos, and executing them while enemies frequently attack you, while making sure you press the next button quickly enough..
I’ll simply state that this is not fun by any stretch of the imagination, especially if you are up against a large group of enemies who will attack you a bit too often, invisible enemies, enemies who need to be shot down walls, enemies who damage you whenever you attack them, or any instance where you need to pull out your automatically recharging data-gun in combat. It is annoying above everything else, and I feel it takes up the bulk of the gameplay time. The rest of the time is divided up between simple climbing sections where you follow an orange little arrow to progress, or simply going through an environment, walking through it in hopes of finding the unnecessary 135 collectibles scattered throughout the world, or simply progressing as the story is told to you, in a manner that cannot be skipped, even if you have already played through the specific chapter.
There are also three, a total of three sections in the game where Nilin infiltrates somebodys memories and uses them to make a person believe that somebody else is dead for her own benefit. They have annoying controls that ask you to spin the left stick clockwise or counter clockwise, pressing down at certain inter holes while you play trial and error in order to figure out what combination of interactives will lead you to progression. Much like everything else, this is not very enjoyable.
Which brings me to my favorite, for what it is worth, aspect of the game, as it is a visual treat in many regards as it paints a cool and appealing looking future that manages to encapsulate a sense of garishness and elements of a dystopian future while still retaining modern elements. There are some eye raising elements too, such as the thing on the back of Nilin’s head that looks like a Chozo Artifact, and the underdeveloped augmented reality for shop information and general warnings. Beyond minor gripes like that, I do very much enjoy the world set up by Remember Me, but I do wish that the title focused a little more on showing it during gameplay, as the camera focuses a little too much on Nilin, and not enough on the world around her.
This is a personal thing, but I like my cameras to be fairly far away from the main character, as to show off more of the world at once, which is why I was rather pleased to see Remember Me’s use of fixed camera angles that highlighted the beauty of this late and visually impressive port of an Xbox 360 and PS3 game. When fixed camera angles not used, however, much of the game is spent with Nilin being a bit too close for the player to have a cohesive look at the world, or see what most enemies are doing in the midst of combat. It’s either that or that awful angle where the main character’s back and butt are facing the camera as they walk at a snail’s pace and jam a finger in their ear while having a conversation about a story that is as easy to grasp as a buttery snake.
Remember Me is a curiosity that peaked for me right before its first fight scene started. It is an awkwardly told, annoying, and pretty little adventure, but one that I would almost prefer to have been cancelled side from a portfolio of concept art and story concepts. I know it is awful to say something like this, but I think I would have gotten more enjoyment out of those, imagining what this game could have been, instead of what seeing what it actually is. A game I will be actively trying to forget for the weeks and months to come.