What do you do about events in your life that you’d rather forget? As awful as they may be, bad memories define one’s personality and contributes to their experience, but in Remember Me, the technology to remix the past is widely available. It’s a fascinating look at how life experiences can ultimately shape reality and identity, but the game is dragged down by ho-hum platforming and average combat. It’s exciting to see new IP, but it’s frustrating to see all this potential wasted.
Remember Me is set in futuristic Neo-Paris, where almost all civilians use the “Sensen” brain implant, allowing them to share, upload and re-experience other people’s memories, as well as purge any unpleasant memories. Players take control of Nilin, former Memory Hunter and “Errorist” rebel who has (surprisingly enough) lost her memory. Nilin’s journey exposes her to the social hierarchy of Neo-Paris, divided between the upper class (who purge their feelings of guilt and apology by remixing their memories) and the peasant class (filled with memory junkies that are always eager to experience a new emotional high). The game guides you through the slums and polished streets of Neo-Paris’s districts, and the backdrops and environments have an impressive amount of detail.
It’s a good thing that the game world looks so good, because you’ll be spending a good amount of time traversing walls, grates, ledges and fences. The game’s linear progression and lack of exploration options means that the climbing mechanic basically boils down to simply finding a way to get from point A to B. Maybe this would’ve been more enjoyable and challenging if there weren’t orange chevrons indicating where Nilin is meant to leap to next, but it’s hard to say.
Nilin starts the game having lost her memory, but as the game progresses, it all eventually comes back to her. She throws punches and kicks fairly effectively, and she’s able to choose from a handful of pre-defined combos. Experience points unlock Pressens, or augmentations to attacks that boost damage, provide health, or shorten cooldown timers on special abilities. These special abilities are drip fed to you throughout the campaign, and are varied enough to be useful and enjoyable to use.
There isn’t any room for button mashing, which turns combat into a rhythmic tapping exercise while evading enemy attacks. It’s a far cry from Arkham City‘s own flavour of one vs. many combat, despite the comparisons being made, and as a result the combat suffers from a lack of ebb and flow. This is partially offset by the interesting cast of enemies you’ll face, but I was still left wanting for a more enjoyable way of taking them out.
When you’re not fighting memory junkies, you’ll be dabbling in people’s memories. The memory remixing is excellent, and is basically an interactive cutscene that can be scrubbed backwards and forwards as you identify any items in the person’s memory to manipulate, which causes a chain reaction of events leading to a different outcome. I found that I was simply playing to reach the next memory remix, which were few and far between. Nilin can also steal people’s thoughts and recall them in the game world to circumvent barriers and traps and solve puzzles, which was quite nifty, although few and far between.
Remember Me offers some really interesting concepts, like the detailed world to the memory manipulation sequences. Even the application of Pressens to attacks and the ability to change the composition of your combos is an interesting idea. It’s a shame that it was all overshadowed by unengaging gameplay married with a mediocre plotline.