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Remember Me

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

For me, Remember Me is one of those happy surprises that sneaks onto shelves with little hype or fanfare. It's a flawed but fascinating science fiction adventure title that features a memorable protagonist and a stunningly well-realized setting. The game itself seems to have been kind of an afterthought; it treads the same ground throughout, carving a rut it is ultimately incapable of escaping. Despite its flaws, Remember Me is worth checking out.

Remember Me's sense of place is absolutely intoxicating. It takes place in Neo-Paris (the first of two unfortunately-named entities), in the year 2084. Think Blade Runner with the interfaces of modern cell phones. It's a cyberpunk wonderland. You get the sense that everything and everyone is linked to a single powerful network. And in a sense, they are: holographic displays pop up everywhere in the game, some detailing store hours and others warning people to stay away from dangerous areas. This is a world you'll desperately want to see more of, and the fact that the game is uncompromisingly linear is quite a bitter pill to swallow. But Neo-Paris is still a joy to exist in, whether you're walking among the privileged few and the downtrodden many, or going toe to toe with the creepy splicer-esque Leapers.

The sound design in Remember Me matches its daring vision. A rousing, energetic soundtrack supports the sense of wonder you'll feel as you take in the sights and punctuates your every action in combat. Voice acting is equally strange and great. The cultural identity of Neo-Paris seems to be fragmented, as nobody seems to have the same accent; of course, current trends support this idea. Most of the sound design contributes to the cyberpunk aesthetic of the rest of the package, and the result is a cohesive, attractive presentation.


Gameplay:

Of all the tired and worn tropes of fiction, amnesia has got to be one of the laziest and most detestable. People these days want their revelations dished out in more clever and satisfying ways. Remember Me casts you as an individual who has merely had most of her memory wiped. However, unlike other stories that simply execute a slow burn narrative until all the shocks and surprises pour in, this game tells you most of the answers in the beginning.

Neo-Paris, 2084. Memory is less of an abstract concept and more of a commodity. Responsible people manage it properly, while others become insane, hostile junkies. A company called Memorize has taken control of this new and dangerous market, and the result of its actions is a beautiful dystopia. However, a group of Memory Hunters calling themselves "Errorists" (the second of the unfortunately-named entities) fights the good fight. You play as Nilin, one of the best of them. As she is about to have the last bit of her memory destroyed, a voice in her ear tells her exactly where to go to save her mind. This voice belongs to Edge, and his identity is one of the mysteries you will uncover as you play. Nilin is reunited with her supposed old pals and ultimately charged with bringing down the established order that led to all the strife and violence.

How is she to go about this task? Well, first and foremost, she'll do a lot of running, jumping, and climbing. A great deal of Remember Me is simple platforming. You'll always know where you need to go, which is both a blessing and a curse. Why? Well, because there's always only one way to go.

Nilin will often have to do violence against Leapers and Johnny Law. The combat system is similar to that in the Batman: Arkham games, but with an emphasis on multi-button combinations. It is nowhere near best in class, but it's exciting enough to mix things up before things get too stale.

Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of Remember Me relates to one of Nilin's key abilities: the ability to hack into and remix people's memories. This is a fascinating concept: we all have bad memories, and even the petty ones are capable of sticking -- a stupid thing you said to someone twenty years ago, or a relationship you completely blew. Nilin has the power to change people's memories, via unique sequences that I wish there were more of.


Difficulty:

Remember Me isn't too difficult, provided you know the right strategies to follow. Reflexes don't often come into play; combat is not complex or twitchy. Everything has to do with Pressens, which I'll explain in the next section. It's a unique mechanic that turns a lot of normal combat rules on their heads. If you don't build your combos to fit each combat situation, fights will be longer and tougher than they should be.

Game Mechanics:

So how does a Memory Hunter defend herself? Why, with a standard series of punches and kicks, a series of technology-powered superpowers, and the gun-like junk bolt. But what makes Remember Me's combat so much different is its combo construction system. As Nilin defeats enemies, she earns points that level her up. Leveling up will grant you a key, with which you can unlock a single Pressen. Pressens make up your attacks, but each one carries a different function. Some restore health, while others deal more damage. Some reduce the amount of cooldown time required for special moves, while others chain the effects of previously-used Pressens.

Nilin's Specialized Pressen moves are varied and useful in numerous situations. The first S-Pressen you acquire is Sensen Fury, which basically turns her into an angel of death. She becomes temporarily faster and stronger. It's a great tool to use when you're surrounded. Another power she has is the Logic Bomb, which is the only way to harm shielded enemies. Sensen DOS acts as a stunning area-of-effect attack. Sensen Rust in Pieces turns special mechanized enemies against their humanoid allies and then causes them to self-destruct. Sensen Camo renders Nilin invisible until she is harmed or until she deals damage. The cool thing about Camo is how it is essentially a free opportunity to execute a memory overload (instant kill).

Memory Remixes are relatively few and far between, but they are all memorable. These involve accessing and altering the memories of a particular mark. Each time you begin a Remix, you are shown the true memory. Once you view the memory, you can rewind and fast-forward through it in your attempt to find glitches. Manipulating these glitches changes small and seemingly insignificant parts of the memory that sometimes have a huge impact on the outcome of the story contained within the memory. It's an awesome idea that unfortunately isn't explored enough in the game itself. It serves a narrative purpose, but doesn't do much more than that.

Remember Me is loaded with cool ideas. The game built around these ideas is merely decent, however. I hope the game sells well, because I think a sequel could make this new IP truly amazing.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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