“Remember to live. Live to remember.”
The game begins with an advertisement for Sensen (Sensation Engine), a technological advancement that enables the transfer and alteration of human memory. An elderly woman recalls losing her husband in a shipwreck. A young woman describes the day that she and her boyfriend decided to share their memories and how she could immediately feel the warmth and strength of his love for her through his memories. A man explains that he is unsure if he will ever want to pass on the memories of a tragic war he survived to his son, but that he is glad that the option is always available, because his memories are safely stored in his Sensen.
As is often the case with such groundbreaking advances in technology, the allure of money and power has led certain groups to use this for sinister purposes. This is a future where the creator of Sensen, the Memorize Corporation, has monopolized and capitalized on the commodity of human memories. While allowing the sharing and implanting of memories, Sensen can also take them away.
In stark contrast to the light, hopeful ad at the beginning of the game, you now see a woman screaming in pain on a white, tiled floor. You discover that her memory is currently being erased, though she can still recall her name – Nilin. With the help of a man named Edge issuing commands in her ear, she escapes the prison of La Bastille before they can destroy the last vestiges of her memories, and she is dumped into the streets of Neo-Paris.
Edge explains that Nilin is a memory hunter, captured for being one of the best agents of the Errorists, a rebel group hell-bent on bringing down Memorize. As soon as she escapes the prison, she is thrust back into the efforts of the Errorists while also trying to recollect her own lost memories.
As the game progresses, Nilin’s past is slowly revealed as she struggles to reconcile the morality of her own choices (especially once she gets into memory remixes and is usually altering their outcomes for the worst), the actions of the Errorists, and whether “one crime can justify the reversal of another.”
From afar, Neo-Paris is beautiful. The setting is gritty and artistic, in a cyberpunk sort of way. The first time Nilin steps out of the sewers beneath La Bastille and a cutscene shows Neo-Paris complete with a neon Eiffel Tower, flying cars, and austere skyscrapers, I was awed. When it comes to actually running around the city though, the setting falls a little flat. The city is just so static. There were never very many people about, and what few people who were around just stood there like statues. It felt less like a living, breathing city and more like a painted backdrop.
The level design is very linear, almost to the point of being constrictive. The setting is so fantastic and intriguing that you want to explore and experience Neo-Paris. It becomes a bit disappointing that the game only allows you to go EXACTLY where you need to go progress the story.
Gameplay / Combat
Gameplay is a mix of third-person action-adventure/platforming with some simple puzzle elements. Climbing and jumping tended to be very fluid and intuitive, though the cumbersome camera occasionally causes Nilin to miss a jump and leap to her death from rooftops. Visual cues make it easy to see exactly where to go, so the player is never lost.
Of course, as you progress through the game, Nilin encounters her fair share of Memorize agents, combat robots, and creepy research subjects gone wrong (Leapers!). Combat against such enemies is comprised of attack combos, special attacks called S-Pressens, and dodging. The Combo Lab menu allows you to unlock different Pressens to chain into combo attacks. These Pressens each have a different effect in battle, such as health regeneration, power attacks, and shortening special attack cool-down periods.
While some of the S-Pressen special attacks are pretty neat (like the Sensen DOS that stuns all nearby enemies and reveals any hidden enemies), and there are some interesting tactical mechanics behind using different Pressens against different enemies, the combo system becomes fairly repetitive and tedious by the end of the game. New Pressens are also pretty slow to unlock, which limits and hinders combo creation.
The camera often gets in the way during combat, especially in narrow spaces where it gets caught against a wall, making it difficult to see enemies in Nilin’s periphery. Even in open spaces, battles with a particularly nasty charging Leaper are difficult, with the camera constantly focusing in on Nilin fighting one enemy, making it so that you can never see the Leaper charging from afar.
While the game seems to focus pretty heavily on combat, its true strength is in the memory remixes. Without the appeal of reaching another remix scene, I probably would have abandoned the game about halfway through (you know, if I wasn’t writing a review). During memory remixes, you rewind through a scene to find and change memory glitches (little details that can alter the outcome of the entire memory, such as turning off a gun’s safety or moving an end table that gets tripped over).
These are by far the most interesting and unique aspect of this game. Even when failing the remix by choosing the wrong glitch, it’s still enjoyable to see how this error affects the outcome of the scene.
Remember Me is overall an enjoyable experience with great ideas and concepts, but it lacks the scale and depth that would have made this a GREAT game. Combat starts out interesting and fun, but soon becomes tedious due to a repetitive pattern of combo chain (of which you only have four available by the end of the game), dodge, special ability, different combo, dodge, special ability. There are some minor bugs and glitches. My game glitched after a boss fight, thinking that I was still in battle, but there were no enemies left. The story cutscene didn’t begin as a result, so I had to reload my last checkpoint. It was irksome, but hardly devastating; I just had to fight the boss (who wasn’t very difficult to begin with) again.
The memory remixes were some of the highlights of the game, but there aren’t very many. It’s a shame that the game’s most interesting aspect is also its most underutilized.
The story is engaging, but it does have some plot holes, pacing issues, and lacks explanation at times, especially when it comes to motive – such as why Nilin is listening to a mysterious voice in her ear and following him with “hollow conviction” (her words, not mine). Despite the plot issues, Nilin is a fantastic protagonist and single-handedly propels the mediocre story. She is a kickass, sassy female who also displays a humanizing vulnerability about her past that makes the player want to help her retrieve her memories. Also, she has some AMAZING cheesy one-liners, which may not appeal to everyone, but I loved them! My personal favorite: “This Little Red Riding Hood’s got a basket full of kickass.”
Though the game is a decent length (I finished in about twelve hours), there isn’t much replay value. There are some collectibles, but unless you’re an achievement or trophy hunter, you probably won’t play the game again.
While Remember Me failed to live up to its potential and will probably be forgotten in time, the memory remixes and strong female protagonist did make the game somewhat worthwhile. She says it best in the beginning of the game: “My name is Nilin, and this time, you’ll remember me.”