When Remember Me was first announced I was actually really excited by what was shown. I’m a big fan of cyberpunk as a genre and Remember Me looked like Blade Runner meets Uncharted with a little Batman style combat thrown in the mix and I was intrigued to say the least. Unfortunately, when I finally got my hands on the game what I played through was a lot of great ideas tied together by questionable design decisions.
Remember Me puts you in control of Nilin in the year 2084 where a mega corporation called Memorize has developed a brain implant that 99% of the population has installed in their heads to digitally record their memories. However, it is not the perfect idea because those unfortunate enough to absorb too many memories devolve into underground creatures known as Leapers. Nilin begins the game with amnesia after she is rescued from a Memorize facility and you learn that she was part of a rebel faction bent on taking down Memorize. The story is actually very thin and predictable and with an amnesiac main character, you’ll get all the twists and turns you would expect but none of them are surprising. The story then turns to you stealing or remixing memories to learn the information you need to take down Memorize once and for all.
The gameplay of Remember Me is well made but just gets repetitive and boring after a while. Your basic form of combat is hand to hand melee fighting that feels like they were unsuccessfully trying to rip of the Batman Arkham games. The most interesting thing element are the pressens which are abilities that can be tied to your combo button presses. Assigning pressens to the strings of X and Y buttons in combos offers different effects so with your first strike you may break their defense, your second strike will give you some health back, your third strike will give you a timer cool down, or maybe all of your hits will do the same thing. You get four different combos that you can mix and match your pressens with and I would end up assigning specific purposes to each combo for the most effective combat boost.
Aside from pressens, you also have a combat wheel with some special abilities that are actually very effective. You also have a bomb that you can put on an enemy that will send out a shockwave to knock down all of your opponents and even an ability that lets you take over robot opponents and turn them to your side. One power can boost melee speed and power, which could end up being the most used power in the whole wheel because of the large number of enemies to fight and that Nilin really isn’t that strong to begin with. As such, it takes way too long to kill one guy which makes the game feel repetitive.
Another major part of the gameplay is traversal and may be the worst part of the game. It’s not that it’s broken; it’s just that the game holds your hand through every aspect of climbing. There are little arrows all over the environment that show exactly what you can or cannot climb or jump onto, taking away all of the mystery and risk of figuring it out for yourself. The real bright light of this game are the memory remix scenes but unfortunately there are less than a handful of them. A couple times through the game you have to remix someone’s memory to different ends such as changing their alliance or make them do something they wouldn’t normally. These scenes are fantastic and I would have played a whole game of just those! You’ll watch a scene from their memory and have the ability to rewind it with the thumbstick and interact with flashing objects in the room in order to make the memory play out differently. These are so creative and amazing but you only get a few opportunities to do it. If the game would have leaned on this feature a little more it would have been that much more enjoyable.
With all of its faults or missteps, Remember Me still manages to look and sound fantastic. The game creates some great scenes with some noir style lighting and the world of Neo-Paris has a great cyberpunk and dystopian look. You really get a sense of the different social classes based on the environments you are in and the look of the people you encounter. The soundtrack though is incredible and unfortunately it doesn’t seem as if they are going to release and official CD of it which is a real downer. I took no issues with the visuals of the game aside from the fact that you spend too much time in the slums and not enough time looking at the magnificent cityscapes of Neo-Paris. The use of lighting is easily my favorite aspect of the visuals just because of the noir and cyberpunk overtones they are able to create with the kind of minimal story they have to work with.
There are a lot of ideas packed into this game but I feel like if they would have cut back on a couple of the concepts to focus more on the story then this could have been a real stand out game. As it is now Remember Me is more appealing when it gets cheaper or if you have absolutely nothing to play. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a soundtrack release but the game itself is pretty forgettable and will only leave a memory of the visual art at best. I trust that Capcom can get some good games out there and Dontnod Entertainment can definitely make a good game, but Remember Me just isn’t their best attempt.