The first time that I saw a trailer for Remember Me, at the 2012 Gamescom event, I knew that there was something special about this title. Being a huge, lifelong Capcom fan, the game just didn’t hit me as being the usual Capcom-offering. Sure, a lot of that stemmed from the fact that it was being developed by an outside developer (Dontnod), but it just didn’t seem like one of Capcom’s usual offerings or something they would normally get behind. Needless to say I was intrigued and I found myself hoping that this was possibly the beginning of a new era for Capcom, an era of rejuvenation after having a rocky couple of years with their established titles.The wait is over and Remember me is finally here. It turns out, my hopes had some validity and the game is something special.
Welcome to the future, specifically Neo Paris 2084. The world is much different than the one we know today as memories have become more than just something personal, they are a a commodity. Some people will pay anything for the experiences and memories of others, while some are willing to sacrifice lifetimes of memories for money. One company in particular, known as M3mory, and their Sensen technology, is making a push to monopolize the market on memories. You are Nilin, a de-commissioned memory hunter.
Before you were taken out of play, you were known as the best memory hunter in the game; not only could you hunt down and take memories better than anyone, you could actually remix and alter them. Someone, somewhere along the food chain at M3mory eventually saw you as a threat and took you out by wiping your memories, eliminating you from active duty. The problem is, they couldn’t take away your entire memory. Nilin is freed by an anti-M3mory movement known as Errorists, and set on a path to both take down the corporate behemoth and to recover the truth about your past.
On one hand, Remember Me is a “by-the-books” third-person action game akin to Assassin’s Creed or Mirror’s Edge. The influences of both of those game sin particular are prevalent throughout the entire experience. The gameplay consists of a heavy mix of platforming and combat, both of which are distributed evenly with a great pacing from start to finish. Dontnod has played it very safe when it comes to many of the technical aspects of the adventure, which is both good and bad in the end.
This is good because they focus on things that work; established concepts and ideas that we see time and time again in this genre. You see the usual lineup of collectible items that would normally be called “intel” in other games, which fill you in on the background stories of the game’s universe, and various items that help to strengthen your character over time by extending your health and stamina.
This is bad because when it comes to the new and unique concepts, such as memory mixing and alteration, they sort of limit their usage, almost as if they are afraid of trying something new. These segments of the game, particularly the memory remixing, play well but are rarely used when you look a the entire picture. The entire experience plays out in a very linear manner, almost as if they are afraid to break away from established tropes. It is really a shame, because Remember Me has some great ideas, and they are very well executed, but they feel held back.
These things work so well as a result of Dontnod’s dedication to embracing the entire concept of memories being a commodity. It is more than just a plot point in the story, it is a concept that shapes the entire world that the game is built around. Memories are everything: currency, power, tools, and most of all, what drives the human will of the characters in Neo Paris. They dive into their own world without hesitation, and as a result it creates and experience that will draw you in as well. It is a far-out concept that makes perfect sense (if that statement makes any sense on its own).
The fighting is one area where Remember Me makes its own mark on the genre. The combat has a very interesting twist to the standard fare in the form of the Pressen system. While the combat feels a lot like the free flowing system that we have seen in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, the introduction of Pressens and the in-game Combo Lab really creates something special. A Pressen is an offensive move or attack, that fits into one of a variety of categories. There are a bunch of different ones in the game, including power (strength based), regen (health recovery), and cooldown (power restoration). As you progress through the game, you will earn keys that you can use to unlock individual button presses in each of the above listed categories.
At the same time, you will also unlock different combo-strings in your offensive arsenal. Rather than relying on the typical action-game power ups to restore health and give stat bonuses, you can earn these types of benefits by inserting the various Pressens into these strings. Completing combos that include your unlocked Pressens will award you with stat bonuses and perks. This works really well because your offensive options are never limited; you have the same combos at the beginning that you do a the end, they just become a lot more effective once you power them up. It is a very interesting and original concept that works incredibly well.
The Pressens, like everything else in the world of Remember Me, ties into the concept of recovering your lost memories. These are skills and maneuvers that you knew during your time as a memory hunter, and they will slowly “come back” to you over time. All of your other powers and abilities, such as your super attacks like the Sensen Fury and Logic Bomb, will slowly come back to you over time. It all makes perfect sense given the setting.
Unfortunately, the game picked up some bad habits along with the good ones adopted from the marquee titles in the genre. The camera in particular, system leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully, it never really becomes an issue during any of the game’s numerous platforming sections, which would completely ruin the experience. During these areas, despite being adjustable, the camera always seems to be in the right place at the right time; it sticks to a nice, pulled-back position that lets you see everything that you need at any given time. That isn’t the case during combat however.
The combat in the game can become very frantic and fast-paced; you need to be able to see what is going on at all times. That isn’t always possible as the camera likes to zoom in on the action at random times; I found myself constantly having to retreat from the action while I reset the point of view; this broke the pacing of an otherwise fluid combat experience. This never happened to the point where it ruined the experience, but it certainly slowed things down at times.
Remember Me isn’t going to be a contender for game of the year when December rolls around and that is okay. It will however be remembered as one of the most enjoyable and memorable journeys of the year and possibly the start of a new era for Capcom. Developer Dontnod Entertainment is certainly making a statement with their freshman outing and Capcom should definitely keep them close in their circle of partners in the near future. Don’t let the publisher’s name scare you away from this one; this is an adventure you are sure to enjoy.