Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review - Remember Me

Remember Me, or rather, Art design - the game, Shows some great moments and some unique highlights, but also stumbles with some basics in a third person action game. The keyword in Remember Me is, obviously, 'Art design' with a great focus on bringing Neo Paris to life, and a special attention to details, making this a very visually impressive game.

Set 70 years in the future, the world is practically run by an organization called The Memorize corporation, having created the Sensation Engine, mostly referred to as Sensen, a brain implant that allows the manipulation of memories, removing bad ones, or just sharing on the net, Memorize can police and keep the population under surveillance.

On the other side of this spectrum is a group of memory hunters called 'Errorists' to congregate and unite in their mission to bring down Memorize. Caught in between is the part of Sensen users who overloaded on memories and degraded their Sensen chip and suffered a mutation themselves.
Nilin is also multicultural, very PC

Remember Me kicks off in the shoes of Nilin, our heroine, somewhere in a facility, With so few memories left in her noggin she can barely stand and walk. A voice in her ear, from a man calling himself only 'Edge' helps her out of her predicament and guides her to freedom through a very uncomfortable body disposal system.

It's a pretty clever way to utilize the games own concept to explain exposition, and we get to explore the story with the same starting point as our main protagonist. And of everything well designed in the game, nothing comes close to Nilin herself, from her clothes, hairstyle, combat moves, athleticism, attitude and abilities, everything comes together beautifully.

Nilin is a great female character, though dependent because of her memory loss, she just 'feels' powerful, like the strongest person in the world, this is best portrayed with her 'overload' ability where she literally scrambles her enemies' brains and gives it a powerful blast of memories, instantly incapacitating them.
There is a lot of climbing in the game, fun though

Another good decision was to ground everything as much in reality as possible, combat for instance, Nilin cannot harm robot by punching them, because that is silly and every game should remember that. Or her climbing, she doesn't 'lift' herself to a ledge 10 feet above her, she actually steps and jumps off the ledge she was hanging from. 

When she gets shot or hit by a droid's capture field she instantly goes down. No sitting behind a waist high cover and complaining a bit and the bullet magically disappears and her wounds heal, nope, Nilin goes down like a sack of potatoes, and we loved that, making it easier to relate to Nilin's mortality and humanity.

The story can feel a bit fragmented and isolated, whatever you do in any chapter before chapter six aren't referred to or has any bearing on the next coming chapters, or at least it seems like that until chapter six and through the rest of the game where everything comes together as a whole, but it can be a confusing road to get there.
If you turn the camera facing Nilin, she will look at you, creepy.

Using the combo lab, the player is able to customize their own set of four combos, adding in effects such as healing or cooldown on Nilin's five 'special abilities'. In the end this is to add variety to combat, but ends up being an aesthetic option rather than tactical. Near the end we had a super long kill-everything-in-one combo, an emergency heal combo and a cooldown+big heal combo., leaving a whole combo unused.

Our biggest issue with the game however, was the camera, that camera is not your friend, when opening doors with our 'key gun' the camera was still locked on to the door going upwards, leaving us looking at the roof and Nilin running into the nearest wall whenever entering a new room fast. 

Normally the camera acts on an axis on a line with the characters eyes or center of their head. Imagine a stick between the camera and a character's head, so when she looks up the camera moves lower behind her, and moving above her when looking down but in both cases keeping Nilin's head in the center. 
"Scramble scramble scramble"

And although this mostly applies to Remember Me as well, when entering a small room or if Nilin's back is close to a wall this axis get's completely ruined, often changing to way above Nilin's head and looking around feels sluggish and uncooperative. And the password riddles seems like something that would make sense in French, but definitely not for a Norwegian.

Final thoughts, Remember Me tells a great and unique story in a fantastic looking Neo-Paris with an exciting and nicely designed main character, for a brand new ip from a brand new studio, this is a very impressive showing. The music and score are breathtaking and well composed. 

The lack of oomph in the combat upgrades, a few unfair deaths where Nilin might hit a ledge at a slight angle and decide it's better to fall to her death in stead of hanging on and a fidgety camera is kind of a let down, but varied locations, fun traversal and a brilliant protagonist makes Remember me a solid:


This game is just fun to play because more games need heroines like Nilin, not just because she's a strong female, but because of her depth and her relatability. If you like Sci-fi in a futuristic and stylish setting, heavily rooted in a plausible reality (maybe except the whole memory manipulation thing, but who knows?) then this is definitely for you. 

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