Monday, 17 June 2013

Remember Me

With E3 over and the announcement of the next generation of consoles on the horizon, it's easy to forget that there is still an assortment of new games to be released for the old - but faithful - guards of gaming that are the PS3 and Xbox 360.

One such game is the generic and easily-forgotten titled Remember Me (I know bad joke). So the question we as gamers must ask is whether or not Remember Me is good enough to keep us entertained until the PS4 and Xbone make their appearance? Read on to find out.

Overview and Plot
Remember Me is an action-adventure stealth game developed by  newcomers to the gaming scene, Dontnod Entertainment. You assume the role of Nilin Cartier-Wells, an "errorist" in the year 2084. Living inside a futuristic version of Paris aptly titled Neo-paris. At the start of the game, Nillin is locked up in the bastille having had her memory wiped by the Big Brother-esque corporation Memorize. Then an odd voice from the void starts talking and guides her escape from the techno fortress and into safety. The mysterious helper is the Errorist leader Edge, bit-by-bit he tells Nillin who she is, who the Errorists are and what her purpose was before she caught a case of machine-induced amnesia.

It's a fairly by-the-books tale of a group of anti-corporate anarchists going against the monolithic overseers, in a future where the rich and powerful laud it over the lower-class - which can be a little on the nose for anyone familiar with the trope. However, the way Nilin's journey is framed against her slowly returning memories is where Remember Me shines through as something special.

Sadly, the combat of Remember Me is nothing to write home about. Nillin may not remember much at the beginning of Remember Me, but it only takes a brief overview from her partner Edge to jog her memory. Remember Me’s combat system appears – and to a certain degree plays – as you would expect. One set of attack buttons correspond to attacks with your hands, while another guides Nilin’s feet quickly into the jaw of an enemy. Different applications of these two buttons lead to different combinations leading into secondary effects you can use to cause extra damage. As you get better at the game, Nillin gains access to more combos for you to assign. It's all rather standard for the genre, but still has a satisfying feel.

If you're not feeling up to the fight you can try your hand at sneaking past enemies - however this can sometimes take just as long as pummeling them into dust. The enemies walk in a pre-determined patrol, so it's simply a matter of watching their pattern and running through when their focus is elsewhere. There are also a few basic door-puzzles, which involve running from highlighted spot to highlight spot but these quickly get boring and repetitive. If you're the hoarding type there are various collectibles around neo-Paris to snatch, but outside of this there's not much reason to explore and Remember Me pretty much points you where to go to progress the story.

Presentation and Soundtrack 
The one area above all else that Remember Me deserves merit is in its portrayal of a future where technology is king. It's very clear Neo-Paris has been painstakingly plotted out by a very passionate design team. The city portrays a perfect blend of "the world of tomorrow" and what we have with us today.

The world itself seems realistically plausible; you could very much imagine a future where this city actually exists. Robot helpers scrub shop windows as Nilin's gadgetry overlays little bits of information on top of anything that you happen upon, pointing out environmental hazards, restaurant menus, and quirky holographic advertisements. You could imagine this kind of tech would be the ultimate progression for something like the google glass technology we have today. The world is far from paradise however, there are certain areas that are horrifically dingy and you can clearly see where the newer architecture has been built on top of the old in a rush to  push forward. There are parts of the city that look like a kind of lived-in dystopia that really add character to the world.

All of this is accentuated by an art direction that really is something to behold. The fact the game is running on seven year old hardware only goes further to prove that polygon counts aren't what makes a game look spectacular. It's the high level of craft implemented that makes this title a feast for the eyes. Similarly, the audio is very fitting for the aesthetic, Cut-scenes are punctuated by the accompanying music, which ranges from eerie harmonic chords to the more intense moments that indulge in electronic beats. Composer Olivier Deriviere has very much created a soundtrack that perfectly expresses the overall feel of the city in a way that makes it much more immersive.

Remember Me is a bit of a lesson in wasted potential. The art design, the game's intriguing story, and the fantastic musical score are ultimately betrayed by Remember Me 's generic gameplay that just doesn't quite stand up to the big boys of the genre. Sadly, I felt just as Remember Me looked like it had something awesome to bring to the table, the fascinating moments were broken up repeatedly by mechanics that just aren't much fun to slog through.

If you're anything like me and are obsessed with all things futuristic, I would definitely still recommend giving Remember Me a try. While not a candidate for game of the year by any means, the visual splendour of Neo-Paris makes it worth trudging through the harder to stomach gameplay segments in order to see and experience everything.

The atmosphere, backdrop and gorgeous surroundings of this game are worth remembering, but ultimately the lacklustre gameplay will probably mean that it will be forgotten by the majority of gamers.

Story - 7 out of 10
Gameplay – 5 out of 10
Presentation – 9 out of 10
Verdict – 7 out of 10

Chris Heeley

Remember Me at CeX

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