STAFF REVIEW of Remember Me (Xbox 360)

Monday, June 17, 2013.
by Brent Roberts

Remember Me Box art When you think of every person on earth, each of us has an individual fingerprint, each of us has individual eyes, and each of us has individual memories. How we perceive events throughout our lives is as singular as our fingerprints. But now in Neo-Paris in the near future, these memories of ours have become digitized. While on the outside you bear witness to the elderly reliving some of their most cherished moments in time; families reminiscing about births of children, graduations, and more. “Wonderful moments which can be recalled upon demand and digitally fed into our minds to enjoy” is the line we are fed, however not all memories are nice ones and on the surface everything may look enticing, but underneath is another story all together.

The memories of some of the most powerful and influential people on earth would be all that is needed to shift global power in favor of one who combines this knowledge with their own. Welcome to Neo-Paris and the futuristic world of Remember Me.

In an iconic setting of the wealthy vs. poor, you see the upper-class seemingly brainwashed into mindlessly supporting this false utopia while those who have lost everything become ghoulish memory hunting creatures that were deemed unworthy to live above and therefore cast down into the sewers and surrounding areas outside of Neo-Paris.

In the beginning we find Nilin (who apparently is the best memory hunter in the world) fighting for her life during a memory format procedure, and it's through this struggle that we learn more of her past and thus why she was there to begin with. The overall story of Remember Me is one that will bring enjoyment but the main innovation that sets this game apart are the memory remixes. This feature will allow you to enter a target's mind and not only relive the memory as it originally is, but rewind and most importantly, alter the memory to produce different outcomes. This is not only the source of a great strength but great weakness as you realize that these moments do not happen nearly enough and while they are brilliant moments to go through, they just don't happen enough which gets you punched in the stomach because now you have to contend with another big problem of Remember Me and that are the controls.

When you maneuver your way through Neo-Paris and the slums below, the gameplay (which includes camera controls) are not the best in the world and often will cause more stress and confusion than simplicity and effectiveness. Wandering across ledges, pipes, and other climbable elements is very responsive, fluid and easy to use. If you find yourself on the ground however, and in combat, then you come face to face with the combat system and when combined with the gameplay brings the entire game down. Remember Me does allow you to customize your combos to produce different bonus results with each individual strike, and this is achieved through what are known as Pressens.

There are four Pressen categories: Damage, Regeneration, Recharge, and a multiplier. Each Pressen category has multiple X and Y buttons which are unlocked and placed within the combos and the further into the combo a Pressen is placed, the more impact that Pressen provides. As you go through combat Nilin will naturally level up allowing you to unlock more Pressens and even longer combinations to either create more damage or heal large chunks of health right in the middle of battle. While this provides some interaction into what could be characterized is a very simplistic combat system, there are games, such as Batman Arkham City, that provide identical combat but on a more polished level. This lack in the combat system weighs heavy against it considering most of the time you are pressing the X or Y button and occasionally the A button.

Nilin not only remembers more Pressens and combinations as she levels up through the game, but she also remembers the very powerful S-Pressens. When Nilin breaks into this form her true potential is unlocked and depending on what S-Pressen you select, incredibly powerful, yet very temporary bonuses are granted to Nilin. Powers such as enhanced strength and uncovering the invisible are just a couple of these amazing powers at Nilin's disposal. There is one item though that makes Nilin a force to be reckoned with and that is her gauntlet. It's through this tool that Nilin gains the ability to hunt and remix memories and also interact with her environment as well. This gauntlet can be upgraded to interact with items such as locks, electrical switches, and can even destroy weak structural areas. While this aspect does make the game more enjoyable, it's almost too little too late.

Even though there are gameplay issues that hinder Remember Me, there are some beautiful areas of Neo-Paris that are truly a sight to behold. Remember Me does a great job showcasing the differences between the "haves" and the "have not’s" and even though the character modeling is somewhat good, the scenery around you is better. The only major graphic downfall of Remember Me is the fact that most of the time the levels feel very linear and only seem to push you into an open environment where either a boss fight occurs or a mob of enemy Leapers. There really isn't much in terms of exploration or interaction and that's a pity because this world has so much to offer. This graphic prowess is complimented by a surprisingly good soundtrack that offers climactic scores of sweeping orchestral music during intense moments of combat and drama and peaceful and tranquil harmonies while you are exploring what you are able to of this future society.

Remember Me is a game that had the potential to be incredible but ended up being marginally good instead. There are some amazing moments that will bring smiles to your face, the amount of negatives and inconsistencies hit far too hard and far too often. While the story and premise of Remember Me is generally good, it's sad to say, but if there were a more precise and polished combat system that we find in other games out there, then that would go a long way to improving the quality of Remember me. Ultimately is Remember Me worth a day one $60 price point? Unfortunately no. Is Remember Me worth an improved upon sequel? Without a doubt. Hopefully Dontnod has learned from this release and take feedback back to the drawing board and create an improved Remember Me 2. If that does happen, it will truly be a game to remember.

Please improve upon the gameplay mechanics (which include combat and camera controls) and you will be well on your way to a great sequel.

Overall: 7.2 / 10
Gameplay: 6.7 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 7.5 / 10


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