Very recently, it feels as if there has been a rise of cyberpunk influence in the industry. From the cyberhacking stylings of Watch_Dogs to the PMC dominated universe of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, it seems that developers are comfortable at the last legs of this generation and are now pushing the limits with ambitious and sometimes frightening depictions of the future. Capcom and Dontnod Entertainment’s Remember Me is no exception, and appears to exhibit qualities of both aforementioned adjectives.
In Remember Me, you follow in the wake of Nilin who is mentally imprisoned and is one lobe away from being in a persistent vegetative state. After receiving a little help from her friends, she escapes the facility and discovers she is the leader of a revolutionary group waging war against Memorize, an organisation that has successfully corporatised a core process of the human mind; memory. With memory quickly becoming a commodity, Nilin and her band of freedom fighters traverse the nooks and crannies of Neo-Paris to bring will power back to the people.
Thanks to a great setting backed by some beautiful vistas, there’s no fooling that Remember Me is quite the looker. The juxtaposition between socio-economic status of the environments really adds depth. At Nilin’s worst, she’s stumbling and groggy fighting vagabonds in the slums and at her best, she’s taking in breathtaking views at the tip top of Neo-Paris. Upon the game’s first reveal at last year’s Gamescom, we were treated with an open world depiction complete with mini-HUD and a traversible overworld map. Unfortunately this build contains none of that and opts for a more linear approach. This is fine due to the nature of the title (after all, Nilin IS a fugitive), it just means we don’t get to explore more gorgeous streets of Neo-Paris at our leisure.
Jumping right into combat, veterans of The Mark of Kri and Arkham Asylum will feel right at home as timing and managing multiple enemies at once is crucial. To mix up the simple combat, Remember Me features a “Pressen” system where attributes ranging from healing buffs to stuns can be assigned to your base attacks adding a dimension of personalisation and changing the way each player approaches a combat situation. For example, having a simple combo where I can heal myself when I’m in a pinch is a fantastic change of pace from other games where you would normally just run away from the enemy to the nearest med-pack. Another nice touch is the intensifying music and audio cues a la Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked. Doing well in battle? The game will cheer you on and let you know that you’re kicking ass.
Platforming and exploration help break up the pace in between the fights. While the previously mentioned setting is great, the same can’t be said for the platforming segments. Ledges are far too predictable, gripping onto objects doesn’t register half of the time and the camera can get really hard to work with in confined spaces. Remember Me shouldn’t be marred for treading old ground, but it should at least be solid in its implementation and hopefully this is addressed in the final product.
Speaking of breaking up gameplay, Remember Me has one more trump card up its sleeve in the form of remixes. Nilin is blessed with the esper-esque ability to tap into minds and even alter them at her behest. This is done through puzzle segments reminiscent of Ghost Trick, where certain objects within an environment are manipulated to achieve a desired outcome. Have an assassin at your throat about to claim your bounty so she can pay for her sick husband’s operation? Remix her memory and through a little bit of trial and error (you can really test your sociopathic drive in these remix “minigames”!) get her to believe that her husband had passed on, thus giving her no reason to kill you! These parts are brilliant fun and really add meat to the narrative, sometimes allowing you to sympathise with many characters you meet on your adventure.
Aside from a few shortcomings, Remember Me is shaping up to be a very interesting title indeed. Among the rest of the cyberpunk inspired titles being released this year and as the title suggests, make sure you don’t forget it. Remember Me will be releasing on June 6 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
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