Right, I think I am almost all the way through 2013’s Remember Me, so now is the right time to review it, yes?
I don’t know why, but Remember Me hasn’t been on my radar at all, I mean literally it’s been out of sight, I’ve even been to the game’s Steam page, but I couldn’t actually remember anything about it.
I was watching a friend streaming the game on twitch and thought it looked cool, so went to check it out and bought it immediately (Steam sale, game was down 80%).
So the setting? I love the setting, absolutely love it.
Set in 2084 (funny date that) in Neo Paris, the game is a technological dystopia in which memories can be bought and sold as a commodity, with adverts and street signs popping up through the use of Augmented Reality.
Harsh memories can be deleted and memory based afflictions are common, from the looks of it, too much indulging in the addictive act of memory trading can weaken a person sense of self which can leave them vulnerable to the cult-like Leapers.
You play a Memory Hunter who starts the game having her memory wiped, having to climb, jump and run her way to freedom, in a third person Parkour-lite system.
I say that the movement is Parkour-lite because it really is, usually you get a specific route with the next step in your path being highlighted, though you are in a living breathing city, having these very specific routes that 99% of people wouldn’t have access to just seems more restrictive than freeing, I can’t help but want to see each of the sections we see of the city as self contained areas in which we get free reign of movement as when we are given a linear path, quite often it is easy to see the little off-shoot path that leads us to a collectible or bonus.
After the setting, I have to speak of the combat.
Using a system similar to what you might get in Batman’s Arkham series, we have combo’s and dodging however the combo attacks have been taken a step further, instead of just punch and kick attacks, we now have expanded moves that we can switch into a combo, with different types of moves.
Moves that deal more damage, moves that heal, moves that reduce the cool-down on skills and moves that “boost” the previous move, with the idea being that you can switch out the attacks at will in order to create your own effects.
Personally I’ve got the first and most simple of combo’s as a “health” combo, three punches that do minimal damage but allows my character a quick way to regain health.
The only limitation on this combo system is that though you can switch out the individual moves and the move types, the combo’s are always the same sort of attack, so the very first combo you get is X – X – X, or if you prefer Punch – Punch – Punch, you can only replace a punch with a punch, you can’t put a kick into that combo.
I really like this element of the combat system as it allows much more freedom than say the Arkham series, but doesn’t require you learn vast move lists like in a fighter game, and of course a combo can be edited on the fly, so if you find you need health you can just throw yourself a healing heavy combo.
Next the bad guys, our main combat in Remember Me is against two groups, the cult-like Leapers who are really just canon fodder, and Enforcers who can usually do more than just physical damage.
There is one thing that I find a little weird about the game, and it has been in the combat since early on.
Often you’ll get to a relatively large arena that gives you space to run around without being cornered too easily, when you get there you can immediately tell that a bunch of bad guys will turn up for an almost mini-boss fight, great eh? I have no problem with that, but I do take issue in that early on the game decides to make these sort of wave based, you defeat the first group who spawn when you get to an area and once they are all done a second and third wave arrives, I can’t explain why but it just feels amazingly lazy to me.
As for individual units, we have Leaper Berserkers who gain shielding if you have regular Leapers around.
We have visible Leapers who can only be seen (and fought) in the light.
We have Enforcers who… are electrified and you get hurt for attacking them, even if you use a ranged weapon (but an immediate take-down move is perfectly fine, apparently).
Aspects of this just seem weird, since we don’t see how Leapers power up a Berserker, we don’t know why invisible Leapers exist and WHY DO I GET HURT USING RANGED WEAPONS, these elements of combat just don’t make a great deal of sense to me and really feels like they were added in to make the combat different between types of bad guys.
Finally we’ve got the memory remixing, a great little segment in which we can essentially go in, alter a variable in someone’s memory and change their personalities, so far this is used as a plot device that gets used to draw sympathies from people or drive home the dangers of playing around with the memory for fun or therapy, we have one bad guy declare “By the time I am done, you will think you always adored me” to one character.
It really opens up deeper questions, if we are the product of our experiences just how much of a change to our memories would it take to fundamentally change who we are?
Now, I can understand why you might think that I dislike the game but anyone who knows me should by now know that I try to be critical of the things I love as much as the things I dislike and so far I really do love this game.
Rather than focus on what I dislike I will actually say what I feel would have improved things.
Instead of having specific paths through areas, I would have loved to have seen this tackled as more of an open-world (even without going full open-world), with multiple paths and all possible climb-ables highlighted by the UI/Augmented Reality, and the quickest route to our destination being specially marked.
In my opinion apart from Le Bastille, the linear pathing in Remember Me just hurts the setting, we even have a couple of areas where things we climb across break under us, meaning we have no way to get back along the exact same route.
Add persistent NPC’s in an area, that you see repeatedly and respond to your actions, so you might start out with people being friendly and then by Chapter 6 the same faces are blaming you for what’s happened, it would make the entire thing feel more natural than random people knowing you’re the one who flooded the area.
Adding more of an open-world element to the areas would also allow the game to hide more bonuses around for exploration junkies.
Now my biggest issue with the combat as a whole is that we unlock moves through an RPG-like level up system, with skills being unlocked as the story requires it.
I feel it would have been much better if instead of the level up system for regular fighting moves, we had something where moves are unlocked through the Memory Overload move, essentially sucking combat knowledge out of the brains of our enemies, or even just using the sections where we have to interact with the brains over NPC’s as a way to add a few combat moves, though I prefer the first idea as I feel it would let us have something of a deeper element to combat, letting enemies spawn with slightly randomised combo’s and move lists and through Overload we get a chance to learn their moves.
This would allow us to learn harder moves as we progress instead of the generic “Can’t unlock this skill yet” barricade the game uses, and it makes the Memory Overload move much more valuable.
It wouldn’t be so bad if we just had a reason given why various enemies have various skills or abilities, for the Leapers at least.
The electrified Enforcer? I would dial that back so the guy doesn’t hurt you on ranged attacks, I can see no reason why an arc of electricity should hit you over range, it doesn’t make sense.
But most importantly, the wave based arenas? Ditch that thinking right now, instead of waves add a way for both Leapers and Enforcers to call for backup, make it something tactical so two guys will try and distract you while a third calls in for reinforcements, you get a few seconds to interrupt him before the call goes through.
I figure this would make things more interesting, for players who just want to level up and go full combat they can do this, just let the guy on the radio keep going, but it also means these arenas don’t feel artificially expanded, the fights are only as long as you let them be.
If you make it so they only call for backup if under X-amount, you can ramp that number up over time so by the third chapter you can end up with a fight that starts with four people and quickly rises to eight.
It would just stop these portions of the game feeling so artificial.
As I said when I started, I believe I am almost through this game and I have only had three instances of Memory Remixing.
I understand that this isn’t going to be the easiest thing to expand, I don’t expect the game to allow you to remix every NPC you see in game, but it would have been great if this was just expanded somehow, maybe add a way to track whether an area supports your cause or not, using the remixing as a way to increase support (and allowing you to hide easier from Enforcer patrols) but too much remixing increases the chance of Leapers.
You could take it further so that you can gain favour with an area through remixing or through quests/activities, so it’s either a time-sink or carries danger.
As I say, these are just ideas on how to improve the game, to make the world of the game feel more alive and natural, but even without these I am still loving the game, I guess I would just like to see it pushed further as I really feel the game could take it.
Now for the sad parts, the game is three and a half years old at this point and still upwards of £20 on average, but it does come down to under £5 in the Steam Sales, I know I wouldn’t have put £20 down for the game before I had actually played it, though it is now a few years old so I am surprised to see the price still relatively high, but I would definitely advise it if the price comes down to the £15 or under mark.
But more importantly, the only bonus content (read: DLC) in the game is a set of extra moves, there’s no expansion to the game itself and as I hear it there are no plans from Capcom to push forward with a sequel, so unlike other titles that might be similar, this is looking to be a one trick pony.
If a sequel ever does come out I will be in line for it, but til then this game will go into my “Why didn’t I hear of it sooner?” pile
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