Neo-Paris, the year 2084 is the setting for Remember Me. The Memorize Corporation has discovered a way to digitize and commoditize memories, giving people a way to delete memories that cause them pain, while allowing others to buy happier memories. All is not well in the world however, as more and more people are suffering from serious memory issues such as amnesia, and a radical group known as the Errorists seeks to destroy Memorize and the Sensen memory-sharing technology it created.
You play as Nilin, an elite memory hunter not only capable of stealing peopleís memories, but also of altering them. As a memory hunter Nilin is public enemy number one, and the game begins with her already arrested and her memory almost totally wiped. On the way to the final memory wipe an Errorist named Edge makes contact with Nilin via her Sensen device and gives her instructions on how to escape, ala Morpheus to Neo in The Matrix. Without memories of her own can Nilin really trust Edge, who seeks to have her join the Errorist cause?
Melee fighting starts off extremely simple; square punches and triangle kicks. Defeating enemies rewards you with PMP, which is used to unlock combos and Pressens. Remember Me doesnít reward you for button-bashing, instead there are four pre-set combos of various length (3, 5, 6 and 8-hits) to unlock, and you use Pressens to customize them. The first hit in a combo canít be customized, but each button thereafter can be given attributes via Pressens.
Pressens come in four forms Ė Power, Regeneration, Cooldown and Chain. Once unlocked you place these Pressens into your combos, giving your combos specific properties. Power Pressens are obviously stronger than normal attacks, while Regeneration Pressens heal you and Chain Pressens significantly increase the effect of the Pressens preceding it. Cooldown Pressens are used to reduce the cooldown on your special moves, known as S-Pressens.
Some enemies have attributes that make you want to experiment more with your combinations. For example certain members the S.A.B.R.E Force (the police) known as Enforcers are susceptible to Power attacks, and after a few hits you can unleash a finishing move on them, but only if you use Power attacks. Other S.A.B.R.E members have electric armor that actually deals you damage when you hit it, so itís important to use Regen Pressens in your combos. It would have been great if more enemies had attributes like this, but as it is it still makes you think more about your combos than you otherwise would have.
At the end of the second level you unlock the Spammer, a gun that shoots electrical impulses that overload circuits. The Spammer is used not only to open up locked doors, but also to attack the myriad of robotic enemies you encounter. Robotic enemies cannot be attacked with melee combos, so you must dispatch them with the Spammer and S-Pressens. One S-Pressen is especially useful for this as it turns the robot against your other enemies, before the robot self-destructs.
We havenít really mentioned Nilinís ability to steal and remix memories yet, but both of these skills play an important role during the game. During the game Nilin will take the memories of many characters, some willingly, others not. By taking peopleís memories Nilin can learn how to infiltrate certain buildings and bypass the security, rather than attempting this through blunt force.
The remixing of memories is more significant, as it can totally change a personís memory of an event, and in turn change their entire world view. To remix a memory Nilin goes into a memory and adjusts little things to drastically alter the outcome. Perhaps you will turn the safety off on a gun, or crack a windscreen to distract a driver at an important moment. Remixing memories is fun and can lead to many different and interesting outcomes. Youíll have to replay a memory multiple times, tinkering with different things all the time to get the outcome you seek.
Secondly, the limited number of combos is a turnoff. Itís great that you can alter the properties of the combinations via Pressens, but having just four combos to use throughout the game is quite limiting and repetitious. The last issue of note is that checkpoints are generous, as are the restart points during boss fights, making Remember Me quite easy, even on the toughest difficulty setting.
Visually, the team at DONTNOD has done a great job creating a believable Neo-Paris. You start off in the slums, which is little more than a shanty town. There is garbage all over the place and the buildings donít look entirely safe. Neon signs are in abundance, and really add to the cheap and nasty feel of the place.
Characters look fantastic throughout the game, but particularly during cut-scenes, where the resolution is buffed up to 1080p. During gameplay Nilin moves with exceptional grace, whether leaping across buildings, scampering up a pipe or in combat. Her melee moves are more akin to a Jet Li movie than reality, but it works well here. On the downside the shade effects arenít great, and have a kind of square or blocky appearance. This is only really noticeable during close-ups though, so isnít a major issue.
Aurally I was particularly impressed with Remember Me. Itís safe to say Iím a bit out of my depth trying to describe music as it really isnít my forteí. Still, the electronic-sounding music suits the game wonderfully, while at the other end of the musical spectrum the trilling flute (?) that reminded me of Koyaanisqatsi also fit the game to a tee. Towards the end of the game there is some orchestral music that builds tension to a crescendo, and it works wonderfully well.
Remember Me is an interesting game that incorporates many interesting features, not least of which is the ability to steal and remix peopleís memories. The story is slow to get going, but once it hits its stride it is actually quite entertaining in a sci-fi comic kind of way. Where I think it drops the ball a bit is in the small number of combos in the game, making combat more repetitious and unexciting than it could be. On the whole though, I enjoyed Remember Me, and definitely suggest you check it out if the science fiction story interests you.
Review By: Mike Allison