I was more than happy to be able to play the demo of this game while at PAX East this past weekend. New IPs have been increasingly difficult to come by these days. While there are exceptions, the industry has bombarded us with sequels to just about everything under the sun. Not that all of these games are inherently bad, but it does show just how stale things can get. To that point, Remember Me is a breath of fresh air. Dontnod Entertainment has really put a lot of work into this title. From gameplay mechanics, to music, and design.
Your memories are no longer just yours. Even your most intimate memories could be sold or traded to the highest bidder. Some are even addicted to viewing others memories. Begging for their next fix, hoping for something to escape into. What if you knew that there were people out there, who could even change your memories at will? How would you be able to tell which ones were your own, and which ones were falsified? This is what we’re dealing with in the new game Remember Me. It’s 2084 in Neo-Paris. Our story follows Nillin, a former Memory Hunter who’s own memories have been erased by the people she worked for. It’s up to her to find out why they did this to her and how to get them back.
Our gameplay begins with Nillin stepping out into the slums of Neo-Paris. Graffiti and garbage litter the area. There are humanoid creatures creeping in the shadows. You’re in contact with a man named Edge, and he informs you to meet with someone named “Tommy” at the Leaking Brain: a local watering hole. From here, we employ our platforming skills a-la Uncharted. The controls for climbing and jumping our way through the slums, are solid, but they can get a little finicky. I never had an issue where I wasn’t able to catch a ledge and then ultimately fall to my death. However, there are orange arrows that point to the ledges and ladders that you can jump to next, but they can sometimes be hard to see. And when you do see them, if the angle isn’t right, you’ll wind up just walking into walls or vaulting over the same obstacle several times. Another thing I found irritating was that when you need to pull yourself up to the top of a landing platform, you need to press X (PS3) or A (Xbox) and push Up simultaneously to do it. My natural reaction is just to press up on the control stick. It’s an extra step that is really unnecessary. These aren’t constant issues, mind you; but it can get frustrating. This may be a fault of what’s been developed so far at the time of demo. I’m hoping it’s something that they’ll take note of and improve upon before the release.
Along the way, you come in contact with enemies called Leapers and Skinners. Skinners are the larger of the two enemies These guys go into a berserk state when there are several Leapers in the vicinity, making him particularly lethal. Combat in this part of the demo is hand-to-hand, similar to Batman: Arkham City. The combat system depends on using combos to defeat your enemies, but don’t think of it as button mashing. Combos are gained by using the proper buttons at the right time. You can press the Select button to open the Combolab at any time to review combos and create some of your own. Combat between enemies is fluid. While there’s no counter available (at least at this stage), but they do employ a system of evades and dodges. It’s a very effective system that saved my butt more than once. Getting the timing right on combos takes time to get used to. If you’re having trouble, evade so that you can corner your enemy and get some practice.
The graphics and game design are wonderful. I’m a sucker for cyberpunk, which is kind of what’s being shot at here. The city is gritty and beautifully detailed, the people are diverse, and Nillin is a striking woman. I’ll be honest: I smell Cosplay in my future. Transitions between gameplay and cut scenes are damn near perfect. The only draw back is that sometimes it can be a little too dark in areas of the slums, making it difficult to see important details, or to immerse yourself in the gameplay. There’s atmospheric and then there’s distracting. This is, unfortunately, the later.
The music is addicting. It’s wonderfully orchestrated, then later digitized and given a more “electronic” feel. It really blends well with the cyberpunk theme they have going for the game. It can be epic and dark, and it can be soft at the right times.
I know I put a lot of negatives into this preview, but I’m still excited as hell for this game. The story line is provocative and inciting, and despite the flaws I pointed out, the gameplay is fun and on par with just about any AAA rated game out there. I’m hoping by the time of release, Dontnod will have fixed at least a few of the issues I noted today. Even then, it won’t stop me from buying it! Remember Me is slated to come out on June 4, 2013.
Publisher: Capcom Developer: Dontnod
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360