Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Review: Remember Me (360)

 

There are memories we'd all like to forget. For me, a big one I'd love erased from my head was Mitch Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies delivering a big, fat gopher ball, a World Series-losing gopher ball, to Joe bleeping Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993. Yeah, that's one I could do without.

Well, in the world of 2084 Neo-Paris, in the action-adventure title Remember Me on the Xbox 360, that is entirely possible: to have my painful memory altered or erased, so Joe Carter's homer is forgotten entirely.

Memories can be sold, traded, bought and erased or altered, in digitized form, becoming a new world currency. Memory hunters acquire these memories, and the game's protagonist, Nilin, is a extremely special hunter, having the ability to alter and steal memories. But only a select few individuals handle this future power, leading to the inevitable: corruption amongst these elite, who have turned a utopian dream into a real-world nightmare for so many. And as part of that corrupt mindset, they fear their biggest asset: Nilin herself. They arrest her and set out to erase her memories, but at the last moment, she is aided in escaping that fate
by Edge, who presents himself to Nilin as a member of the Errorists.

To combat this corruption, the Errorists have plotted to destroy the storage unit of M3morize. And Edge helps Nilin escape because she is the only one – for some very important reasons that will be revealed in the latter stages of the game ‑ that can provide that ultimate solution: the total destruction of the M3morize data storage unit, which with its demise will return all the stored memories to their original owners.

At its core, Remember Me is a standard third-person action-adventure game, with some shooter elements, but mostly button-mashing brawler fighting. Most of the gameplay has Nilin searching for a way into the M3morize facility, battling not only against M3morize soldiers, but also leapers, who are mutated humans, the unfortunate result of those that have their memory not-quite wiped clean. Fighting controls are pretty standard, with the somewhat unique combo creation lab making it possible for gamers to create combos to use in fights. There are moves that can be unlocked, and stringing them together creates combinations that, when done smartly, give Nilin superior fighting skills and also provide other gameplay-enhancing results, such as regenerating health or giving her special attacks for a limited time. Unfortunately most battles just regress to simply dodging enemy attacks while button-mashing through any opposing forces. There are a few boss battles, but dodge them long enough and use the combos along with Nilin's shooting ability from her right hand, and they'll fall eventually, although some may need a few combo reshuffles to be successful "kills".

While fighting controls are perfectly suited for Remember Me's needs, the general movement controls are way too loose, especially considering the amount of Parkour-style jumping that is needed. This results in many mistimed jumps into the definitely wrong place, sending Nilin plummeting to an unintended demise.

The other aspect of Remember Me that has it stand out from other similar action-adventure games is the memory remix puzzles. While most of the game is filled with simple puzzles and sometimes-confusing riddles (to its credit, the game gives you the solution if it begins to take too long to figure them out, alleviating any possible choke point), there are a few memory remix "puzzles". Gamers must "remix" people's memories, people who have significant influence in Nilin finding her way to the memory server. Seems like a smart gameplay component when describing it, but it can get confusing and frustrating and the "pause" control is overly annoying, because it becomes difficult to stop just at the right point without a few rewinds/fast forwards.


And if by chance you picked the wrong memory glitches to remix the intended target's memory, you have to often times go back to the beginning. Most remixes ask you to change someone's memory to think they've killed someone, which seems somewhat lazy, almost like the developers just hit "default" and hoped gamers wouldn't notice the end result is nearly always the same: someone dies in the remix memory.

Remember Me has an interesting concept and single-player-only storyline, albeit somewhat confusing and vaguely familiar (it has some similarities to Total Recall in many respects). It's a good action-adventure gamers won't forget too quickly (although a lack of multiplayer makes it fade from memory sooner rather than later), despite some of the core elements being not as innovative or unique as they might seem, or as in the case of the memory remixes, not quite as unforgettable as they should be.

- Lee Cieniawa

The Good:
- Enough gameplay diversity and interesting Neo-Paris environments to traverse to keep gamers involved and interested until the very end of the single-player-only adventure

The Bad:
- The general movement controls are way too loose, especially considering the amount of Parkour-style jumping that is needed
 - The memory remix seems like a smart gameplay component when describing it, but it can get confusing and frustrating, and the "pause" control is overly annoying, because it becomes difficult to stop just at the right point without a few rewinds/fast forwards

Score: 8.0 / 10

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