Review: Remember Me (Sony PlayStation 3)
by Ashe Collins on June 14, 2013

coverRemember Me
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Genre: Action
Release Date: 06/04/2013

Remember Me is an action brawler set in a cyberpunk future Paris where stealing memories is in, the anti-establishment movement has a few ideas on how to take down those abusing their power over our own memories, and you get a lot of interesting moves and combos to do it all in.  The game has a great setting and some interesting characters, but some are going to find it too linear and at times the combat can feel a little clunky, but I found the story and interesting boss fights make up for it.  Let’s take a look.

We start off in Neo-Paris in 2084 in the new Bastille Fortress run by the Memorize corporation. Nilin, a former Memory Hunter for the company is there getting the last of her memory wiped for a crime she can’t remember. The end results don’t look pleasant and a mysterious man called Edge contacts her over her comms and tells her he’s going to help her escape. Nilin makes it into the slums and fights her way past Leapers, people whose Sensen, the tech in nearly all of the population to access memories, has deteriorated, causing them to mutate into nearly mindless monsters. She finds out she’s part of the Errorist movement, a group that is fighting against the insane amount of control Memorize has over the population, control they’re exerting over them that is even stronger than the government.

slumsNilin gets her remix tech and clothing back from Tommy, a fellow Errorist running a bar in the slums so she can go in and rearrange the memories of people and free the other Errorists. Edge fills her in on the details that she is actually a master at doing this and we end up getting an impromptu demonstration as a bounty hunter named Olga attacks and Nilin is forced to go in and remix Olga’s memories so that Olga is working for them. From there things get dicey as Nilin meets with more contacts trying to piece together her own memories that lead to her breaking back into the Bastille Fortress to try and retrieve her own memories stored there and free the Errorists that are being held in the prison. Things don’t end there as events get even more complex and Nilin is forced to go after the head of Memorize itself.

While there are a few twists and turns, the story is fairy linear and felt a little like Johnny Mnemonic with a healthy dose of several other recurring themes in cyberpunk games and stories. If you’re paying attention it might not even be a twist at all but a logical conclusion as the clues are there. Giant robots, stealing memories, corporations with the power of governments, mercenary thugs, are all staples of the genre, all present, and all a lot of fun. The characters are fairly interesting and well developed, even the bad guy boss who you meet early on who I thought was just a thug had a few things going for him that took him beyond that and made him far more interesting.

climbingVisually the game has a lot going on for it. The designs all look good and characters all move really well on screen. Through your Sensen you can see different information about areas you’re passing by that pop up on screen. There are little touches like that all over that bring Neo-Paris to life. There are some issues during combat with clipping in small areas as Nilin tries to move around, but for the most part it looks fluid and feels solid. There are some nice touches as Nilin moves around and through the enemy groups using the walls and other environmental bits to finish people off in. The world feels gritty and lived in and while not quite as atmospheric as, say, Metro: Last Light, I did spend quite a bit of time just slowly walking around with Nilin taking in all the great design work put into Neo-Paris. It really does feel like a functioning city with a living population in it which is quite a feat. They’ve got a pretty diverse range of vocal talent in this and they do a great job of bringing these characters to life. The sounds of the area all work really well together and fit what you’re seeing on screen well. I also really like the music from Olivier Deriviere that really fits the game and world well really hitting when it needs to and what it needs to deliver during combat or a particular scene.

Controls are pretty standard action fare. The left analog controls movement, the right controls camera. Triangle and square handle combat moves. L2 brings up the S-PRESSEN menu to select special attacks that you build up focus to activate. L1 lets you target with your arm weapon specific objects to interact with remotely as well as enemies crawling on walls. When you’re remixing memories you use the left analog stick to stop the memory and to change things. Controls feel a bit off remixing but once you figure it out it works a little better. It’s also a bit sluggish firing off combos but attacks fire off when you hit the button for it as well as flipping over the enemy to keep from getting hit. There are a few quick time events, but they are usually tied to finishing off a boss or to linking to a memory so that you have the same access they do and they are very sparse in the game and make sense when they show up.

boss fightMost of the gameplay is built around combat with groups of humanoid enemies, be they leapers or guards. You string together combos of your own creation by selecting different moves that either deal more damage, reduce cool down on special attacks, heal yourself, or dish out extra damage. Combos can be changed out at any time but are limited by having certain moves mixed into the line between square and triangle options. You get points that you can then unlock more attack options, which are strung between several combo chains that unlock as you move through the game. When you fire off combos and the longer they are the more strength they have, but they also allow you to do an overload attack that goes right for you victim’s Sensen unit and messes them up but also grants you bonus points toward unlocking more combo moves.

One of the more interesting aspects is the remixing of memories which doesn’t get utilized very often for as much as it’s mentioned but are great sequences. The idea is to make enough changes in a memory so that it advances to side with your goals. There is a bit of platforming which moves very well along as you move through the city. That feels completely natural and doesn’t feel out of place at all as you move through the levels. The boss fights were actually some of my favorite combat moments as you work to try and figure out how to get around their defenses to take them down. Each one is different and requires a bit of timing and the right combination to get to them which made it interesting. To go with remixing memories, you can also tie into Remembrance points that let you see a memory in a spot, like the path someone walked to get around mines, or which door they went through so you can get to where you need to be. Keeping up with a memory in a mine field can be pretty exciting.

remixAs far as going back and playing again, unless you’re playing on max difficulty and take care of all the tasks on the trophy list, you’re not going to beat this in one run. There are also side bonuses off the beaten path that increase your health, raise how much focus you can keep to activate special attacks, and unlock more lore about the world. On the other hand, once you’ve beaten the game you’ve seen all there is to it other than finding those hidden items and unlocking character models and artwork in the extras menu. So if you don’t like the story or even if you do there’s not much to come back to unless you really like fighting through the world.

You’ve got about ten to twenty hours depending on how you play the game. My sauntering meander through the game the first time just checking anything and everything out took much longer than someone racing through would but it’s a decent run. You’ve got options for difficulty and the game does get a bit harder as you go but gives you the options to change up your abilities to combat that. While this will feel similar to anyone familiar with the cyberpunk genre, there are lots of ideas that are put together this way for the first time and it really feels like its own world and not a rip off of someone else’s so that helps immensely. The only thing that really sets the gameplay apart though is the ability to create your own combos and the special attacks.

leaper fightIt was very easy to get lost in the game while I was playing. It strikes the right balance of moving around and actually having to fight through a group of bad guys instead of sending nothing but streams of them at you just because they can. It really fuels the immersion with the game and it was a blast to keep playing through. Even my family who usually doesn’t watch me play games was mildly interested. I did have the game lock up on me once while I was playing but I think that was my PS3 and not the game itself. After I cleaned it out with a can of air I didn’t have any issues and the day it happened was hotter than any we’d had in awhile. This was a game I was really looking forward to playing as I love the genre and the idea of playing someone who was looking for who they were because of wiped memories was very intriguing. While the combat being sluggish was a detractor I felt the story made up for it, but that’s making this a bit harder to recommend for people looking for an action title.

Short Attention Span Summary
While Remember Me has a slightly less than stellar actual combat, it has some great ideas behind it and being able to change combos means customizing the fighting more to your personal style making it easier to play with its quirkiness. Remember Me is a game that you come to for the style, the story, the setting and the characters. While it revisits some of the ideas we’ve seen in the cyberpunk genre over the years it definitely makes them its own and while it’s very linear it’s definitely worth a look if you’re into the genre and action titles. This might be more of a one and done title for most though as it is so linear storywise, but I’ll be coming back to it again soon.



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Ashe Collins

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