|System: Xbox 360*, PS3, PC|
|Dev: DONTNOD Entertainment|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Violence|
by Joshua Bruce
In today’s world of Facebook status updates and incessant tweeting, we are going down a dangerous path. One that, if continued, could lead directly to the dystopian future that has been very effectively portrayed in Capcom’s newest IP - Remember Me.
The year is 2084 and in this world memories have become the social commodity of choice. You can buy, sell, and trade your memories as you see fit, which has become a socio-cultural phenomenon that has penetrated every facet of society. Although it sounds harmless, memories can become an addiction for some, one that carries with it some serious side effects. Not the least of which is turning into a deformed memory fiend called a Leaper, the dirty little secret that everyone knows about but very few acknowledge.
You play as Nilin, who was once considered the best memory hunter in the world. She has recently had her memory wiped by Memorize, an evil cooperation that is particularly terrified of Nilin’s unique abilities. Since most of her “rememberings” have been erased, you begin the game in a disoriented state, desperately trying to escape the Memorize Facility. However, with the help of Edge (a friend from your past) you are guided to safety in a short scripted escape, eventually landing you in the bowels of Slum 404, the seedy underbelly of Neo-Paris.
This is where you first meet the Leapers. These twisted former humans draw a very distinct line between friend and foe, and, unfortunately, you are on the wrong side of it. This is also your first taste of combat and the introduction to the Combo Lab.
The Combo Lab is Remember Me’s core character-development mechanic. Basically, as you fight off the hordes of Leapers and Neo-Paris’s security personnel, you gain PMP (Procedural Mastery Power) which acts as experience points to unlock the next Pressen (fighting ability) to add to your arsenal of attacks. Essentially, the idea here is that Nilin knew these abilities before, but fighting and performing combos for PMP unlock them in her memory, reminding her of her former badassery.
The Combo Lab is an interesting concept. There are four basic Pressen types – Regen, Power, Cooldown, and Chain. Each adds a bonus of their respective type and can be used in any combo, as long as they match the specific button (X, Y, etc.) For instance, if you want a powerful attack combo, you would use as many Power Pressens as possible in your combo. But if you’re looking for more balance in your fight style, you can add Regen Pressens to recover health during combat, Chain Pressens to add bonus damage, or Cooldown Pressens to make your S-Pressens recover faster.
S-Pressens are special moves/abilities that can turn a situation in your favor, and they require focus to use. Focus is akin to mana, and can be gained by successfully landing combos on your enemies. All of these character and combat mechanics force the player to focus on their combos, instead of just allowing the game to turn into a button masher, which it could have easily been. This sounds great, but the in-game execution of these tools during combat tends to keep your attention on your combo display, instead of on the action where it belongs. Sometimes, this can make for frustrating combat situations that take you out of the action.
Another new feature of Remember Me’s original personality is the Memory Remix. Memory Remixes function as a mini-game, but have a lot more to offer than a typical in-game sidetrack. Basically, Nilin has the unique ability to enter another person’s SenSen (the memory interface located on the back of the neck) and change a key memory, thus altering the person’s perception of her or even the world as a whole. These sequences are an integral narrative tool within the story of the game.
They contain information about character backstories and become progressively important to the events of the game as you proceed. They are pretty much an interactive cutscene that you have the ability to rewind or fast-forward, looking for key moments and items to interact with and change the outcome of the memory. While they are littered throughout the game, they are all scripted into the story at set points. I would have liked to have seen more flexibility with this particular feature, such as integration into the rest of the game and combat.
Although, Remixes aren’t the only storytelling tool that Remember Me employs. A fully realized dystopian society is painted on the canvas of 2084 Neo-Paris. And Nilin’s journey through the bowels of the city to recover her personal memories, rediscover herself, and bring down Memorize in the process is a truly memorable (pun intended) experience. This story being told through memory recovery adds an interesting layer to gameplay as well. Instead of traversing a story where set events just happen and playing a generic character that is able to do x,y, and z – you take on the role of a character who is relearning her powers and her past, and as the pieces of the puzzle come together you begin to understand Nilin’s past and the story surrounding it.