The pure fact that memory exists is frankly amazing when you really think about it. Our wrinkled mass of neurons and blood allows us to process current information and store that data for further study or application. Some we retain for days, others we retain our entire lives. As long as that lump of protein gets the energy it needs, we can retain pretty much everything. Even the act of “forgetting” is sometimes just us misfiling a thought or experience only to be found later. More than that, the human brain is still kind of a mystery… We don’t know exactly how memory works really. We don’t know how we store specific thoughts and how they are really processed. We’re close, of course, and getting closer every day – but this game puts us into a time where the human race has already cracked that nut wide open, and is currently chewing up the insides like a rabid squirrel.
Remember Me (produced by Don’t Nod Entertainment and released by Capcom) is a game I’ve flirted with for a while. I bought it on the suggestion of Robert Bell (our wonderful SPOILERFREE movie reviewer!) but never really got into it at first. I thought it was a neat third person action game, but kind of boiler plate. Nothing too special. But I recently picked it back up – I wanted to play and review a game specifically with a black female protagonist, and this is the first one I thought of. Of that very short list. More on that later. As I installed it and started a new game, instead of just trying to stave off boredom for another day, I tried to actually experience the game. What the story was. How the characters were portrayed. What was my role in the conflict. And it turns out, it grabbed me by surprise.
The main thrust of the game is we are in a far future version of Paris, France. In the opening sequence there are ads for a device called a Sensen, brought to you by the Memorize Corporation. Sensen is an implant at the base of your skull that allows people to share their happy memories with others, remove sad experiences from their minds, and share information through that connection. It became so popular that Memorize the company basically became the government. They control the flow of thought and experiences. They experiment on people in secret factories, and in a small percentage of people Sensen mutates their minds and bodies into memory addicted monsters.
We play as Nilin, a woman who escapes one of those secret labs with the help of an underground terrorist group called the Errorists, who are trying to take down Memorize. But as we progress through the initial chapter we find out that Nilin was once part of their group, but was captured, and had her memories erased.
Usually I don’t spend too much time on the setup, but to understand this game, to really get into it, the history is pretty important.
The action is built around Nilin’s ability to adjust, distort, and remove memories using a device embedded in her glove and connected to her Sensen. In a fight, in addition to punching and kicking the hell out of her opponents, she can shoot blasts that disrupt someone’s thoughts freezing them in place. She can set off energy explosions that overload their minds. And one of my favorite parts – she puts her hand directly on the back of someone’s head to fry their Sensen completely. It’s pretty damn awesome.
Learning combos is key, because you get to build your own, which honestly I’ve never seen in another game. When you gather enough XP, you can unlock different powers connected to the X or Y buttons. So you can have a combo that heals you, or one that does massive damage, or a blending of the two. Its an interesting concept, that they implement very well. This makes customizing your character to taste cool and frustrating at the same time. Should I place this move here, or not? I don’t have enough of this to do that. What will happen if I… oh no that shouldn’t have happened what the hell.
I won’t lie to you, the story’s concepts and settings are really interesting, but the voice acting? It’s a bit over the top. Not as much as a game like Blades of Time (don’t worry I’ll be getting to THAT stinker eventually), but too overwrought. Every cut scene is dramatic or important. Every character interaction is filled with emotion and depth. It’s too much, and many developers don’t realize that part of the puzzle is pretty important. For the most part the story is fun. The fact that you aren’t just trying to save the city, you’re also trying to retrieve your stolen memories – your sense of self. I liked that a lot. But not everything can be important. Not everything matters as much as the next. Without a varying degree of drama the important parts are a bit drowned out.
All in all, I would suggest this game. Especially if you are into third person action games like me. And before you say anything, yes I do like more types of games than Metroidvania.
But not nearly as much.
1 out of 5 hours past bedtime. Relatively good, but it doesn’t blow your mind.
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