How many times have you wished you could go back and change something in your life? Taken a different path or simply said something differently? No matter how hard one tries, life will always be full of some sort of regret. Too many variables make it impossible to get things right every time. Remember Me is a game entirely about how small changes can make the world of difference, set in a futuristic vision of Paris where the manipulation of memories are possible, both for good and nefarious reasons.
It’s an impressively philosophical concept, and one that is immediately fascinating. While as time progresses, Remember Me turns a little safe and predictable in its story telling, it still has a few Aces up its sleeve to ensure that there’s a satisfactory conclusion. Unfortunately, that doesn’t count for much when you’ve been bored by the combat and platforming that forms the basis of the actual game part of this title. Invoking the feelings I felt by the both wonderfully original and deeply disappointing, Alpha Protocol, Remember Me is that peculiar combination of highly worth experiencing yet utterly disappointing, all at once.
Things start out wonderfully positive for Remember Me. Exploring Neo-Paris is initially delightful, with its moody and unique looking architecture remaining consistently interesting. Platforming is a breeze and quite intuitive, reminding one of titles such as Enslaved. At first, it doesn’t matter that there’s a constant arrow demonstrating where to go next and what platform to leap across, as it all feels like a great adventure. The problem is, the more you play it, the more you realise that this is all that’s available. There’s no real way of deviating from the path, with only the odd place to deviate, rarely leading the player far from their original starting point. The world might look wondrous but it’s surprisingly shallow underneath.
Such shallowness continues with the combat, again with an immensely promising start. The ability to create one’s own combo moves in the Combo Lab sounds exciting. It’s something that’s not been done before and offers up so much promise. In reality, it’s really quite limited though. Players can customise what a chain of moves does, but they can’t adjust what buttons must be tapped. In the case of the Xbox 360 version, X and Y are always going to inflict damage. Similarly, there’s always a combo that involves repeated taps of X, as well as one that follows an XXYXXY pattern. Adjustments are only made in terms of what kind of Pressen is used.
These Pressens help in various different ways. One can heal the player with each blow inflicted upon an enemy, while another inflicts extra damage, or regeneration of energy. A Chain Pressen doubles the effects of all previous moves in the combo. Energy regeneration proves quite important as it is used to inflict special moves, each with a handy purpose. Still sounds promising, right? Don’t get too excited. It’s not.
The enemies, regardless of difficulty level, require quite a number of blows to defeat, meaning repetition is possible, even early on. Later stages bring more infuriating types of enemy, such as invisible ones that can only be seen using light or a particular special move, and the most irritating of all: Elite soldiers capable of inflicting damage every time you hit one. To counteract all of this, certain combos must be applied in order to keep energy regen up, as well as the player’s health bar. Flexibility is immediately reduced as each foe requires a set technique, usually relating to a battle of attrition. Keep alive long enough to regenerate energy to inflict the correct special move, before repeating the exact same process over and over. All that exciting potential is vanquished within mere moments of coming across a tough foe. Given some battles can involve a dozen or more enemies, combat gets dull and irritating fast.
There’s one shining light amongst all these disappointing mechanics, albeit a flawed one (predictably): the memory remixes. Criminally underused, these moments involve you replaying a memory and modifying certain details in order to change the outcome. It’s reminiscent of a point and click adventure scene, although controls are more console friendly than that. It’s possible to rewind and fast forward through certain moments, seeking out one or more factors that can change everything. The first one throws the player into the deep end a little steeply, after so much handholding elsewhere, but it’s a fairly involving process that’s quite rewarding. Besides the desired result, other scenes can be played out, adding some reason to experiment. A twist on the memory remixes is also available in real-time, involving Remembrances, enabling players to see the memories of other characters in order to lean important facts or clues but, again, it’s underused. There’s that precious glimpse of something special, before it all returns to safe repetition.
The potential in Remember Me is quite significant which makes it all the more disappointing that it doesn’t take advantage of the initial goodwill offered to it. For every moment that excites, another two or three will bore, leading to a quite disjointed and occasionally frustrating experience.
Verdict – Off target
Platforms Available – PC, 360, PS3
Platform Reviewed – 360
Please read this post for more details on our scoring system.
Jennifer Allen is a staff writer for 148apps, as well as regular contributor to Strategy Informer and MyM Magazine. In the past, she’s written for G4TV, GamePro and a few other sites that haven’t subsequently closed. You can find her occasionally updated blog at http://www.halycopter.com