“The name’s Nilin, and this time, you’ll REMEMBER ME.” – A Review

Warning: Though I generally do my best to avoid them, there may be minor spoilers.  That being said, nothing should compromise your enjoyment or gameplay.

Image courtesy of masonicgamer.com

Welcome to Neo-Paris in the year 2084.  Technology is more prominent than ever, and much of the world is suffering for it.  Sensen, a futuristic mind assistant, controls everyone’s lives – for some it is a blessing, for others a curse.

Meet Nilin (pronounced nill-in), an Errorist – that is, a memory hunter.  Using a rare form of Sensen technology, Nilin has the ability to invade people’s minds – to take their memories, to destroy them, and to change them.

image courtesy of tumblr.com

The Errorists are revolutionaries, determined to end the rule of technology by destroying M3morize, the corporation monopolizing memories.  The population has become overly dependent upon Sensen — it is used for everything from making calls to displaying shop names and caution signs.  It is used to remove the negative memories of the blissfully unaware elitist class as well as to punish criminals and submit them to human testing.

Our story begins in the Bastille Fortress, where Nilin has been captured, imprisoned, and had her memory wiped.  With the help of the mysterious “brother” named Edge she is able to escape, and so begins the journey to regain her memory and to punish those who took it from her.

Remember Me is a captivating game.  Though the campaign only took me about 10 hours on the medium-level difficulty, I do not regret the money I spent to get it on release day, and there are a number of reasons why.

(1)    The Story.

I absolutely love the story.  I’m sure that I am not the only person who starts a game by making guesses about where the story will go – who will betray, who will falter, who will change sides, etc.  But I found myself surprised at every turn.  The storyline is original and captivating and, in some ways, scary.  Now, when I say scary, I don’t mean that I was jumping out of my seat or screaming at my tv – no, I mean that it made me think.  In some ways, Remember Me is a psychological thriller.  In fact, the creators said in this interview that the story was inspired by modern social media and its impact on society.  How do you think social media will be defined 70 years from now?  I for one hope that this story remains just that – a story.  This is not the type of change I want to see come to life in the future.

(2)    The Combo Lab & Special Abilities

In a traditional Capcom Devil May Cry sense, the action gameplay is heavily dependent upon combos.   Luckily, Remember Me does a fantastic job of distinguishing itself from other games.  Rather than have a set list of defined combos, you get to make your own.  As the game continues, you unlock pressens, links that can be combined in order to create completely customized combos (heh… alliteration is fun).  There are 4 pressen types – damage (inflicts damage on the enemy), regeneration (increases your health), cooldown (reduces the cooldown rate on special attacks), and chain (amplifies other pressens).  Every enemy you kill increases your total number of procedural mastering points (PMPs) – which is really just a fancy way of saying that you gain experience.  The more experience you have, the more pressens you can unlock, and the more powerful combos you can make.

image courtesy of nerdist.com

Now, when I say that these combos are customizable, I mean it!  For example, I spent most of the game with one of my combos completely dedicated to health regeneration.  I knew that pressing X-Y-Y-X-Y-Y would quickly fill up my health bar – all of those pressens were focused on regeneration.  But then if I found a boss fight where I needed to use a lot of my special abilities, I could easily change that combo to focus more on cooldown – perhaps I would change 3 of the regeneration pressens to cooldown pressens – that way I could maintain a comfortable level of health while still reducing cooldown time.  The options are endless, and the Combo Lab is a fantastic aspect of the game.  And it can be accessed and changed at any point in the game, even in the middle of a boss fight.

Special attacks are also a major part of gameplay.  Nilin’s power comes from a sleeve she wears on her right arm.  As the game progresses and as Nilin slowly regains her memory, her abilities increase, ultimately resulting in five special attacks:

(1) Fury –Nilin has a short rage attack where each hit increases the damage multiplier
(2) D.O.S. – All enemies are stunned for a brief period of time
(3) Camo – Nilin becomes invisible for up to 30 seconds
(4) Logic Bomb – Nilin places a short-fuse bomb on a nearby enemy
(5) Rest in Pieces – Nilin recruits an enemy drone, which attracts enemies and then blows up

Along with the Combo Lab, these special abilities make the game experience truly unique – there are countless ways to get through every skirmish, and each gamer will have their own preferences.  And unlike other games, I actually found myself using every ability.  Rather than picking a favorite or two, I found that it was easy and seamless to use them all – each has its own unique way of helping out.

(3)    Memory Remixes

image courtesy of weknowgamers.net

Memory remixes are by far the most unique aspect of Remember Me.  Nilin uses her powers to enter the mind of her victim and find a strong memory, usually something with a lot of emotional attachment and/or consequence.  The sequence begins with a short cut-scene of the memory as it actually happened.  And then Nilin’s job is to change the end result – something as small as closing a cup-holder, moving a bottle, opening a purse – and your job is to choose the right things to change in order to alter the memory.   And keep in mind that this only changes the memory of what happened, not the event itself.

I don’t want to discuss the details too much since it is so much fun to figure out on your own.  And if it’s not too late, I would advise not to watch any of the remix trailers – I watched one, and it definitely spoiled the scene.

The memory remixes, though rare, are a seamless part of the story.  They execute perfectly, and they always make sense.  This is not a game where you will find yourself doing meaningless tasks or wondering why you have to bother with this or that – no, everything you do is important, and it all weaves together perfectly.

(4)    The Score

I don’t really have much to say here, except please take the time to LISTEN TO IT.  The score is absolutely fantastic, and I can guarantee that I will own it.  To put that it in perspective, I would like to point out that I have never owned a video game soundtrack before.  This is the first time I have ever taken the initiative to listen to the music separately from the game.

(5)    The Enemies

The enemies in this game are truly fantastic.  From the Gollum-type Prowler Leapers to the electrifying Elite Enforcers – there are just enough different types to keep you on your feet, but while still letting you get used to them and learn how they move and act.  By the time you reach the last few episodes of the game, you’ll have met every enemy type and you’ll know how to beat them all individually without taking a scratch.  But then…it becomes a game of strategy.  This isn’t your boring button-masher.  When you find yourself fighting two Brute Skinner Leapers and two Elite Enforcers at the same time, you’ll need to find a very specific strategy if you want to live.  But then if you take away the two Elite Enforcers and replace them with two Seraphims, you’ll have to completely change your tactics.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa1a1NhHiA0&w=560&h=315]

Perhaps this style isn’t for everyone, but I loved it.  You know exactly how all of the enemies fight and how to defeat them, but then you have to apply what you know and adjust your strategy every time the circumstances change.  It keeps your mind working, and your mouth grinning.

(6)    Nilin

image courtesy of edge-online.com

I’m pretty sure that I want to be Nilin when I grow up.

Well…kind of.

As I said before, I found the story unpredictable and fascinating, and I found that I was always agreeing with Nilin’s choices.  It was like she was inside my head.  Any time I felt doubt about a character or about something she/we had done, she voiced the same doubt.  Any time I felt anger, she did as well.  The writers did a fantastic job of making the player want the same things that Nilin wants.

Once you play the game you’ll understand the “kind of” from above – Nilin is a great character, but everyone has their reasons for despair…

(7)    The Achievements

I enjoy games where the achievements are, well, possible.  I don’t want to have to destroy 39 enemies at one time by clenching the muscle on my left big toe…no, that’s not fun.  Achievements are the most fun when they are actually achievable by the average gamer, and Remember Me handles this well.  Just like any game, there are the regular story line achievements (completing each episode) and the difficulty achievements (completing game on hard), and there are the stragglers — things like defeating a certain enemy in a certain way, or pushing 40 leapers off of ledges (whoa.  say that 10 times fast…leapers off of ledges leapers off of ledges leapers off of ledges…).  Anyways, there’s nothing that I personally feel is impossible, and I believe that this game has just enough replayability that I’ll go back and get all of the achievements.  Since the only games I’ve ever completed achievement-wise have LEGO in the title, I think that this will be a welcome change and a happy addition to my repertoire.

image courtesy of gameinformer.com

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end – let’s look at the negatives.

(1)    The Sensen and your Environment

Imagine what would happen if you combined the beautiful landscapes and visuals of one of the more recent Assassin’s Creed games with the boring limited movement you’d find in Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within…and you’ll pretty much understand Remember Me.  The graphics are gorgeous, but you don’t really get to experience any of it.  The game has a specific path for you to follow, and unless there’s a hidden artifact nearby, you have no opinion in where that path should go.  It’s a pretty big disappointment considering that there is so much potential for more.

image courtesy of dualshockers.com

Your Sensen has the unique ability of identifying the shortest path to your destination.  The entire game is filled with little yellow arrows, always pointing you in the direction you need to go.  It makes travelling between destinations rather dull.  At one point towards the end of the game, you’ll find yourself in a tall room (maybe 4 stories high), and you’ll have to operate a number of switches and cranes in order to get to the exit.  But rather than create a puzzle for you to decipher, your Sensen leads you every step of the way, even telling you when it’s safe to jump.

For me, this is one of the biggest disappointments in the game.  There is so much potential for Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted-style platforming, but there was no initiative.

(2)    The Combat Controls

Let’s think back to the combo system I discussed earlier.  It’s great that it is so customizable, but I also found that the gameplay was not as seamless as I would have liked.  I would occasionally find myself in the middle of a combo and it would suddenly disappear, leaving Nilin vulnerable to attack until I found my bearings and started again.  I think that there are two main reasons for this issue:

(1) A combo can only be performed against one enemy; if you are in the middle of a horde and enemy B puts an arm between you and the combo you are performing on enemy A, then the combo is broken and you stumble.

(2) The button mechanics seems to fail sometimes – for example, I would begin a combo of Y-X-Y-X, but for some reason the game would do a Y attack and then begin the combo as X-Y-X (even if I hit the buttons at the correct times).  So though I may have been hoping for a cooldown combo, I would instead find myself in the middle of a regeneration combo.  Not ideal.

Though this was enough of an issue to get my attention, I would not say that it really effected my attitude towards the game, or my overall happiness.  The broken combos were few and far-between, so they were never more than a minor inconvenience.   And luckily, the game’s dodge move is seamless, allowing you to quickly evade enemies.  So when your combo breaks at least you can get away easily.

(3)    The Camera

Though it was never an issue during boss fights (probably due to the typical large arena size), the camera was sometimes a pain.  If you climb a ladder, it will follow, but then when you get to the top it will remain where it is, looking straight up into the sky.  As a relatively avid gamer, I’ve learned little things about the best ways to control a character – for example, if you’re turning the character to the left and decide to also turn the camera, you usually compensate by adjusting both sticks so that the character does not change direction.  However, there were a few times when I would do this…and the game would just fail to understand.  Nilin would continue to turn to the left even if I had my left stick pointing straight ahead.  Luckily it was a rare issue, and the camera usually cooperated.  But as with the combat controls, it was still annoying enough to gain my notice.

Those were my biggest concerns and they are really only minor in the long run.  If we are lucky enough to get a sequel, I only hope that environment interaction gets a lot more attention.

Hopefully this review gives you a good idea of what to expect from the game.  Of course I did not share all of the fun little secrets, since some of the tricks you will learn just shouldn’t be spoiled.  Be prepared for an interesting story and some really fun boss fights.

image courtesy of cheatcc.com

I purchased Remember Me for the Xbox 360.  It is also available on PS3 and PC.

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2 responses to ““The name’s Nilin, and this time, you’ll REMEMBER ME.” – A Review”

  1. Scott Avatar

    Absolutely wonderful review.

  2. Trey Sterling Avatar
    Trey Sterling

    I wasn’t impressed with the combat I saw in trailers, but the way you describe the combo system peaks my interest. I do wish I hadn’t watched that one trailer that spoiled how to do a memory remix, but it’s what made you decide to get the game, so… yeah. The concept of a future where your memories can be altered without your knowledge is genuinely scary, and also spot on the money; people already can’t remember names, numbers, addresses, etc without the help of electronics, and use things like energy drinks and steroids to alter their bodies’ performance.

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