Remember Me is an action-adventure sci-fi game from the incredible minds that brought us the universally adored Life is Strange. Yet their sophomore effort has totally eclipsed Dontnod’s ironically forgotten first foray into the world of gaming. So, as a look into Dontnod’s very brief history, I’ve decided to play through Remember Me to see whether this game actually deserves it’s titular request.
Remember Me from the beginning is an incredibly intriguing prospect. Set in 2084, in a world where memories have become digitised, a commodity, anyone can upload their memories to the internet (much like people do now to Instagram and Tumblr) so they can never be forgotten. But while this has created a safeguard for all their positive memories, it has also allowed the disposal of negative memories with Memorize, the company controlling it all, now essentially running an Orwellianesque surveillance state where any opposition can be conditioned and have their memories removed.
Now if your interest is not piqued by that premise then there is something wrong with you and you must seek immediate medical attention. Seriously, there must be something wrong with you. The story is very interesting as, while the ending may be strange and a little predictable, it is told in a way that does not let you see things in white and black. As an ‘Errorist’ fighting for freedom from Memorize’s oppression, it shows you the vast disparity of peoples created in this world, vindicating your cause whilst also not forgetting that your actions, diving into people’s memories and twisting them to your ends, is just ever so slightly morally reprehensible. Though it can be argued it doesn’t follow through all the way to the end, it; still very interesting to see and act out.
Not to get too sidetracked here, but I love that Dontnod stuck to their guns, metaphorically speaking, and refused to back down and make Nilin a man despite publisher’s saying that it would sell better if they were to switch her gender. Against the bland, muscular, gun-toting, whit-washed men that have run rampant through the video game industry for what seems like it could have it’s on historical age named in history books, the mixed-race;
It’s stupid how refreshing that is and, while the game industry is definitely learning it’s lesson (e.g.: rebooted Lara Croft, Elizabeth from Bioshock: Infinite, Ellie from The Last of Us and even Clementine from The Walking Dead). There’s still a lot of work to do for gender equality in games but Dontnod seem to have had the right idea from their first game and it’s very refreshing to see.
One last positive thing that I can say about Remember Me is the altering memory mechanic. This part of the game really made me sit up and look for all the little details that could completely alter a way a person perceived the past and change their entire personality. It’s incredibly well done but, unfortunately, is only used sparing in a game where it’s entire premise is the altering of memory. One could argue that this very lack makes the moments special, but its lack means that we don’t get a compounded sense that our actions do have immense consequences and could truly have incredibly harmful effects.
However, that was a minor gripe. The major gripes come now. Having played Remember Me on the PC I can give you one hearty recommendation. Do not play this on PC. Seriously, this game was designed to have a game controller and the PC does not truly do it justice. While it’s completely functional on PC, it becomes quite lacking when the inevitable, repetitive combat sections loom into view.
Remember Me tries really hard to have custom combos for combat which, while a good idea in theory, have no place on the PC when the mouse is the only means by which you choose to do it. It makes sense for it to be the mouse, being able to fight and move the camera with one hand, but when you have four combo moves to use and two buttons to click pulling these intricate moves can be a complete bore before frustrating, meaning that you just spam one move which brings the same results anyway.
Also, while the game does try to bring new enemies into the fray to liven things up, as well as new abilities so that you can conquer theses foes, it all feels a little much for a game that is only 10 hours long. While in longer games this can work to its benefit, this stacks too much in too little time whilst also competing with the memory altering mechanic and simplistic platforming as well so, in the end, only the memory altering stands out because of it’s newness rather than being an interesting sole mechanic. Hell, it could have worked with two mechanics, probably platforming, but three was too much for this ship.
Speaking of cramming too much in, there are so many characters that feel like we should get long back stories for, or at the very least have them be a core part of the game, but characters come and go so quickly that you forget their importance. At least three side characters only turn up for about two or three parts of the game that we are meant to become attached to in some way but, since they’re not on screen for long, any chance of developed characters we can relate to is feebly crushed.
But the thing that’s most sad about this game is that is a game that truly could have been great. It stands on the precipice of being a game that we would be talking about for years to come and not in relation to Dontnod’s more successful second attempt. The game is beautiful to look at and the world it builds is truly marvelous and deserves to be explored more and, while Dontnod have expressed interest in this, Capcom aren’t letting it go through them so we may not see Remember Me 2 (The Re-Remembering) coming any time soon.
For all it’s flaws, it’s still an interesting story and there is enough there for an enjoyable game to be had, even with the samey combat, the story makes up for it as well as it’s interesting world. While I wouldn’t get this for full price, I bet there’s a few copies in discount game shops and on the internet so go get yourself a copy and see the genesis of Life is Strange, as well as an alright, yet flawed, game in it’s own right for yourselves.