One of the few releases I was looking forward to most this year was Dontnod’s Remember Me. I knew very little about it so I was pleasantly surprised to see it before me at PAX East this weekend. But what I found was that there are even fewer releases that I’m excited for this year now.
In a Neo-Paris in 2084, you play a woman named Nilin who is a “memory hunter” and can enter people’s memories to rearrange them in an act of manipulation. The demo I played through had me following orders from a man on a radio frequency claiming to know her. Nilin, however, forgot who this man is. This is absolutely no problem to her as she blindly follows the directions he’s giving her to get through the city. Maybe she’s never heard of not talking to strangers?
The story has Nilin trying to get back the memories that her former employer erased from her. You get a sense that society has deteriorated and there’s a heavy dystopian vibe from this Neo-Paris. The entire part of the city I played through looked like a crack den, so its citizens fit right in.
Let me start by saying the controls felt off, as though the game had not been polished over to make the motions meet the commands. Nilin felt heavy even though she’s supposed to be a nimble parkour expert. She can climb over things with ease, however it’s not nearly as fluid as when you do it in games like Assassin’s Creed or Mirror’s Edge. Which is a problem because it just so happens it’s a large part of the game. The demo was very linear and the only way to get to point B from A was by pressing the A button to climb and jump over obstacles. Thanks to unclear distinctions between where you’re supposed to jump to and where you’ll fall, there are plenty of easy ways to die. This would be fine if the load times weren’t atrocious and frequent; every death equals a loading screen.
It’s not all jumping over stuff, though; Remember Me has a currency that will allow you to buy things at shops. I was also treated to a little minigame-esque feature where I’m assigned to look at a photo and find out where a package within that area is leading to a reward of money; think of those missions in inFAMOUS.
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The combat found within Remember Me can also fall victim to the clunky controls. I didn’t feel that it was fluid at all, and became repetitive very quickly. It looks like it could really benefit from taking on the control schemes, combo opportunities, and fluidity of games like the Arkham series or Sleeping Dogs.
All in all, I’d say Remember Me is my biggest disappointment of PAX East. It’s a shame to see a game that doesn’t try something new, but it’s even more of a shame when it doesn’t even take what works and does it the same to ensure it’ll be good. I would like to have more time playing through the parts that have you changing a person’s memories, but only if I don’t have to sit through arduous load times. Hopefully it gets polished up by the time it releases on June 4th.