I’m not entirely sure why people said Remember Me was like Mirror’s Edge. Despite being in Cologne at the time, I missed its reveal at 2012’s Gamescom, and all I heard about it time and again was Mirror’s Edge mixed with Deus Ex. The pessimist in me says that it’s simply because lead character Nilin has some resemblance to Faith Connors, but is the idea of a protagonist being a non-Caucasian athletic short-haired lady so singular that we must group the two games together. If it’s because of the free running and the dystopic landscape however, then the comparison is dead wrong. Mirror’s Edge had freedom of movement, a trademark art style and a bucket of polish. What we got to see of Remember Me at MCM was a wreck.
A free tip for you, Dontnod Entertainment (I wonder if the people who came up with that name ever actually said it out loud): if your main character is supposedly a nimble little roof-rat, try not to make it feel like she’s carrying several tons of bricks and stones in her pockets. Nilin might look like a free runner, but when playing as her she handles like someone from Gears of War – heavy, and laboured. The small section we were given to play was like the boring parts of Uncharted (except with Syndicate’s art style), a bunch of jumps and ladders and an attempt at a cinematic ‘running away’ bit. On top of the clunkiness, the game refused to let itself feel like an adventure. Something I overheard in the queue was a guy watching over his friend’s shoulder, and muttering, “this game tells you way too fucking much.” It’s true; once you’ve so much as set your feet on the next platform, the UI instantly points you to your next ledge, complete with a bright yellow marker that assumes you’re a mindless moth to its flame. Come here, do this, jump that, be bored by these, etc. The art of free running suddenly feels like an incredibly rudimentary task.
Remember Me doesn’t just lack polish in the gameplay department, either. As well as getting some rather odd clipping and textures that took about three times as long to pop in as they should, the load times are especially atrocious. After dying from failing a jump (I’ll persist that it was the control’s fault, not mine), I was thrown into a loading screen that went for about twenty seconds. ‘Damn, looks like they’re sending me back pretty far’ I thought. Another ten seconds passed, and I was respawned exactly where I died. Complaining about a thirty second wait seems pretty first-world, but I dread to think what Remember Me is like to play on a particularly hard part with plenty of retries. To be brutally honest, plus points for Remember Me are few and far between. The story has potential to be interesting, the visuals aren’t bad if you’re into that Blade Runner-type look (although, as mentioned before, it’s not anything that we haven’t seen plenty of this generation) and, although this is certainly not something you should be hearing from a hands-on session, the trailer they provided showed some sections later on which looked a lot more adventurous.
Still, by the looks of things now, Remember Me is not something that should be at the top of your priority list. In fact, despite the issues I had with it, I’d say last March’s Tomb Raider would be a much better buy if it’s this kind of action adventure you’re after. Remember Me drops at the beginning of next month; I wish it all the best, but my expectations are through the floor.