Remember Me review – sexy looks but lacking in performance

Take a look at our Remember Me review which explores the world of Neo Paris in 2048 where there is a monopoly on people’s memories amongst civil unrest and mutants to name but a few things from our future.

Remember Me is another new IP from Capcom who a year or so ago enjoyed success with its Dragon’s Dogma role playing game. Whilst Remember Me and Dragon’s Dogma couldn’t be any more worlds apart from each other, they will have both had to tackle the struggles of warming to fickle and critical gamers of our current times. With its action combat slant and dystopian city of Neo Paris, is Remember Me a game that’s going to enthrall and amaze gamers, or simply one of those run of the mill offerings which won’t catch on with the masses.

Truthfully, there are elements of the game which pander to both, in that on one side of the coin Nilin and her escapades draw you in, yet on the other, the execution is a little sloppy. Neo Paris is a joy to behold with all its finer details developer DONTNOD has placed inside to create a real and vibrant looking vision of our future. There’s no escaping the fact that in concept the game’s premise is solid, and as players run and jump, fight their way through the game find solace in a city that’s beaming with colour and visual fidelity. It’s a work of artistic expression, and that alone is possibly enough to draw some players into the fold.

Nilin’s adventures start off on a good footing as she escapes her captors and begins the process of regaining her memories. The linear level design does little to offer much deviation from the cause which is a shame and could have provided a little more scope. The seemingly open areas offer very little to no interactions, so although the Paris streets are filled with bots, and humans, Nilin can’t engage at all which seems unnatural. It’s almost like looking at a picture rather than being a part of the world.

So, the primary gameplay revolves around running and jumping to get from A to B. This is handled with reasonable aplomb with its fixed camera angles and speedy delivery, and yet there are problems with the animations and general responsiveness of the controls which can make for some frustrating deaths. Luckily, the checkpoint system is extremely forgiving, somewhat negating any fear of falling to one’s demise. There’s one section versus a flying ship which is as scripted as they come, but is simply the worst design choice to include in the game. Whoever, thought it a good idea needs to be shot. No really they do as it simply feels disjointed and badly implemented where one wrong move in a split second equals death.

The combat is also a major part of the gameplay versus a varied mixture of human type enemies who adopt their own attack pattens for players to figure out. The combat is fairly solid, and relies on a combo system which players have to go to a menu to swap around combo bonuses. It’s an interesting system where players are encouraged to experiment, yet at the same time, the whole process is slow and takes you out of the game completely. A big mistake. What’s more, one can spend quite some time rearranging combos to suit particular encounters only to die in battle and have the combos reset. This is a really poor move and should have allowed for a manual save of combos.

That said, the fighting is engaging, although a little by numbers as players tap the same buttons over and over. A lot more variations would have been well suited here, and especially as they aren’t all available at once. It seems DONTNOD cheeped out on the number of attack moves, although there are several special moves which prove to be more interesting. Sadly, most of the game is regaining these abilities and so using them is rather staggered. There’s no New Game Plus mode either where the abilities can be used from the off to turn the tides of battle. Another list of complaints with the fighting is how some enemies can simply grab Nilin mid combo which is not only cheap but very annoying reducing what little fun there is into bouts of more frustration. The lock on feature is also terrible, where it becomes almost impossible to target the enemy you’re after, again resulting in more frustration. On the whole, the combat could have done with more refinement, because as it is, it’s simply too disjointed to provide much fun.

As Nilin is a master memory hunter, there are moments throughout the game where she engages in Memory remixes by entering a target’s mind and altering their memory. These are interesting distractions that could have offered much more. Not only are there too few of them, but the options contained within are a little limited. It would have been great to have a few more outcomes and ways to alter the memories. They are really very much a one time deal, leaving no scope for doing things differently on a subsequent play through.

Remember Me does feature some really fine visuals which are perhaps enough to forgive some of the game’s shortcomings, depending on what sort of gamer you are. Neo Paris is amazing, to look at, and does make for an interesting backdrop. Aside from some poor animations and lack of interactivity, the only criticism here lies with the camera being too close to Nilin at times.

The Audio fares remarkably well too with some solid performances all round and a rousing score that fuses classical with electronic distortions which compliment the futuristic design of Neo Paris. Sound effects and ambient noises are reasonable, although players move though the city with such pace, it’s easy to miss the small nuances scattered and hidden in the nooks and crannies.

In terms of longevity, Remember Me is very much a one time deal that will last between 6-8 hours, which is a shame really. There is a tougher difficulty and collectibles to find, but a real lack of exploration means that players aren’t encouraged to find their own paths which lets the replay value down considerably. Also the game’s pacing is steeped in moments where Nilin is forced to walk whilst listening to banter which slows the game down and provides a stop start experience which isn’t so great. What’s perhaps worse is being unable to skip any scenes regardless of whether you’ve played the game already, or are simply impatient. DONTNOD really want gamers to follow the story if nothing else.

Remember Me, is a valiant first effort and a good introduction to what could be a cool and calculated series. However, there are simply too many areas which could have been better realized to make a more appealing game. Sure, the looks are perfect and the best part of the adventure, but the gameplay is simply lacking even though there’s some excellent ideas thrown into the pot.

In this regard Remember Me scores a 7/10 as there’s certainly lots of headroom for improvement.

Score 7/10 – review by Robert Cram

Written by: Robert Cram

Robert Cram has hundreds of video game reviews and thousands of articles under his belt. He aims to remain objective and fair in his analysis. With years of experience, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement is entirely optional.