Remember Me - Review

Remember Me Review for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

Sorry to ask, but what's the worst thing you can remember happening to you? OK, now imagine you could forget about it completely - wouldn't that be nice? In the futuristic society of Remember Me, that dream would be a reality. Rich citizens wander around Neo-Paris in blissful ignorance thanks to gizmos called Sensens, which allow the all-powerful Memorise Corporation to alter their recollections.

But while Sensens have enhanced the lives of a privileged few, a forgotten majority of Neo-Parisians are condemned to a miserable life in the slums below, either driven insane by addiction to memory splicing, or just poor and busy fighting for survival against the addicted masses and the police state that keeps things in order. You are thrown into this mix as Nilin, a revolutionary fighter who hacks into the Sensen technology to disturb people's thoughts to further your cause against Memorise.

You mostly do this by running and jumping through a mixture of beautiful, well-thought-out environments, and by punching and kicking the bad guys you encounter along the way. This is a platform brawler, then, with a touch of puzzling around the edges and a story to tell about the dangers of surrendering your soul to technology. (That's right, put down your phone and pay attention for a minute.)

Remember Me Review for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

Muscle Memory

The brawler part is pretty compelling - a combination of Batman: Arkham Asylum's free-flowing combat, where you press a button to flow into the next move as the previous one lands on its target, and customisable combos. Special moves can be used to unlock the defences of tougher enemies, and over the course of the game you become intimate with the Combo Lab, where you can design attacks to regenerate health, speed up cooldowns and deal out meaty damage.

Traversal is also enjoyable, although you rarely feel as though you're breaking the surface of the world as you clamber all over it. Instead you're expected to marvel at beautiful vistas combining famous Parisian landmarks and futuristic architecture, or scratch around the occasional secondary corridor picking up health bonuses or tablet computers that fill in a bit of the city's back-story. These would have been better as audio diaries rather than written accounts, however.

Sensen Sensibility

This is still a remarkable game in other ways, though, and most notably in the story, which takes Nilin to the very heart of Sensen and uncovers disturbing truths about her past and the people whose memories she's hunting. This strand of the game is most affecting when you actually break into those memories and remix them - standalone scenes where you rewind and fast-forward like a video cassette, altering details to see whether you can create a new outcome that will change the subject's thinking about an event in their past, and hopefully benefit you in the present.

Remember Me Review for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC at GAME

There are only a few of them, but they combine well with the considered storytelling and rich detail of the game world to elevate Remember Me beyond standard platform brawler fare, where the emphasis is more obviously on gameplay mechanics. Perhaps the balance goes too far the other way - the combat becomes repetitive and feels uncomfortable at the heart of a thoughtful game - but the difference of approach will also be refreshing to a lot of players growing disillusioned with the same generic templates recycled over and over by game developers.

It's surprising to discover that Remember Me is the first project by French studio DONTNOD, because despite some slackness in combat and a weak middle third where you spend too much time fighting through science labs, this is a game of rare intelligence and precision. The world is as beautiful as anything else we've played lately, brought to life by a memorable soundtrack, and Nilin is a likeable lead who - though the game never angles for a sequel - you will want to see in action again.

The fact that it's quite a short game with limited replay value is the strongest argument against buying it, but if you like to support thoughtful and artistic games then this may be one to add to your shopping list.

GAME's Verdict

The Good:

  • Beautifully realised world, surprisingly rich in detail.
  • Compelling characters in an interesting scenario.
  • Enjoyable combat that lets you customise combinations.

The Bad:

  • Fairly brisk at around 8-9 hours on regular difficulty.
  • Doesn't let you explore the world as much as you'd like.
  • Combat becomes repetitive and doesn't sit well with the rest of the game.
SKU: Reviews-232753
Release Date: 06/06/2013