I did not enjoy playing Remember Me, Capcom’s latest action adventure game. It is a game that tries very hard to break the mould of generic off-the-shelf design plus predictable story, but unfortunately, it never quite comes together. It has a lot going for it – the graphics are gorgeous, the female heroine is just what a female heroine should be, the soundtrack is flawless and the sprinkle of interesting ideas that crop up throughout kept me playing, but the flawed game mechanics, terrible narrative that comes across as an endless play of words with character names like “Bad Request”, place names like “Slum 404” and plays on the word remember and memory appear in what soon feels like every sentence, makes it a title I would be hard pressed to recommend.
Reasons to play it
Brimming with potential
Remember Me has some great ideas. The combo system is player designed and I really love the idea of being able to chain moves to do what I want them to do, when I want them to do it. Unfortunately, it is also a bit muddled and good execution requires sequences of timed button presses that I never could pull off. It tries to tell a good story and almost succeeds. Story telling in games are challenging and the story of Remember Me is placed at the front and centre of the game. It has quite a few things good stories have, but not quite enough to make up for its flaws. Memory resequencing is a cool idea that I am sure many will find appealing. It only occurs a handful of times, but that makes it even better as there is no time to grow bored of it and the scenes that are features retain a strong emotional impact.
Female lead protagonist that works
John Walker at RPS said it perfectly: “… the action hero of the piece, is a woman of mixed ethnicity, and the game doesn’t feel it has to draw attention to either of those attributes. Enemies aren’t aghast or amused that they’re fighting a woman, she doesn’t have to go on some journey of self-discovery in order to become magically capable of punching people to death, the camera doesn’t linger on her curves (though it arguably has worse problems – more on that later) and, well, she’s just there, being the star of the piece.”
The music score is amazing. The music that starts up when combat is initiated, often hinders more than help as it breaks my concentration and doesn’t always feel appropriate, but the stylized combat in Remember Me fits perfectly to the soundtrack.
Room for Improvement
Game Mechanics that doesn’t work
Somewhere inbetween the timed platforming sequences, QTEs, pop-up mini tutorials that kept telling me that the best time to execute a combo is after landing (I know! And if I didn’t I knew the first dozen times you told me!), puzzles that weren’t puzzles so much as rigidly structured gameplay (climb here, move this, turn this and this and this now climb from one yellow arrow to the next), my frustration reached a tipping point. I was not playing the game I thought I would be playing.
The usual errors
Neo-Paris is beautifully made and a city I would have loved to see more of, but much of the game is set in corridors, though beautifully made, that look very similar. At least some were well lit and only a handful were murky with flickering lights. The camera angle is truly terrible particularly when playing with a controller. It made timed platforming sequences impossible as it continually switched from third to first person and back, leaving you without any clear indication of where you should be heading.
Remember Me’s story falls flat as cyber references fills the dialogue. Characters have names like “Bad Request”, place names are “Slum 404”, the terrorist group are called “Errorists” and plays on ‘remember’, ‘forget’ and ‘memory’ appear frequently.
Photophobia (Light Sensitivity)
Remember Me is not accessible if you have photophobia, a common symptom of migraine, autistic spectrum disorders, cataracts, colour blindness, dyslexia or traumatic brain injury. It has some rapidly flashing images and bright flicker effects that cannot be avoided.
It is not accessible if you suffer from simulation sickness, motion sickness induced by video games. There are many triggers that cannot be avoided throughout. The menu is three dimensional and rotates. In-game the camera angle changes automatically and jumps to show off stylized moves and kill sequences in slow motion, whilst during platforming it automatically switches from third to first person and back.
Low Vision and Visual Field Defects
Remember Me is moderately accessible if you have blurred vision, visual distortion, tunnel vision (peripheral field loss) or blind spots in your visual field. The menu system and user interface uses large text against a high contrast background. In-game elements are relatively easy to spot and interactive elements are easily recognizable. Temporary information is displayed in large text blocks and the combo sequence is clear and colour-coded at the bottom of the screen during combat. The subtitles are in a smaller font that could be difficult to read.
Colour Blindness (Colour Vision Deficiency)
It is very accessible if playing with a colour vision deficiency and there is no reliance on colour alone.
- Resolution drop down menu
- VSync On/Off
- Supersampling On/Off
- Antialiasing Low to High
- Graphics Quality Low to High
- Shadow Quality Low to High
- Gamma slider
Subtitles and Closed Captioning
All dialogue has subtitles. Subtitles are turned off as default, but can be turned on in the Options menu before starting the first cut scene.
Audio cues generally also have a visual component, except for one exception. Little bugs called scara mechs are located by the distinct sound they make and shooting them provides bonus points, but these are optional to collect. For those with tinnitus or a mild to moderate hearing impairment, audio is usually easy to follow with little background noise during cut scenes or pivotal conversations.
- Subtitles Yes/No toggle
- Volume, Music Volume, Voices Volume, SFX Volume sliders
Very fast reflexes are not needed, but there are many timed events throughout the game that does not allow much room for error. The timed platforming sequences are mandatory, cannot be skipped and during these, Nilin has to run, dodge and climb whilst the areas around her collapse.
Combat relies on timing rather than quick reactions. Being able to complete combo’s are a requirement and this is done by hitting the right button at just the right time. The player sets the time, which does help and the best time (as the pop-ups yell incessantly) is right after she lands. I don’t have great reflexes and I managed to string together the shorter combos by working out a system of adding a dodge after every third punch or kick.
Help is available to make combat easier. Play on easy mode for a more forgiving game and appreciate the feedback that tells you what you should be doing whenever you do not conform to the right set of rules. There is no way around the timed platforming, it is either fail and stop playing or succeed to proceed.
Precision (Manual Dexterity)
Some precision is required to target enemies and choosing the correct ledge to jump to, but is not a significant requirement and aiming more or less in the right general direction will do the job. The memory resequencing scenes that occur a handful of times in the game will be the biggest issue. It requires a significant amount of precision to execute as its done by slowly rotating the analog stick or mouse until the exact right frame and then pausing whilst pressing a key at the same time to select. It provided me with hours of frustration as I just could not master the mechanism with much success.
Remember Me is a 7 – 10 hour long campaign, but be prepared to spend double that if you struggle with any of the game mechanics. Cut scenes cannot be skipped and it takes a fair amount of time to rewatch them as they usually appear at the hardest points, particularly just before boss battles, which is also the places where your character is mostly to die.
For those with chronic fatigue or pain conditions who need frequent or unplanned breaks, the option to pause any time is very useful. The game automatically saves at checkpoints and there is no manual save option.
Complexity of Controls
The keybindings are fully remappable in the Options menu for keyboard, controller and a Razer Nostromo, however, the remapping didn’t recognise my wired Xbox 360 controller. This left me with the dilemma that the in-game keybindings cannot be remapped in the game and as this functionality is present, just broken, I also cannot add my own remapping with a custom script, leaving me without the option to remap the controller buttons entirely.
The controls employed by Remember Me is easy to remember but difficult to use. If you have a physical disability, some of the functions will be hard to execute. Rotating the analog stick or mouse is a difficult requirement to meet. Multi-button presses and holding is also a requirement.
- Windowed mode option available
- Full Key mapping for Keyboard, Virtual Hid Device, Razer Nostromo
The language used is secondary school level and provided as both audio and text. Text is in an easy to read format and font, but subtitle text is quite small and most text are on a timed display. Writing is not required at any point.
A good memory is required for combo sequences, but they can be checked in the menu even during combat. If playing with a keyboard and mouse, the QTE’s flash up with the symbols for the skills, not the keyboard keys, so its vital to memorize and be able to instantly recall the correct key bindings.
Calculations and Currency
Remember Me require basic numeracy. Players have to keep an eye on cool down timers for special skills and can unlock combo points throughout the game.
Complexity and Support
The game menu, mechanics, plot and game controls are quite complex, but in-depth tutorials are available throughout the game and pops up when a player obviously struggle to master a specific task. Three difficulty levels are available to choose from and can be changed during the game. Little navigational skills are needed to get around as objective markers are added for all platforming.
It is a single player campaign with no dialogue choices involving NPCs. There is no co-op or multiplayer mode.
- Three difficulty settings
Remember Me is a title with a ton of potential, but I found it a frustrating, infuriating, seemingly endless endeavour to reach the end credits and in the back of my mind, I was rather surprised that I actually managed to complete it as so many obstacles made it difficult to proceed almost every step of the way. If I had to summarize my personal experience, it would receive a pretty dismal score, but it deserves better than that. It tripped me up on all of my weaknesses and even though I managed to complete it in 16 hours on Easy mode, I did not enjoy playing it, but that does not make it a terrible game.
It has many redeemable points and for those who its lack of accessibilities in some areas are not a problem, it should be a pretty decent game worth a few hours of your time. If you have photophobia, are prone to simulation sickness, have bad timing, cannot rotate your mouse or analogue stick very slowly or abhor the overuse of cliche’s, Remember Me is not for you.
[stars rating=”3″ type=”Game”]
Product: Remember me | Developer: Dontnod Entertainment | Publisher: Capcom | Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3 | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | Release Date: June 2013 | Content Rating: PEGI 16, ESRB Mature