Remember Me (Xbox 360 Review)

RememberMeAlright, I finished Remember Me for the Xbox 360. This of course is the game from Dontnod, released by Capcom, that caused a stir last year due to major distributors turning the game down because of the main protagonist’s gender. I finally picked up the game recently out of sheer curiosity and was definitely left with mixed feelings about the experience…

Gameplay: 3/5 – I probably had the most mixed feelings over the gameplay. The climbing mechanics were pretty good for the most part and I just generally love scaling things in video-games, so I felt that this was done mostly well. I also liked the very light puzzle mechanic that was incorporated into it albeit, there was nothing on the level of even a moderately challenging Zelda game.

The part of the gameplay that frustrated me the most was the combat. On the off-set, it seems similar to Arkham Asylum, but the ugly truth is that it’s way more clunky. Nilin can apparently only attack one opponent at a time which leaves you open ridiculously often. Also, the combat often just comes down to repeating the same two combos, which just starts to feel really monotonous after a while. I sort of liked the idea of modifying combos to give Nilin back health or to recharge her special abilities, but the way it was handled here was just ridiculous. As Nilin’s arsenal of special powers increases through the game, the combat does become somewhat less of a chore – but I almost wish there wasn’t any combat in the game at all.

The camera can also be a pain and it’s almost always pointed downwards, which is just inconvenient considering that Nilin’s little arm-cannon thingy can only lock on to things directly in front of her or (outside combat) within the view of the screen. It also moves to the most awkward positions during combat which just makes them even more unnecessarily difficult. Nilin’s walking speed also fluctuates annoyingly (often for story-reasons) and I particularly hate that at her running pace it’s really easy to miss things like ladders. The movement is a bit strangely imprecise in this regard though it’s not a huge problem. The game also makes use of quick time events at a handful of places which really frustrated me, though it’s not as bad as some quick times I’ve had.

By far the game’s most novel feature, memory remixing, was sadly under-utilised. You get to do it a grand total of four times through the game, which is really disappointing since it’s such a cool idea. I honestly wish you could have done it more frequently.

Graphics: 5/5 – I have to give it up for whoever designed the visuals on this game. Although I think the whole shoulder hologram thingy is a little asinine, the game’s world is beautifully scifi-ish, peppered with some dark desolate locations and a few really trippy ones. The characters look a little too photo-realistic, but at least it’s not as uncanny valley as L.A. Noire. And even though you do revisit locations rather often, there’s always some change.

Animation: 4,5/5 – Similarly the cutscenes are also pretty stunning. I really like the remix-segments but generally speaking all the cutscenes look amazing. It is annoying that some cutscenes always play if you die at a specific spot, especially since you can’t skip them.

Music: 3,5/5 – I really did like the sound-effect and the main theme is especially nice. However, due to the chaotic nature of the game it’s a little hard to appreciate it from time to time. Never the less, I did enjoy the themes and felt they all fit perfectly. There is an annoying bug when sometimes reloading after death, where the music starts a little late for whatever reason.

Sound: 4/5 – I really don’t have any serious complaints about the voice-acting. Everyone from the main characters, to the insane leapers to the faceless, grunt guards were done well. However, the dialogue is pretty straight-forward and none of the performances really stood out as excellent. It took me a while to get used to Nilin’s accent, but it stopped bothering me after a while.

Story: 5/5 – I have to really tip my hat to the writers. The story is easily this game’s strongest attribute. You start off as a protagonist who has lost all her memory and has no clue what the conflict around her is about. You slowly uncover the game’s sinister mystery and one dramatic plot-twist follows another. I was a little afraid that the finale might flop, but the final revelation of the game was actually really impressive. There also is a lot of levels to the story-line which involves altering people’s memories. I have to confess that the main reason I kept playing this game, despite its problems and annoyances was the story.

Replay value: 2,5/5 – I honestly don’t find much incentive to come back to the game except for its story. Some of the climbing and exploration mechanics are fun and the game has excellent visuals. Unfortunately, the most action-intense parts of the gameplay are really not enjoyable. I particularly hated the boss-fights. Though a few of them were clever, each boss takes immense amounts of damage to beat, even with the ideal strategy, and as a result, the boss fights seem to take longer than the levels that precede them. Then there’s the load-times which are honestly, a little ridiculous. Whenever you die, it feels like you have to wait a whole minute before getting to try again. Since there’s quite a few spots where it’s easy to die accidentally, this starts to really eat away at the game’s enjoyability.

Score: 79% – Remember Me has an excellent story and beautiful visuals, but gameplay that teeters between okay and nearly broken. If you want to experience a really cool video-game narrative, I definitely recommend it – but due to its short-comings in the controls-department, you’ll be hard-pressed to pick up the game again after finishing it.

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