Revealed in its modern form at Gamescom last year, Remember Me is an exciting proposition. With the potential to be a highlight of the twilight years for current-generation consoles, the science-fiction dawdling and direct, opportunistic interaction of the player with the characters populating the world is most certainly looking set to push against the grain of what has become the expected level of audience participation in interactive stories. Whether every piece of the puzzle can become a cohesive whole is perhaps the bigger challenge.
Beginning at the very start, Remember Me sets the scene of a derelict underbelly in Neo-Paris, 2084. Creatures that were once human are now a shadow of their former selves, physically twisted and mentally deranged. It’s at this moment that we meet our protagonist: entombed and disorientated, Nilin is attacked by the creatures as soon as she is freed from her capsule-like prison. This is all the establishment that is needed before the player is thrown into a combat tutorial.
A button to dodge, X to punch, the set-up is very familiar. That is until you bring into play the Sensen menu. Here players can create combos from the fighting manoeuvres they learn, known as Pressens. At this early stage in the videogame players can only create a three-hit combo using the base attack and two available Pressens, but later in the videogame we can expect far more complicated routines to evolve from this humble beginning.
A linear walk along a corridor fills in a little more story detail, as the player learns a little more about Nilin’s past and what their next move should be, before a simple but effective series of challenges relay the detailed movement system available during moments of platforming action. At this point Remember Me plays like Prince of Persia with less of the fluidity, comparable to Ninja Theory’s Enslaved: An Oddessy to the West, but of course this is just the simplest of ice breakers; there’s a much more intense dexterity challenge not too far away.
Before this however, we are invited to participate in another round of combat. Fighting half-a-dozen simple enemies at once, Remember Me demonstrates it’s most direct influence ably: Batman: Arkham Asylum. The swiftness with which Nilin moves between enemies, the ease in breaking combos mid-swing and the panned-out camera angle full of clues for selecting the most appropriate target are all clear signs that this is a post-Rocksteady action videogame, and arguably better for it.
A little more travelling and the first level-up, allowing the purchase of more Pressens, we meet our first new face. A stand-off with a big and nasty looking fella that absorbs the power of other enemies around him, it’s obvious that we’ll see more of this type of fighter as we progress through the videogame. Your journey through the slums doesn’t end here though, and making your way to meet a contact at The Leaking Brain, a bar for members of society with questionable morals, you are giving further tests of the combat and platform skills that you have learnt.
A beautiful white metropolis stands in the distance, beckoning you into its clean and comforting skyscrapers. Before you however, standing between the high society and your access route, lies the downtrodden, a tasteless view of the poorest members of society; market traders and their customers trying to make a deal, trying to live in decaying shacks made of corrugated iron and rags. The contrast is striking, and intentionally so.
Meeting an old friend that Nilin has no recollection of, you find your gear ready and waiting for you, but that’s not all. Remember Me finally offers up its first taste of memory jacking as a bounty hunter named Olga gets the jump on you. Olga’s husband, David, is not well, and Olga is finding the expense of his treatment difficult. Hunting Nilin is the path Olga had chosen, with the reward more than enough to cover the cost. However, this is not the path you want Olga to take, and so by convincing her that her husband has died, you’ll find Olga a more lenient pursuer.
This is done by finding ‘memory glitches’ that you can interact with. Rotating the left analog stick (holding RB to rewind faster) once a glitch is encountered you can press B to interact with it; in this case, undoing the strap securing David to his bed. Olga’s memory then plays out again in accordance with the alteration you have made. This one change may be leading in the right direction, but alone is not enough to result in the death of David. Rewinding for a second time, there are a number of different items that you can interact with, significantly altering the outcome of the memory. Go too far and you’ll find some unexpected results, reign it in and you’ll get the desired effect.
Now believing that Memorize, the corporation at the heart of Remember Me’s story, is responsible for her husband’s death, Olga moves from hunter to helping hand. And thus concludes the first episode of Remember Me, a scene setting tutorial that is never less than impressive. Moving from the slums to the city, Episode 2 promises to mix things up considerably, but only time will tell whether the development team have got enough unique ideas to make a full adventure as enjoyable as this first hour.