Friday, 22 November 2013

Review: Remember Me (Ps3/PC)

If you guessed right with the gif I posted yesterday then you'll already be aware of what is to be looked at today. This is a game that was hyped a bit before release (As our Aigato knows all too well) before being seemingly written off. Why did that happen? Let's find out. * I have also played through most of this game on PC. The content is identical so Ill add a note at the end of the graphics section detailing any differences*
  Remember Me is an action-adventure video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom. It was released not too long ago in June 2013 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game's story follows Nilin, a memory hunter working for mega-corporation Memorize. The game opens with being stripped of nearly all her memories by her employers and forced to ally with an underground resistance called the Errorists. With the help of a mysterious man named Edge, you goes on a journey to bring down Memorize and recover Nilins lost memories. While the story hobbles a little on occasion, it stays on track more than enough while throwing moments of intrigue to keep you interested. Nilin is also a well written lead protagonist, her monologue cinematic before the start of a mission are great insights into her psyche at that moment. Its a little unfortunate than that the supporting cast aren't as well written within the story. Most are forgettable. The games world is set in the year 2084, in a futuristic version of Paris called Neo-Paris that seems to be under the control of Memorize. Its in this aspect that you'll find one of the games most pleasing aspects. The game world is superbly realised with a great art direction that will no doubt immerse you within the world. You'll want to explore every corner of whats on offer but unfortunately the games linear nature means you cant stray too far from your path. Still, There are collectibles  to seek out that add even more backstory to the game which may be worth seeking out for those immersed in the game. Collectible boosts for Health & Focus are also scattered around the world which you'll be wise to seek out. Luckily, most collectibles are given hints in the form of a memory snapshot left by someone which gives you a clue of where it would be located in the path ahead. As you would expect with a game of this type, there's no multiplayer. No co-op. Nothing. Once the game is completed, there is a New Game+ option you could take up which lets you keep your pressens & combo's when starting a new session. As usual, the game will last you the 10+ hours you expect depending on how much you explore your surroundings for the collectibles.
Remember Me's gameplay features mainly platforming and melee combat with a sprinkling of puzzle segments. Ever played Uncharted? Then you'll have a basic idea of whats in store. The platforming segments are similar to Drake's as you'll find yourself leaping between & scaling buildings to reach your destination. It stays linear though with a small marker always being available to point you in the right direction. Lets talk about memories before moving onto combat. A few features are implemented that change how the game plays using a persons memories as a basis. The game introduces the mechanic of 'memory remixing', entering and rearranging a persons memories to change how they percieve you or act. You go about this by replaying a memory and changing details to change how the person remembers that moment. Another key mechanic of gameplay is stealing memories from certain targets, which tend to be your main objective for that mission, and using them as Remembranes to replay the memory in real-time: often showing you the path to take or unseen hazards before you. When it comes to combat, the game does allow you to customise your own combos in the Combo Lab, mixing up four types called Pressens that offer differing bonus's. More of these are unlocked by earning PMP (Procedural Mastering Power) though combat, with an unfortunate limit of four combos being active at any one time. There are also special moves, S-Pressens, that are made available through progress in the game. You also have access to projectile-based weapons like the 'Spammer' and 'Junk bolt' once they are unlocked during the story. While your no doubt thinking that the combat system sounds quite intricate, its actually more underdeveloped than it seems at first. With only 4 combo's available and most pressen actions being similar, You'll quickly tire of the Combo Lab. As long as you have the right mix of Pressens in your combo's you will never need to go into the Lab to unlock any more. The conflict is often unavoidable too and when the time comes the game will box Nilin into small arenas to fight adversaries like Leapers or security forces. The occasional security bot or Boss mixes things up a little, but it barely deviates from this for combat and the under-utilisation of the puzzle segments drives this home. The game is paced fairly well though, so you may not tire of this before the end but less tolerant gamers may do.
Where to start with the graphics? As Ive mentioned earlier in the article, the art design is superb which allows the title much leeway to impress. Oddly enough the game is built upon the Unreal engine, but upon the first moment you see the game you'll wonder if that's true (especially considering the performance issues the engine has on Ps3) Texture work is fantastic with no noticeable texture pop-in at all and the variety in texturing ensure each location is detailed and full of character. Character models also feature a nice amount of detail, but the variety of enemies on offer isn't much to be honest, with some decent enough animation work (Be warned, Nilin's butt wiggles hypnotically as she walks) When making your way through the slums or the inner city you'll no doubt notice all the shiny skyscrapers in the distance due to the impressive draw distance. All manner of effects are thrown in to add to the games already nice visuals. The way light reflects onto water & the weather effects themselves being a notable highlight. The way adverts seem to play from outside the in-world screens and other effects like the explosion of memories that fire out from a security officers head when executing a finisher drives home the digital vibe. There isn't much to complain on with the visual side of things. Resolution appears native 720p, some manner of AA seems employed to deal with the jagged edges and a fairly stable framerate rounds off an impressive display by Remember Me. The sound is also notable for the music in particular being a perfect match for the games theme and voice acting is also of fairly high standard. It certainly doesn't disappoint from an audio & visual perspective on Ps3
PC - As Ive noted in the reviews opening section, the content is identical across the board. I was managing to run the game on PC completely maxed @ 1600x900 (V-Sync engaged) with a more stable framerate than the Ps3 on my modest system (2.6Ghz dual core/4GB ram/Radeon 6670) so it shouldn't be too difficult hitting 1080p or higher for more powerful systems, especially with it being an Unreal Engine game. The Ps3 version is comparable to running the PC version a notch or 2 in places lower than max settings, except shadows seemed to be lower than that on Ps3. Being able to take the game up a notch with Textures/Lighting/Shadows brings out even more of the games superb artistic quality. The film grain that appears in the Ps3 version was also absent from the PC build I played through too. Overall you can obviously get a more detailed and clearer image via PC. If you have a 360 controller plugged into your PC, Id recommend giving it a go,  it worked quite well as that's how I played through it.
Sci-Fi Fans will want to experiance this. Nilin is a supreb lead protagonist & the game world is fantastically realised. Its a shame then that the gameplay was not given the same amount of depth and some of the titles best features (ie Memory Remixing) are criminally under-utilised, seeming underdeveloped at times too. There is a solid foundation here for a new IP to blossom though and for those that like cinematic flair, an appreciation of what Remember Me has to offer. A flawed game for sure, but one that will no doubt carve its own cult following.


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Review Copy provided by Playstation+
Scoring Policy 

Footnote: The game is currently on the EU Playstation+. Id reccomend a download (only 6.7GB)

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