I recently had the opportunity to sit down and play the first few hours of Capcom's new game Remember Me, and I thought I would share my memories of the preview with you.
Give me a memory to remix, and I will change the world (Nilin, memory hunter, 2082 AD)
Back at Gamescom last year, Capcom announced a brand new IP called Remember Me. Developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and set in Neo-Paris in 2084, personal memories can now be digitised, bought, sold and traded. The last remnants of privacy and intimacy have been swept away in what appears to be a logical progression of the explosive growth of social networks at the beginning of the 21st Century. The citizens themselves have accepted this surveillance society in exchange for the comfort only smart technology can provide. This memory economy gives immense power over society to just a handful of people.
Remember Me is a 3rd person action adventure where players take on the role of Nilin, a former elite memory hunter with the ability to break into people's minds and steal or even alter their memories. The authorities, fearful of her knowledge and capabilities arrested Nilin and wiped her memory clean. After her escape from prison, Nilin sets out on a mission to recover her identity, helped by her last and only friend. This search for her past leads to her being hunted by the very people that created this surveillance society.
The game starts with Nilin in a coffin, or rather being freed from a coffin by a leaper. Leapers are mutated humans who's memories are permanently corrupted. Basically not very nice guys who want nothing more than to kill her!
The game is split into episodes - episode one being called Low Life / Low Tech. At this point Nilin has no memories and must relearn everything, which includes climbing and the most important element (for now), fighting. What this basically means is that we get to learn how to do these things with Nilin thus doubling as a tutorial.
So within a few seconds of the game beginning Nilin is attacked by a group of these leapers and her friend Edge (who guides her on her journey offering help and advice whilst not actually physically being with her) tells her she has no choice but to fight. This is where the tutorial element kicks in, basically guiding you in the art of dodging blows and attacks. Edge advises you to "use your pressens". The game then enters the Sensen Menu and you visit the Combo Lab. This is where you can create, and remember fighting moves and combos.
At the start of the game you don't have any set up so you have to add three pressens to create a combo. It may sound a little confusing but once you are in the Combo Lab is sort of makes sense. Later in the game you can create multiple combo moves, including ones that regenerate your health when you complete the combo (and believe me later on you will need that regenerative combo, a lot). The fighting style is similar to other combo based fighting games - move, press a sequence of buttons to perform certain combos and repeat until your opponents are dead. Performing certain combos give you a sense of satisfaction and more points which can be used later to increase your combos and bring in new moves.
It's then straight back into the game were you very quickly dispatch the three leapers, all the time learning more about the controls, including some combo moves. From then on its time to make your way through the game, trying to learn more about your past and find those responsible. I won't spoil any of the rest of the plot today, mainly because I can't quite remember it...
There is the usual "suiting up" part of the story, she gets her combat skin and glove, which she will need to go into people's memories to perform remixes but also to use a weapon to overload an opponent.
At first glance the game appears to be almost open world, but it isn't - there are only certain places you can go, and to help you on your route there are yellow arrows that appear to tell you where to go, where to jump, and so on. The game tells you that "Your Sensen calculates the optimal path towards your objective" but I found it to be a little to "go here, go there" and didn't really involve me having to explore to find out where I needed to go.
The really unique element in Remember Me is the Memory Remix. Nilin has the ability to go into someone's memory and remix it, making them remember a different outcome than actually took place. There are various reasons for doing this, each part important to the main story. The first time Nilin has to perform a memory remix she goes into the memory of Olga Sedova because she blames Nilin for something that happened to her husband David. You see the memory build around you and play out as it really happened, then you look for memory glitches which are elements that you can change, such as unlocking a strap or untying a mask.
You do this by rewinding through the memory and making whatever changes you feel necessary. You can then play the memory once it has been remixed and see what the outcome is. In the case of Olga you're remixing of her memory changes her from hunting Nilin to helping her. There are a number of glitches you can change, so which won't make a difference and some that need to be done in sequence. Once you get the hang of memory remixing it can be interesting to see the failed results as well as the successful ones and certainly makes the game more interesting and more involved than what it first appears to be.
The music is very reminiscent of Blade Runner and really helps to set the scene, and along with the look of Neo-Paris really draws you into the game and makes you want to explore more.
Remember Me will be available in May 2013 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.