PAX East 2013: Hands-on with Remember Me is dangerously familiar

Remember Me Screenshot - 1139097

Remember Me might be a little late to the Uncharted party. I say this because everything I’ve seen suggests that it’s a tightly directed, linear, cinematic adventure. There hasn’t been the slightest hint that players will be able to go down different paths or make any meaningful choices. Even the combat system, which allows you to customize your combos, looks to be limiting its potential. I hope I’m wrong, though, because if there’s one good thing about Remember Me, it’s that it has a stunning world and I want some freedom to explore it.

Here’s the thing: since its introduction Remember Me has shown off so many different types of gameplay. You have hand-to-hand combat complete with projectile attacks, scaling buildings like Nathan Drake or Ezio, a stealth mechanic, and memory manipulating sequences that play out like a puzzle in a point-and-click adventure. That’s a lot of variety, yet I haven’t seen how it can deviate from the strict path developer Dontnod has established.

Remember Me

The demo of the game that I had the chance to play at PAX East 2013 demonstrated my concerns throughout. In it you navigate Nilin through some Neo-Paris slums to reach her destination. The demo is a mix of combat encounters against mindless goons and a ton of platforming along structurally unsound buildings. Combat is clearly limited in the demo, but even with upgrades I worry it will be too simple. I had two types of attacks, one that damages enemies and one that heals Nilin. Time your dodges carefully enough and you won’t really have to heal, and in my case that meant simply jamming on the X button until the enemies were dead.

For the platforming, it was all clearly delineated, Uncharted-style shambling. Every climbable surface is clearly marked and there’s only one way to go, making the resulting gameplay feel closer to a QTE than actual platforming.

In the memory manipulating sequences we’ve seen, Nilin has one goal. For example, she goes into one man’s memory and has to convince him that he killed his girlfriend. You can choose objects to manipulate in his memory and watch how it plays out as a result. Change things enough and eventually the sequence plays out with her death, and he believes it. The concept is dark and cool, but the actual gameplay is a point-and-click puzzle with only one answer and one outcome.

Remember Me

Three games in, the Uncharted series managed to pull off a strictly linear adventure through pure love and care. Yes the action is completely scripted and linear, but you can buy into Nathan Drake’s adventures in a way that makes the gameplay more palatable. Tomb Raider smartly aped a few of Uncharted’s tricks, but opened up the exploration, giving Lara enough room to breathe. You felt like you were making some decisions. Remember Me, from every example Capcom has shown, seems to be leaning towards the Uncharted model.

It’s possible that the world Dontnod has crafted will be so lovingly rich, and Nilin’s tale will be so fascinating, that my complaints of linearity will be a moot point. In my demo I did see some of the richest and most detailed environments I’ve ever seen running on an Xbox 360. The game’s world is a sight to see. But when I approached anything that caught my eye it was simply window-dressing, entertaining my eyes until I get over to the next big red button or clearly-marked railing.

I hope Remember Me is more than this, but Capcom and Dontnod haven’t given any evidence to the contrary.

If you like to read the latest movie reviews, or random thoughts about whatever is going on in gaming lately, follow me @JoeDonuts!

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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