With the end of the current generation of consoles all but certain this holiday season, it’s surprising to see the number of new games and new properties that are being wheeled out by various publishers. The Last of Us from Naughty Dog is the one that seems to have captured the majority of peoples’ attention but Remember Me is another game that really sticks out from the pack.
Set in a futuristic world where memories can be stolen, bought, traded, and the game follows Nilin, a memory hunter, as she moves around Neo-Paris searching for answers and her missing memories. Yeah, yeah, amnesiac main characters are a dime a dozen, right? It’s a bit cliche but it’s an easy way to tell a story and the player can learn about this futuristic pseudo-steam punk world along side Nilin. All we know is that Nilin has pissed off her former employers Memorise, a future corporation specializing in memory transfer, and now she and an odd assortment of allies – a sort of resistance movement known as Errorists – try to understand just what’s happening below the surface in this dystopian police state. Throw in some memory manipulation and high octane action sequence and I think we’re in for a pretty awesome game.
The gameplay looks a lot like a seamless amalgamation of several earlier games that have come before it as sort of inspirational predecessors. These include: Uncharted, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Mirror’s Edge, and some of Capcom’s fighting properties. Maybe even a bit of inFamous though I think it’s just the scenery that’s reminding me of that one. I say Unhcarted because of the third person mechanics for exploring Neo-Paris. I say Mirror’s Edge and Deux Ex because of the setting, story, and some of the stylistic choices. Mirror’s Edge gets another nod for the female protraganist. (Style-wise the city looks a bit like the city in Repo! The Genetic Opera at night at times, too, though less polluted and industrial and way more futuristic and awesome.) Finally, I point to Campcom’s more ubiquitous fighting games due to the ‘Combo Lab’ function in Remember Me. The video below gives you a better idea of how it works but basically you can create various combos with diftferent moves, special attacks, etc. as you progress through the game.
It’s not just the setting and gameplay that shine, though, it’s also the main character – the female protaganist, Nilin. Jean-Maxime Moris explained in an interview last November that it was no mistake that they chose Nilin as the face of their game. They did not want to be pigeon-holed into the usual action-adventure straight, white, male hero. As he said, “Nilin, is mixed race, she is female, her sexual orientation is her private life, so I won’t go there. She runs around, climbs, leaps, kicks guys’ asses, [and] remixes their memories.” I like the idea of having a female lead character and I also like the idea of making her inclusive. She is a female, yeah. But that doesn’t matter. She can still be a bad ass and fight effectively. She doesn’t have to be a big burly man with a gun.
No main character necessarily does (though for some stories, yeah, that’s the sort of character you need.) But something that more game companies need to realize is that female characters can hold their own and carry their own games. As long as you have a good, compelling story and well done game mechanics people will still buy the game – and yes that includes the male demographic. You don’t even have to oversexualize your main female characters to do it.
In another departure from the usual, the game is relatively non-violent. There is fighting, yes, but very little killing and very little gun play. I can appreciate that, too. I don’t need to have blood and gore all over my screen while playing a game. Even in games where I need to shoot someone there’s no reason that I need graphic depictions of heads exploding or such. I keep watching Therese play through Dead Space and stomp bodies apart and while I understand what it means for the story and the reasons behind it there are just times where it’s a bit much. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind a little gratuitous violence in my video games now and then. But it’s a nice break to see a game that doesn’t rely as much on any sort of shock factor.
I can appreciate a game that seeks to make an impression not through it’s violent depictions but through it’s moving story. And Remember Me seems to have one hell of a story to tell. If you’re not too squeamish about potential spoilers or anything you can check out ten minutes of gameplay in the video below. Look for the full game sometime later this year. A lot of sources are saying May or June but there’s no guarantee of either.