In Defense of Remember Me

A trend that I’ve noticed in our group discussions about all three games that were assigned for this unit was that a lot of folks seem to have tried really bloody hard to find everything wrong with each of the games and focus on that. It really seems like a liberal arts thing – people actively seek things to get mad about because anger = academic engagement and discourse, no? Take microaggressions, for instance, since that’s something that came up a lot over the past few weeks. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked “Hey, you’re Serbian, how come you’re not committing genocide?” and laughed it off I’d be able to pay my Amherst tuition. Yet people here write angry articles over “Your English is so good”. We all know you can’t have a proper intellectual discussion if you don’t take an aggressive stance and assume that you’re 100% right and bash everything else, correct? Well, I’ll tell you what – that’s exactly what I’m gonna do right now (mostly because I’m salty because people don’t like what I like 😛 ).

I was in the Remember Me group, and I heard a whole bunch of complaints – the fighting was repetitive, there weren’t enough remixes, there wasn’t enough plot… yet few people mentioned the fact that if you used a Logic Bomb in the Madame boss fight, the fight would never end and you wouldn’t be able to progress the story. There’s a difference between objectively bad and unmet expectations, and I hope to show our group’s presentation was a case of the latter, before more people misunderstand Remember Me and are discouraged from playing it.

Remember Me is the videogame equivalent of an action movie. If you don’t like action movies, or if an action movie is not what you’re after, you will not like Remember Me. Yes, its plot is pretty generic. No, it’s not a 3deep5me game about gender dynamic despite having a female protagonist. Hell, I would argue that that’s a good thing, since instead of being a gimmicky game that makes having a female protag its main selling point, this game shows Nilin can go toe to toe with the boys in just about anything, and absolutely kick their asses (more often literally than not) at most things. And no, it’s not a game about memory. It’s a game using memory as a plot device, and I think the trailers made that reasonably clear.

Most importantly, yes, Remember Me is a platformer. A platformer in the 21st century. But I will eat the laptop I’m typing this on on stream if it ain’t the best freakin’ platformer I’ve played. No, the female protag is not a gimmick. The memory thing, it most definitely is a gimmick. One that captures your attention and one that gives the game a rather enjoyable setting. If you’re looking to kill a couple of afternoons doing parkour and hand-to-hand combat interspersed with some puzzles, there simply is no better way. You probably won’t get emotionally attached to characters, and you probably won’t feel like you learned anything, but so what? It’s a game.

In addition to that, there definitely is a lot of fighting in this game. And a lot of it comes down to pressing the same key combos over and over again. But isn’t that every platformer ever? Here, you get to customize your combos. There is no better feeling than when you land that full-damage 8-hit with two Chain Pressens at the end that just melts even the most resilient enemies, or when you just shred the cooldown to your Fury and enjoy the eye candy as Nilin takes down bad guy after bad guy. Further, it goes without saying that on higher difficulty levels the combat gets very challenging as the game progresses. You’ll have to use your S-Pressens strategically, land your combos and dodge like a motherfucker. The stage is set for a good old adrenaline rush.

Lastly, Remember Me looks pretty darn good. If you’re a content surfer, turn the difficulty down to Script Kiddie and have a field day. Yes, the game is linear and won’t let you go too far off the beaten path, but honestly, who wants to play an Assassin’s Creed where it’s sidequest after sidequest after sidequest and where you never know how to get back on the actual track? There is still plenty to be seen and explored in Remember Me.

P. S. If you want a story, take the time to read the bloody Mnesists.

P. P. S. I swear Dontnod Entertainment did not pay me to make this post. 🙂

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