During Spring Break, I had the pleasure to experience Dontnod Entertainment’s game Remember Me. Offering incredible science fiction visuals and a story that promises complex interaction with themes of memories and identity, I had high expectations for the game, expectations which were not exactly met by the experience itself.
Remember Me is one of those strange games, in that it has an extremely compelling idea and gameplay that seems to have little to do with the execution of that idea. Having followed the pre-release material on Remember Me, I was always aware of the strong components about memory, and very excited about the feature of “memory editing” which was promised to be a strong part of the game. Unfortunately, this mechanic, which is incredibly interesting and offers the ability to play with other people’s memories (but unfortunately doesn’t do a great job of addressing the ethics of remixing independent people into would-be allies) is only present in a few small portions of the game, the equivalent of “Boss battles” really.
While I’m disappointed with the lack of more regular memory editing, though I can appreciate how it might devalue the impact of the sequences where you get to do it, I think the main gameplay conceits of Remember Me were the most baffling. Here is a game that has billed itself really exclusively on the exploration of memory and also of strong characterization (such as through the main character in the game, Nilin, who is one of gaming’s unfortunately elusive female protagonists) and its gameplay is a… Platforming beat-em-up? While they give Nilin’s style of combat a distinct aesthetic which interacts with the Sensen, the technology that controls memories, it’s a thin veneer of relation on mechanics which don’t really bear much of a connection with the game as an idea, which is probably the most baffling part about it.
I know that this game was Dontnod Entertainment’s first outing as a studio, and I think it definitely comes across. Still, I ultimately enjoyed the story and really enjoyed the awesome art of the game, so much so that I still see great potential in the studio’s future endeavours.