Remember Me Hands-On Preview – Total Recall
Written Saturday, February 16, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth” Archimedes is famously quoted as saying, hundreds of years ago, in them olden Greek days. In Remember Me, the game's heroine Nilin has her very own paraphrased version of that very quote, which pops up during the opening of our hands-on demo and perfectly lays the foundations for what Remember Me is all about. “Give me a memory to remix, and I will change the world.” It's one hell of a boast, and in the beginning, Nilin is ill-equipped to remix or change anything.
Trapped in a crate and floated down a murky subterranean stream running through a sewer, Nilin has had her memory wiped and has been thrown out with society's other trash, condemned to a life in the slums, at the lowest point in Neo Paris. As the so-called Leapers search the black Memorize-branded crates for more twisted mutants to join their ranks, they free Nilin, and are immediately perturbed upon discovering that she's not one of them. Cue some early fisticuffs and a nice opportunity to jump into the combo lab to string together some moves.
Things start fairly simple in this department, with you assigning 'Pressens' (face buttons with certain properties) to predefined combo slots. You'll start off with a simple three-hit combo in which you can assign your unlocked Power Pressens to all but the first slot. The first button in a combo remains fixed, but how the rest of the combo is built is down to you. It all sounds a little bit convoluted, but it's remarkably simple, even when you're levelling up and unlocking new Pressens to add to your custom combos.
As you progress, you'll gain access to Regen Pressens that restore health with a successful strike, and Cooldown Pressens that decrease the amount of time it takes to unleash an S-Pressen. The S is for Special, and the first S-Pressen in Nilin's arsenal is just that. Accessed via a radial menu on the left trigger, we're able to activate her Sensen Fury ability, stunning the bad guys and encouraging some button-mashing over the preferred method of rhythmic button pressing. The combat system all slots together neatly, and has the potential to grow as Nilin develops and levels up.
During the course of our hands-on, we level up several times giving us the opportunity to experiment with Nilin's combos as she strives to make her way to former buddy and fellow memory hunter Tommy Headache, who's holed up in his bar, the Leaking Brain. Cue a fair bit of climbing in a vaguely Prince of Persia style to rise out of the filth of the sewers up into the relative civilisation of the slums. We fight more Leapers on our way and run into a Skinner whose strength is buffed by any Leapers surrounding him. With the Skinner in berserker mode he's impossible to take down until you've killed off the Leaper Prowlers. After a few more bouts we find our way into the 24/7 happy hour at the Leaking Brain which is an apt description for what happens next.
Ambushed by Olga, who's seemingly got a vendetta against Nilin for the murder of her husband, some metaphorical 'brain leakage' ensues as we jack into Olga's memory and set about remixing how she recalls the events that unfolded. This takes us into a sequence within the haze of Olga's memory, with her husband David shackled to a hospital bed, undergoing a memory transfusion. Once the scene plays out, we're free to rewind and fast-forward through the entire chain of events, keeping an eye out for glitches in the memory. Some glitches are complete red herrings designed to misguide and lead you astray, while others won't lead to the correct outcome.
You're free to rewind and fast-forward through the scene looking for clues and once you hit upon the solution, it's a genuine eureka moment. Upon leaving the memory and changing Olga's memory of what happened to David, her disposition towards Nilin changes, and the two form a partnership, vowing to take on the shady, unscrupulous Memorize. Whisked away to St-Michel in Olga's aircraft, one episode transitions into another, and we're on our way to a meeting with a enigmatic man known only as 'Bad Request'.
St-Michel is the antithesis of the Neo Paris slums, “home of the privileged few”, all blue skies, pristine courtyards, fountains and helpful robots. It's the “right side of the firewall” according to Nilin's advisor Edge, who communicates with her constantly. There are no Leapers here, but Nilin is a wanted woman, and Memorize's private police force, Saber, is hot on her trail. These guys are more skilled fighters than the feral Leapers, but can be opened up for a Memory Overload execution move. Missing a combo's rhythm or failing to dodge an attack can decimate Nilin's health however, but a few regen combos can help boost your vitality and keep you alive.
Some texture loading issues and somewhat lengthy loading times indicate that Remember Me still requires quite a bit of polish, but all of the key ingredients look to be present and correct. Hounded by Leapers and relentlessly pursued by Memorize and their Saber Force, Nilin will certainly have the odds stacked against her in Remember Me, but a robust combat system, some interesting abilities and the genuinely intriguing memory remix sections promise to make Capcom and Dontnod Entertainment's sci-fi actioner one to keep an eye on.
Remember Me is scheduled to be implanted into your brain in May 2013.