A Little Familiar - Remember Me Needs To Work on Sticking in Our Heads
Before we start, I just want to say: No, this is not Tomb Raider 2020. It’s not Mirror’s edge with better fighting mechanics, nor is it Deus Ex with boobs on Jensen (although there IS a mod somewhere that could do that probably. I’m not going to link it to you. That would be crazy). And no, it’s not a better looking Dreamfall either, but that’s probably the closest thing so far.
This is Remember Me, a Capcom published platformer set in cyberpunk Neo-Paris, where you play a memory hunting English sounding lady in tight future gear trying to find her memories, and why they were taken from her.
Trailers for this game look sort of promising. Think Deus Ex style of cyberpunk, with augmented reality overlays showing areas. people and important items. Action scenes seem pretty fun, and the combat seems to be, for want of a better term, overloading people’s brains with what they had for dinner two nights before.
There has been quite a lot of talk with about this game, although less from it’s publisher Capcom. A new IP, and a female lead is a bold move, and it’s mechanics have sparked some rather interesting discussion. Partially because its a fresh product created by the Paris based Dontnod.
Partially because it features a character that will not be using actual guns, but instead the memories of her would-be combatants to battle. Oh, and also her gymnastic-style fighting moves.
And partially because it’s a woman.
During an interview with Penny Arcade, the creative director, Jean-Maxime Moris, was quoted to say, "We had some [companies] that said, 'Well, we don't want to publish it because that's not going to succeed. You can't have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that...'”
This statement, however unfair, is basically true. In a world dominated by testosterone heavy juggernauts as playable characters, male dominance is always supreme. Women in gaming are usually reduced to generally being sidekick characters to their male counterparts (I’m looking at you, Bioshock Infinite) or there to be aesthetically pleasing to their players. How many of you can say you haven’t said, or heard a friend saying ‘If I am going to play a game for a long time, I want to be able to look at the backside of something I like’?
Is this really the reason why this game won’t sell? Our memory hunter Nilin, is not just normal looking lady who kicks all kinds of memory butt and doesn’t spend most of the time thrusting her it into the camera. Hell from what I can gather from the 10 minute footage of gameplay, we see a substantial amount of her ass.
Maybe the game is coming at a late time. Gunless combat isn’t an issue thanks to it’s Combo Lab innovation, where players can make up new moves based on certain pre-sets that Nilin has stored from fighting enemies or DLC (note - it is said to include a dragon punch). Its argumented reality look so far feels like a mini mix between Watch Dogs footage and Deus Ex, but that cannot really be classified as a bad thing. It borrows from the Arkham Asylum/Assasin’s Creed form of multiple opponent combat with indicators for quick counters, and that’s always cool in any book.
The focus on story seems real - the idea of memories one will be able to take A-la Prototype will impact greatly on how the game is told. the voice acting - so far - isn’t strangulating in the trailer, and it’s platforming looks fairly decent.
But maybe that might be the problem with it. Maybe this game feels like you’ve played it before. Like going to watch Avatar in the cinemas a few years ago, and realising that you could practically identify every single event before it happened, but a bit better.
Now I am not saying Dontnod are copycats - it takes a lot of work to build up and publish a game, and they are to be commended to sticking to their guns and not selling out to make a fresh new male protagonist.
I am just saying that they weren’t ‘out there’ enough. To tell with the conventional platforming and fight scenes. Focus on memory manipulation, and go somewhere different. They almost had it with the no-guns concept, but Batman has been doing that for years. Maybe if this game sells well, there will be a sequel, and they will deliver a product that would change gaming history.
Until then, let’s see what Remember Me is all about next week.
Remember Me will be available on Steam on the 7th of June for $29.99. Prices at other outlets may vary.