What's Wrong With Remember Me

What if you could shell out a couple bucks and forget your most painful memory? Better yet what if you could replace your memories with better ones and remix your life in your mind's eye to have unraveled exactly as you've always dreamed? Remember Me sets you in a world where this kind of power is a reality. But of course, as with all great power, there is a dark side.

You play as Nilin, an Errorist with the ability to not only erase the memories of others but remix them at will. The game begins with Nilin in a facility full of obnoxiously stereotypical scientists and meathead guards where she is being prepared to have her memory completely wiped out. Just as she's about to be strapped to the chair for a good old fashioned brain-scramble, a mysterious voice pipes into her thoughts and helps her escape. Then from towering high rises where robotic servants tend to the every need of Paris' elite, to the underworld slum where freedom fighters battle mutated human experiments gone wrong, Nilin parkours and punches her way through waves of robots of privately contracted corporate police all in the name of uncovering the truth. 

This is all well and good. The good intentions gone bad dystopian future is a easy backdrop to pit good versus evil - the righteous fighting to overcome the powerful. And this isn't what bothers me about Remember Me.

As you dig further into Nilin's past you come to find that her family is directly responsible for the technology that makes this whole world possible - her genius father, the creator. Great, we all love overly dramatic stakes. But what kills the plot for me is the actual reason why he decided to build these machines in the first place. It was a simple car crash. A car crash where Milin's mother runs a red light, gets t-boned, crushes her leg and blames Milin because she was being a distracting 7 year old in the back seat who wanted her birthday present given to her early.

Now I understand not every parent is going to win an award for how they relate to their children but the stakes of Milin's mother's life-long resentment seem so comically low that it's borderline retarded. It's not like her mother was an olympic hopeful, or that Nilin had a younger brother who put in a lifelong coma because of the accident. No, her mother comes to hate her only daughter because she has to wear a cast for a few months.

And Nilin's mother wasn't even permanently disabled. When you meet her later in the game, in her gigantic office as the CEO of Memorize (her husband's Orwellian mind control company) she is walking perfectly fine as she bitterly exposits how she's going to make them all pay...  who ever they are. At this point I stopped caring and just kept playing to see if it could possibly become any more melodramatic.

So now that I've basically ruined the story of the game for you should you even bother playing it?  

What works in Remember Me is the combat. It's fun and simple combo button mashing with the twist that you unlock new skill points called Pressens. Pressens do damage, regain health, lower the cool down time for a handful of abilities that you acquire along the way, and link combos to increase their point values. And these can all be mixed around depending on your fighting style and what kind of enemies you're up against. One of my favorites was a finishing move where you basically overload your victim's brain in an explosion of bright white 0's and 1's turning them into a heavily armored paper weight. 

The set pieces are beautiful and meticulously detailed giving you a real sense of emersion within the game world. The downside to this is that very little is interactive, so while Neo-Paris is gorgeous, she's also basically hands off.  I would have loved to have been able to speak with the courteous and diligent servant bots milling about, sample some of the "cheap proteins" on sale in the slum's open market, and who can count all the missed opportunities in the robo-whore house.

Overall I enjoyed the basic premise of Remember Me. What are we if not a collection of a lifetime of memories? How would the world react to being able to freely manipulate the past in such an immediate and visceral way. Would you want to be able to upload your memories to a public network, share them with your friends? Would this lead us to a more compassionate and understanding society? Or would it, as it did in Neo-Paris, lead to a epidemic of memory replacement addiction, sewer mutants, and unexplained psychic powers? Either way, teenagers would undoubtedly find a way to ruin it.