For all the games that were hyped up last year—many deservedly so—Remember Me is a game that flew somewhat under the radar, despite being a solid combat-focused game with a great story and setting.
During last year's Steam summer sale, I bought around 12 games—most for single-digit prices. The main exception was Remember Me, a $30 game I had heard almost nothing about but was too busy impulse buying to think about. It was a big gamble—especially despite it's mixed reviews—but it ended up being one of my favorite purchases from the sale.
What Was Actually Bad
I know it's weird to talk about the bad stuff first, but I think it's important in this case, because a) the focus of this review is the game's underrated nature, and b) I don't give a shit, I ain't no professional reviewer.
Much of what you read in reviews is true: the game consists mostly of combat and some platforming, the latter of which is excruciatingly boring. The game's camera is also one of the most frustrating I've ever seen, and the ending of the story wasn't very good—but everything else in between was.
What Got a Bad Rap
Bad stuff aside, I thought Remember Me's combat didn't get the praise it deserved. Yes, it's pretty simple—but so was Arkham Asylum's (and in my opinion, Arkham's was far more boring). In my opinion, Remember Me's combat struck a great balance between simple and engaging, even on the PC (the platform I played). Sure, you only need to know a few basic punch-kick-dodge moves, but the custom combos allowed you to create, at least at a very basic level, your own fighting style, and added some "light" strategy to the battles. Enough that you felt engaged, but not so much that it became complicated.
That's not to say more complicated fighting systems are bad—just that it's okay to have something straightforward, as long as you feel like you're in control and are using a little bit of your brain. The difficulty was right on point for a filthy casual like me, too—it wasn't too easy (I died a fair amount), but it wasn't so frustrating that I wanted to throw my hands up in the air. Perhaps it's just me, but I find few games hit this sweet spot very well these days. Most are far too easy, and the rest are too damn hard.
The other high point of the game—besides the very cool memory remixes you've already heard about—is the setting of Neo-Paris, and the interesting, original story behind the game. Like any good sci-fi story, the world is almost as interesting as the story itself (if not moreso), as its early concept art (shown above) led us to believe. Yes, it wasn't an "open world" game where you could really explore, but I didn't mind—I felt like I got a taste of the world by seeing it as I played through.
And that's where I think Remember Me gets an undeserved bad rap (or at least mixed rap). It feels like people want every game to be a Skyrim-like, open-ended, choice-driven sandbox game—a trap I once fell into myself—but if Remember Me taught me anything, it's that sometimes a simple, straightforward game with a good story can be just as fun. "Linear" may be a swear word in most gaming circles, but it shouldn't be. The movie-as-game style of play will never truly be better than a game like Mass Effect or Skyrim, but it doesn't have to be.
So if you held off on buying this one because of all the mixed reviews, I highly recommend giving it a shot. It's pretty short, clocking in at 9 hours or so, and it'll likely go on sale this summer—so if you were at all interested, put it on your wish list. If you're curious to hear more, Kotaku has a great video that shows some of it off (and talks about why it's actually pretty good).
We are Games On Delay, a non-professional gaming blog by and for filthy casuals. Read more about us here.