Remember Me – Hands-On Preview
We here at VGU had the opportunity to go and visit Capcom and play their upcoming game, Remember Me. This preview is split up into different accounts from each individual that experienced the game.
Days before Gamescom, back in August 2012, Capcom poked its head into the spotlight and announced a game by the guys at DontNod known as Remember Me. It drew the attention of quite a few people with its appearance and a unique little feature; the use of memories as a core game mechanic. I had the chance to play this game down at Capcom’s London branch and I must say – things were impressive. Here is what I thought of the few hours of the game that we played.
You assume the role of Nilin and find yourself in an extremely neat and clean cut facility. Control of the character at this point is rather dizzy, as is reflected in the shaky camera. This camera style is present all through the game and gives off a rather edgy feel to the game. Following some simple plot development, Nilin escapes this facility, as you might expect, and finds herself in the lower levels of Neo Paris. This grimy side of the city is where the first enemy encounter takes place, and this is the first moment that really impressed me.
Combat is a pure touch of genius. As was told to me, the system of the combo-lab allows you to create your own play style and combos. You have what are called Pressens of different varieties. I was able to try out different types of these Pressens; attack power, health regen and cooldown. I was given a combo string of 5 and can place the Pressens in any order I want provided they were unlocked, which is done through levelling up via XP. The unique feature of this combo string is that not all 5 slots had to be filled before the combo could be used. If only the first two were filled, then it would simply be a 2 string combo until more Pressens were chained on. However I didn’t have the options to play around with my own combos and had only the initial tutorial combos to equip myself with. This wasn’t a problem, however, as the combat feels magnificent and plays exquisitely. The way I like to think about all of this is that these Pressens are old memories that Nilin is regaining and rather than learning new moves, she is simply remembering ones that she once had but forgot due to the amnesia.
Combos will only be initiated upon striking an enemy. After this, the timing of the rest of your attacks is absolutely key. Hit them too early and you’ll break the combo. The same is also true if you hit the buttons too late. Get it right and Nilin will effortlessly hack away at the enemies. The old habit of mashing a button has gone straight out the window, this new system is a sure-fire winner and I hope it’s something that’s used as inspiration for future titles.
The fun didn’t end there either. Not only do you have the regular combo’s for attacking, you also have what is called an S-Pressen. These are considered as your ‘Special Attack’. The S-Pressen provided to us was called Fury, somewhat similar to a berserk status mode with speedier combat, increased strength and the ability to quickly chain attacks on a crowd of opponents. Once again, attacks still required precision timing in order to get those attacks of yours connecting.
There was plenty more to this game than just the combat. The game played out like a 3rd person adventure title. However, like many adventure games, it also featured moments of puzzle plat-forming. One particular moment where Nilin must traverse across a billboard had us puzzled for quite some time. It must have been 4 or 5 times that she fell to her death before it finally clicked in our minds. The billboard was automated and changed by spinning its many split panels to the next panel. This was a simple timed puzzle in which all that was required was to move across when the panels weren’t being changed. Because billboards are usually items mostly kept to the backgrounds of video games, we didn’t realise that it was the changing panels that knocked us off time after time. The simplistic subtlety was an extremely neat touch and hopefully the remainder of the game is packed full of subtle things such as the billboard.
Remember Me seemed to have a sense of linearity to it, but then this isn’t really a bad thing. Exploration isn’t something that’s really required in the game, and although it did just feel like I was headed in a straight line, this straight line was twisted around just enough to keep me interested. This is sign of good level design and an interesting environment. So what if it was all one way, I had fun looking around the world while I walked through it. But before I forget, there were the standard features that you’d find in any 3rd person adventure game that keep a linear experience at bay; collectables, hidden under every nook and cranny.
The character of Nilin is a female protagonist with darkish skin. She seemed to have a British accent. We didn’t really find out much about her, but then with the game being about Nilin trying to regain her memories, and only having played around 2 hours, it would be a great shame to have information about her presented to me straight away. It definitely seems as though it will be a gradual build up to finding out what happened in Nilin’s past and what becomes of it all. Hopefully she has deep character design and isn’t just an empty shell of a pretty looking body.
All our playing takes place within the city of Neo-Paris and seems to be a juxtaposition of the old and new Paris. The main area of the city in Neo-Paris is presented with very clean and white visuals and works with both modern and post-modern society. Technology has been built around long existing landmarks to create a new style environment that is fresh. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what the rest of the game looks like. If it keeps up the presentation style found in the City of Neo-Paris, we are in for a winner. Within this nice world, the game-play is presented to us with no loading screens. This includes transitions into cut-scenes and then back to game-play. Not a single moment was spent watching a loading screen, and if there was a cut-scene, it all happened in-game.
At the end of the stage, we were presented with a situation in which we were required to alter the memory of one of the games characters. When the memory sequence plays out, we slowly played it back and were able to alter specific moments within these memories, known as ‘glitches’. Once glitches have been found and the memory altered, we played the memory back once again but we found that we hadn’t altered the memory enough. What I gather from this is, with several different glitches in the memory, you are required to find the correct combination of glitches in order to correctly alter the memory. There didn’t seem to be any sort of drawback to failing the memory alter, though. It allowed us to rewind and alter more of the memory. I guess this is simply a case of trial and error until things are correct. Here’s hoping this memory alteration mechanic turns out to be a challenging aspect and one that requires a bit of thought.
From the few hours that Kieron, Luke and I spent with the game, it felt like a solid mix of game-play and narrative. It is certainly very clear within this game that memories are the key. They are tied in with the narrative, the mechanics and the development of the character and it’s nice to see a theme running through all sectors of a game. Let’s hope this carries on with the remainder of the game upon its release in June. I, for one, am definitely looking forward to the purchase of this and can see it being of my favourite games of 2013, and I’m sure others will think so too.
Going into this preview at Capcom London I did not know what to expect. I’m going to come clean now and admit that before I was offered the chance to go I’d never heard of “Remember me” but once I was told I would be seeing it I decided to look it up and the game looked promising. I just hoped that playing the game would match up to the hype I felt after researching it.
The game starts in the year 2084, you wake up in a what looks like a hospital with stunning visuals. The graphics in this game are really beautiful, especially the characters. When the game first starts, the thing you initially notice most are its characters. The surroundings also look very nice but are pushed into the background as the story takes the forefront, which is what should happen anyway.
You wake up to a man asking if what you remember, he seems to be quite upset that you have some memories but walks away after showing you how upset he is. You stumble to your feet and look around, a scanning robot, not un-like those found in Half-life 2, comes over and is there as the control tutorial guide. As you walk around the linear path in the hospital, it becomes apparent that it is more of a science facility than a place of healing.
It’s at this point you start getting a communication from an unknown man saying he’s contacting you using the “Sensen communication”. He wants you to get out of where ever you are and guides you through it. As soon as you get out of the main area a giant robot jumps out and starts to chase you. This initiates a running sequence with a great visual barrier so the player knows how close the robot is to attacking you. This is better than games that will just let the chaser get to within a certain range of you and tell you that you’ve failed.
The transition from cut-scene to gameplay is seemless. A lot of the time it was hard to tell if it was even a cut scene happening or the change of a camera angle. Quite a few times, Trishul would tell me to “go and look at that” and I’d respond with “I’m not even doing anything right now”. This stunned me as the transitions were so flawless they didn’t feel like transitions at all and makes the game flow well.
As you make your escape, you learn from Edge – the un-named man from before, that the enemy of this game is ‘Memeorize’. This organization turns memories into a commodity; you have to buy them, and they’re drug-like in nature. People can get addicted to the memories and even die if they cannot sustain the addiction. This was a very cool concept that as far as I’m aware is a brand new concept. Edge goes on to tell you that you were a “memory terrorist” fighting against Memeorize, a big corporation and not considered bad by the majority of the world. As he tells you all of this you are attacked and finally the combat begins. Before you engage in a fight you’re taken through a combo creation tutorial. In this game you earn “pressens” which are like combat memories, the pressens are shown as controller buttons on screen. A combo is a collection of certain types of pressens which, when the combo creation is full, will give you a full combo with either a power attack or a heal at some point in the combo. One great thing about the combo building is that if a combo isn’t full it will still let you do the combo up until the point where there are no pressens.
Now that you’ve created a combo you finally get to fight about 10 minutes into the game, which is a fine time thanks to the compelling story and chase sequences so far. You get into a fight with creatures called “Leapers” basically like addicts which don’t have much time left and have been rejected by society. The leapers look a lot like the Stalkers from Half-Life 2 but look very nice in game. As you fight and dodge, the combat feels a lot like the recent Batman Arkham games, you do a lot of fippy-overhead dodging with powerful combo attacks. Button mashing is not rewarded in this game, if you hit a button too early in a combo, the combo won’t continue. It’s nice for a game to not reward button mashing as a method of fighting, this makes the fighting system unique but familiar. This was a good move by Capcom.
As you get to the surface you find something called a S.A.T hatch, these serve as your healing stations. The climbing system in the game feels like a nice combination of Batman Arkham, Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia. This is a good thing as all of these games are known for their climbing and free running like movement. The climbing feels a little hand-holdy as the game will put an arrow right where you need to go next, not just your destination, the actual ledge you should jump to next. When you finally get to the surface level you finally see Neo-Paris and my god is it gorgeous! Futuristic with modern and old monuments of Paris can be seen. The visuals of the city are stunning and really make you want to explore the top levels. You see this from a slum-like area though, which somewhat puts a sourness over the image of Neo-Paris and makes you wonder how it got to the point where Paris has slums.
As you make your way to the place Edge told you to go you learn things about the game on the way. Your Aug eye is an ability when standing in certain places that will show you places of interest or sometimes way points to where you should go, it’s a nice little add on if you get stuck although you’re not likely to as the game is extremely linear up to this point. Along the way you get into more fights and learn more about the combat. A nice thing during combat is a red exclamation mark above an enemy which is about to attack which gives you enough warning to dodge the attack and counter. The memory trigger combat is an amazing combat system which I’m surprised hasn’t been done before. Your character has forgotten most things about herself including her fighting skills, but when you punch, that punch triggers the memory of a combo that started with that kind of attack and opens up the combo to be used, it’s a very ingenious idea which reminds me a lot of the girl from the Heroes TV show who could mimic things she’d seen happen like fighting.
As you win fights you level up and earn Procedural Memory Points or PMPs which unlock new abilities and upgrades. You also get to the point where you get a S-pressen which is a special pressen. These give you abilities that provide an advantage for a limited amount of time then have a cool down, much like a role-playing game.
With so many different and dynamic gameplay mechanics this game looks to be very promising upon release. I will personally be looking forward to it greatly and am excited about unravelling the mysteries of Memorize and your character’s past.