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remember meRemember Me was made and developed by the French company Dontnod, and was later published by Capcom in 2013.
Remember Me takes place in the city of Neo-Paris in 2084, following the aftermath of a climatical biowar in the 2050s. Neo-Paris is recovering economically as well as culturally, and this is partly thanks to the success of Memorize and the Sensen. Developed by the president of Memorize, Charles Cartier-Wells, the Sensen allows an individual to access any and all of their memories at any time; to erase painful memories that they don't wish to recall; share memories with their loved ones in exchange for trust; and to download a generic - or specific - memory for them to experience for themselves. Sounds good theoretically, right? Not so. The manipulation and degradation of memories has brought about a loss of identity and self, and has given rise to the Leapers (think zombies) and those outside the comfortress of Neo-Paris are lost at sea, stranded in their own individuals islands of misplaced memory. The Errorists are the ones that stand up to Memorize, seeking to eradicate the device and show the world just how damaged it's become, by gaining access to something that was once so sacred.
The game begins with Nilin, our protagonist, having her memory wiped in the Bastille fortress for her crimes as a memory hunter. She is the last, and final, Errorist. With her the Errorist cause will be eradicated. Fortunately for humanity, Edge, the rebellion's mysterious leader, orchestrates Nilin's escape, and then instructs her to take down Memorize by gaining access to the central memory servers and destroying the Sensen once and for all.
Nilin, naturally, struggles with the morality of what she's doing, that she's playing God, and there's so much she doesn't know, so much of herself left to find. Eventually, with a great deal of soul-searching and evidence to back it up, Edge's goals become Nilin's. The world cannot continue on like this. A less than ideal saviour she may be, but she's the only one they've got.
Whilst Dontnod's second game Life is Strange achieved a great deal of success, Remember Me slipped under the radar. Despite having a few imperfections (a steep battle curve and several tear-your-hair-out moments if you don't master combo usage), the story is engaging and intriguing, the world rich and well developed. And then there's Nilin herself, who, as a character, is incredibly important. Not only is she female, Nilin is twenty-six, which is age for a female protagonist you never seem to see in an A game. She's very engaging, endearing, and driven, not afraid to stand up for herself and what little she does know... and this is before I even touch on the soundtrack, which is stellar. Glitch orchestra is a feast for your ears. Hopefully this humble summary can convince you to take to Neo-Paris yourself.
whyI actually picked up Remember Me on a whim. Critics gave so many mixed reviews it was hard to tell what was true, but several friends recommended it and that it was really, truly, good. They weren't wrong.
Retrospectively, I can certainly see it's inspirations (Mirror's Edge for sure), but even with the comfortable territory of a parkour platformer, it manages to be entirely new. I still love the memory rewrite sequences.
Conceptually, Remember Me is perfect. It's an incredibly well thought out world… if you take the time to read all the details the game provides you in its codices. Which is fair; a lot of it is empty exposition that I wouldn't want thrown at me because it's not plot relevant, but it explains why we're here at this point in time and what prompted the advent of Sensen, rather than just "your suspension of disbelief today is about a memory device, roll with it". What I also quickly realised was that Remember Me is not a game to rush. It may be linear, but it's something to take your time with, to observe, to soak up the atmosphere; there's a lot of little details and a lot that you can gain by simply looking at your surroundings. Yes, it's linear. But there's so much else going on! The graffiti, the NPCs, even what the leapers are saying (it's a bit of fridge horror when you realise what's happening on a subsequent playthrough), the treatment of robots, even the red light district and the posters for "BITs, Babes in the Shell". This game never screams exposition at you, but it's literally all around you. It's grand. I love this universe a lot; I'm very into it.
There's also a robot A.I., very late on, who is the first to acknowledge you (despite the number of places you've broken into at that point) and makes a fine speculative point of who would lead the robot revolution in this world, because she is rightly correct. This world's biggest problem right now is the memory plague, but there's more to it. I mean, really.
I've touched on the story and Nilin as well, but the idea of memory and what memory means is something that has always interested me (which was evidenced by my previous domain name) so it was naturally a match made in heaven for me. The designs. The sleek lines, the gritty underground, dust particles in the air, the music, the characters, the ideas, everything. It is one of my favourite games, hands down.
I look forward to the directions Dontnod takes me in next.
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