Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Remember Me Review

There are many reasons why I choose to review certain games and not others. For example, I decided not to review Bioshock Infinite because the reviews for the game itself have already said the things that I was going to say. Not to mention, this is one of the games that I will use for my upcoming Doctoral Dissertation so any review that I do on the game would make it difficult for some to comprehend the theories and critical analysis that I will use in that work. There are some games that are simply too horrible to ignore and I reserve the right, just as much as any reviewer to skewer them horribly and shame the people that worked on the game for making something so horrible with the money they are given (EA, Microsoft...I am looking at your direction). Then there are other games that have been getting mixed reviews, but there are those in that pile that are truly hidden gems in their own right.

Remember Me falls into the third category and its sub-category.

Remember Me was created by developers Dontnod and distrubtued by Capcom. The idea and premise of the game is that you play Nillin, a Memory Hunter who works for the Erroist Movement in 2084 Neo-Paris, who has the ability to steal memories and change them to her will. The plot goes that Nillin's memory was taken away from her and the player traverses through the game to recollect her missing memories. Along the way, the player is treated to many challenging enemies as well as breathtaking designs and landscapes.

To execute a move like this is akin to executing Hadoken. That's how much the gameplay annoyed me.

One of the biggest flaws however with Remember Me is the gameplay. The gameplay can be ridiculously easy in some levels and in others ridiculously difficult. This can also be seen as an advantage due to the fact that your skills will be tested, but this inconsistency makes it difficult for other players to enjoy the game. The other issue, withstanding are the moves. The player can customize the moves as they see fit, however, it gets repetitive after a while and it would often lead to button mashing. The camera movements in the game are also some of the worst that I have experienced in a long time and it was incredibly frustrating for me to deal with during my most difficult battles. These problems really set back the replay value of this game, even if there are items and easter eggs that you collect throughout its entirety. These flaws really set back what is otherwise a great game.

There are a lot of great things that this game has going for it however. The graphics are crisp, sharp and beautiful to look at it. The city landscape and art design of Neo-Paris incorporates not only the classic Saint Michel arcitecture but also gives it a cyberpunk touch. The music is also fantastic and is delivered in many ways whether through epic or a street-style brawl. The story is also fantastic but it has a few flaws.

For one, the concept and story telling plot device of the character trying to recall everything that happened to them is a great device that was for the most part used effectively, however, it felt rushed and I felt that, with the grogeous landscape of Neo-Paris, and the interesting philosphy and ideas that the game tackles, the game needed to be a slight smidge longer. However, the flipside to this is that it is possible that the developers were trying to make it into an interactive cinematic experience, akin to L.A. Noire, however, L.A. Noire had a world that players were able to explore more than Remember Me does. The exploration feels like you are walking through a corridor and not much else, with a few detours here and there. This is disappointing considering how gorgeous the landscape within the game really is.

The story again is excellent, aside from some of its lack of backstory and some contextual issues. It is also rare to see a game with a female protagonist, let alone one of color (she's multiracial) on the box cover art and touted as the hero through and through, however for almost the entirety of the game, she's Edge's errand girl and she is doing all of the work while he gets most of the infamy and credit (two steps forward, one step backwards).

One of the good things about Nillin's character design is that while she is thin, she is also muscular, she is witty and doesn't take shit from anyone and she isn't a female fighting fucktoy (aka, heavily sexualized attractive female that kicks ass that exists in a minority of the fantasies of fanboys, movie producers, politicians, tv producers, novelists, 90% of MRAs, music producers, musicians, filmmakers and video game designers, whether by their own choice or a culture that continually perpetuates and lives to sexually objectify men and women. These same groups also get rabid and upset and when they realize that women in real life are badasses but are not the FFF so they go "whatever, you're a bitch" when they don't get the attention that they are so "entitled" to. These fanboys go into the "Nice Guy" category and are therefore mysoginst trolls, I am including women in this too because they can be mysoginist trolls. Don't ever engage or feed them, if you encounter one on the Internet or in Real Life).

She can also be gentle and vulnerable, but she is strong and contemplative of her actions and the actions of others. She is a flawed, multifaceted character and she is relatable in many ways. She is one of the rarities in the video gaming culture, much like Lara Croft, Elizabeth Comstock and Female Shepard in that she is a fully developed character with her own flaws and she is aware of them and embraces them even.

Nillin as a character and as a hero is so important, not just because of the fact that she is a woman of color in a lead game, but also because it shows that the industry is at least trying to take a step in the right direction in trying to appeal to more demographics by being more diverse with it's characters and also giving them the rich complexity that Nillin has and by creating games that embrace the diversity of its culture and audience. That to me is why this game and Nillin's character is important. It may not be much to a lot of gamers, but to me and many women and girls who play video games, it's definitely worth a lot to see a woman of color as the lead and being represented in one realistic way (seeing as how men and women are all different and have different personalities, and that is okay) and it's nice to see that at least a few intersecting identities are being represented.

Aside from the many flaws that this game has, it is a gem and it really is worth a playthrough. However, I would wait for it to go on sale, the gameplay and camera angles really bothered me.

Bottom Line:
Remember Me gets 7.5 memory remixes out of 10.

I'm the Meta Fatale and I review it so you don't have to!

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