Posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 8:00 AM by Paul Izod
The word on the wire about Remember Me, the upcoming title developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom, is that it’s the heir apparent to Mirror’s Edge’s free-running mantle.
On viewing the released gameplay trailer, however, I’m not so sure that’s the right comparison to make. Certainly, I’ll concede that the game does have a certain Mirror’s Edge feel to it, a certain intangible feel, perhaps the constant urgency to proceedings, a feeling of being driven forwards in constant motion. Really the first comparison, gameplay wise, that comes to my mind when looking at Remember Me is to the Assassin’s Creed games. The way your character traverses the environment in a free-form parkour style, scaling vertical surfaces in a scurrying and vaulting manner, coupled with the regular leaps across gaps seems more or less point for point a replica of the Assassin’s Creed modus operandi. Indeed, the very fact the game is in the third-person perspective inherently gives it more of a lean in tone towards Ezio and his ilk over Faith’s first-person antics.
If so, this is promising, as Ubisoft’s trilogy is arguably the pinnacle of enjoyable and intuitive environment-interactive game movement. However, this optimism is, for me, slightly tempered by what appears to be a somewhat restrictive indicator-based guidance system. In the trailer, you will notice that the next direction to travel is indicated by a small orange-arrowed icon. This guidance method is reminiscent of the same mechanic used in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, which was anything but free-roaming. Indeed, if this was the method employed by Dontnod the comparisons made to Mirror’s Edge will prove to be pretty invalid, as the game will essentially become a linear corridor walk, a pretty and protracted one granted, but linear all the same. However, for the time being it’s impossible to know and the developers should be given the benefit of the doubt. This could well be merely a suggestion tool, with other routes/free form scaling available. Of course, the fact that the section in the demo video is obviously a set piece (either extracted from the game or custom-made for the demo) means that it could be more structurally driven than the main part of the game.
The combat system, while visited relatively briefly in the gameplay video, seems to be something of an amalgamation of Assassin’s Creed, Arkham Asylum and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The pace of the combat seems pretty frenetic, with (as further investigation reveals) a focus on combos, which would seem to suggest an Arkham-style cerebral, but enjoyable approach. The glimpse of tactical features, such as the Logic Bomb and Sensen D.O.S., feels very Deus Ex. It remains to be seen how these gadgets affect the combat, with their availability and variety having the potential to affect gameplay diversity greatly. If nothing else, their presence offers a lot of potential
Visually and aesthetically the game is also reminiscent of other modern titles, but in this case different ones to that of its gameplay. To me the characters, world and art style are very much in the style of the Mass Effect games. Perhaps this is in part down to the fact that the games both have a hi-tech and futuristic setting, but the design of the game certainly seems to have taken a not insignificant cue from Bioware’s epic trilogy. From building architecture, through character models and on to vehicle design, world of Remember Me certainly has that gloss and feel of a Mass Effect style. In fact, it wouldn’t feel that out of place as a Mass Effect spin off game or DLC package. Look at the ship being piloted by the antagonist in the video and tell me it isn’t extremely similar to those in the Mass Effect games! The character designs however, do have a distinct Final Fantasy XIII feel to them. Now, before you sigh and give up on the game (you were about to as well weren’t you!) bear this in mind; Final Fantasy XIII is an undeniably great looking game. Put aside its considerable other baggage and you have to admit its visually a treat and the fact that Remember Me reminds me of that part of it is nothing but a massive compliment. The game looks good.
The art style isn’t wholly Mass Effect and Final Fantasy XIII in its basis however. I detect a distinct whiff, again, of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in the overall feel of the game aesthetics, perhaps once again partly due to the fact they both reside in a dystopian future.
Overall, Remember Me doesn’t seem like it’s going to show you anything you haven’t seen before. As we’ve seen, pretty much any of the game’s features can be seen as being at least somewhat influenced by a recent AAA title, be it Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Mirror’s Edge, Deus Ex or Arkham Asylum. While this is, to some extent, a disappointment to those of us who value creativity in the industry, I would argue that this is not necessarily a bad thing. Creativity isn’t always about new innovation. The saturation of the market means that true original innovation is always going to be a rare and difficult thing. I would argue that another form of creativity is the re-application of existing features and mechanic or the combination of existing factors in new and innovative ways. In this respect, Remember Me has the potential to be a very creative and exiting title and is one that I, for one, I’m looking forward to immensely.
Also, if nothing else, look at the titles that Remember Me is reminiscent of… Not a bad set of games to draw inspiration from don’t you think?
If everything comes together as I hope, Remember Me has the potential to be a very memorable title indeed (Oh come on, I couldn’t go a whole article without using a pun that easy!)