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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Remember Me.

TranscriptEdit

I've heard it said that you should name your game the same way you name a dog; it should be snappy and memorable and it shouldn't be anything you feel weird about yelling it across the public park when it runs off and tries to chase the ducks. And if you talk about it in conversation it shouldn't sound like you're trying to change the subject as in "what have you been playing this week, Yahtzee?" "Remember Me!" "Of course I remember you, you're the bloke who keeps sitting in my bar pretending to not ogle everything that walks in wearing a skirt".

Of course the other thing you have to worry about when naming a video game is not to call it something games journalists can twist into snarky headlines like "Remember Me?: Kinda Forgettable" *Arf Arf* before running off to write slobbering breaking news posts revealing that the dog in Call of Duty: Ghosts will have real time duck chasing gameplay, which is irritating because Remember Me deserves some props for at least trying, bless it's heart, for doing a few things really rather well and also for the splendid bum on the cover. I like to pretend that the bum is the one speaking the title aloud "Remember me?" "Certainly will."

So, what we have here is a third person brawler but also puzzly with climby bits and- oh fine let's just call it "Action-Adventure." In the Future, science has finally stopped worrying about how to make pieces of toast land right side up and has figured out how to digitize human memory, so everyone can delete the bad ones hold them back and relive the nice ones, but then the people go crazy for it in ways Apple could only dream of and the society of Neo Paris (No Seriously) becomes divided between blinkered luxury and appalling poverty under the watch of your standard breed of evil mega-corporation, the one that somehow runs the government, justice system, media, salvation army, ice cream vans etc. You play Nilin, who is a memory hunter, apparently some mix of MMA fighter and librarian with a posh accent and stupid haircut, who escapes from prison with the help of "Edge", revolutionary leader and former U2 guitarist because only she can help him bring down the hated Aristos. So the experience could be summed up as a triangle formed by the three points of Mirror's Edge, Beyond Good and Evil and Total Recall and a big shapely bum stick out the middle.

Now, when you establish early on that the central theme of the plot is the mucking about with memories, you might as well erect a big neon sign over it saying "There is going to be a twist". When we also learn that the main character has amnesia and that nobody seems to know where she came from, that sets off like five alarm bells that some revelation about our identity is due. Don't tell me Edge from U2 is only interested in us because we're the illegitimate daughter of Bono and Bono's wank doll that looks like Bono. Then we learn that Nilin has the unique ability not just to extract memories but to change then, so I guess we're bringing Inception to the mix as well.

In fact, this drives the game's most interesting mechanic where you have to scan back and forth from someone's memories of their life's defining moments looking for small elements to alter so that they remember the event differently and it fundamentally changes their personality. It's clever and well implemented, I just wish we did it more than four times in the course of the game. And it's presence adds another twelve or so alarm bells to the cacophony, "Oh yeah big ol' twist coming, your entire memory is probably false and you did it to yourself out of shame of being related to Bono or something." So the plot was just yodeling "Twist! Twist! Twist!" like a mountain top pretzel shack and I kind of felt taken out of the story as I played "Spot the Foreshadowing" the whole way through, and I was almost already more lingering in the doorstep of the story than inside the thing.

Visually, the game is very striking with a sort of clean, white, medically sterile aesthetic. Even the main character's name "Nilin" sounds like a brand of subscription medication, but the connectivity between locations is very shaky, probably because between every mission we cut to Nilin standing in the Doctor Who opening title blabbering about what's happen off camera and how she feels about it before jumping abruptly ahead to the next mission. Maybe it could help if Nilin could make up her bloody mind whether she's tough or fragile. Half the time talking in a voice quavering with emotion like she's watching Grave of the Fireflies in a wind tunnel. And the other half saying things like "This little Red Riding Hood has a basket full of kickass!" That is a direct quote and I'm going to leave it dangling here like a corpse on a gibbet while we consider that someone charged actual money to write it. Christ.

The combat is quite interesting, I've often wondered why no one had a build your own combo feature since God Hand because it was a really neat idea in God Hand, but Remember Me has one. Featuring the additional neat idea of having blows or "Pressens," another name that sounds like prescription medication, that restore your health when they land so you can turn the tide by slotting a bunch of those into your quick combos and enjoying a healing nutritious banquet of knuckle sandwiches. However the room by room punchouts do tend to get a bit samey and arduous.

With the slower soldier enemies you're just going through your custom Tai Chi sequences upon helpless stunlocked meatheads who endlessly drool out the three faintly misogynistic taunts right up to taking a fisty siesta, and with the faster mutant enemies you can barely get past your opening nose tweaks and nipple cripples before having to dodge out of the way of four other attacks. Being able to continue a combo after dodging, however, is quite nice but what isn't nice is the enemies that require multiple uses of super attacks to defeat so you have to jump around dodging for two minutes waiting for the cooldown, but then there are some combos pressens that reduce cooldowns. Erm...eyh fine let's just give the combat a "B" overall, yeah.

Remember Me is perhaps overly ambitious and overexcited about it's new ideas that it can hardly breathe. The memory editing feature could carry a game by itself, the build your own combos could carry a game by itself, having to share space makes them a bit lacking the room to grow, like a pair of ginger twins who kind of creep everyone out. The story's ideas are above average but at the same time presented baggily and muddily failing to make the most of the main points like a badly constructed tent. For a while it makes a big thing of how morally questionable Nilin is shaping up to be. Yeah none of the villains behave like they'd be terribly out of place going up against Captain Planet, but rewriting their personalities carries some dodgy issues of manipulating free will, leaving the whole pummeling people into unconsciousness thing. And while she angsts up a storm about it, at the end, Nilin is basically like "Bah! What can you do?" and closure for this arc is lost.

And finally without wishing to spoil, the twists I came up with were way better than the ones the plot actually had, not that I'm spoiling that there's a twist. Maybe the twist is that there is no twist, you just don't know. Maybe the twist is that this video doesn't end two words from now.

*pause*

Double twist!

AddendaEdit

Remembers when all this was fields: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

"Fisty siesta" sounds like it'd make a good name for a cocktail, actually, possibly incorporating tequila

Next week: E3, once we've all beaten our erections down

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2

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