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Odin Does Not Want To Remember

Remember Me Gameplay

We all should know by now that Odin loves Cyberpunk. I mean, really loves cyberpunk. Odin is currently writing a cyberpunk book, after all. Odin probably has an unhealthy obsession, but let’s not discuss that, shall we?

There is also a severe lack of content in the genre, especially ones with three dimensional female and enby characters that aren’t reduced to sex bots or used as a grim warning that women shouldn’t augment because HOOOORMOOOONES ooooooOOOOOooooooOOOOSCARY, (another reason why I am writing a damned book on the subject) And I was somewhat intrigued by the Capcom/DontNod release Remember Me.

But frustration does not even begin to encapsulate my experiences with this…game.

I have….feelings. Again.

…and I hate those.

So hunker down, grab a sammich and some tea, and settle in for a long ride on this gaming rant.

-heavy sigh- I filled out FOUR PAGES OF NOTES for this game. FOUR. PAGES.

wanted to like this game. I really did. There was a lot of potential in it, but there was just SO. MUCH. IN. THE. WAY. I haven’t the slightest on where to start in this torrent of mechanical and storytelling obstructions.

I’ll start off by saying: hardcore parkour….in high heels.

This game was so confused. I have no idea what the genre was supposed to be. Is it horror themed? I feel like I am going to encounter Golem from LOTR for some reason. But at the same time it also felt like a plucky anime adventure and we were going off on an EPIC QUEST (TM). The dialogue, I just couldn’t tell if this game was supposed to be taken seriously or if everyone was all in light spirits.

The forced perspective camera shifts and shoehorned audio cues of pizzicato string pulls in the music felt jammed dowm ny throat like LOOKIT RIGHT HERE! THIS IS IMPORTANT! AREN’T YOU FEELING FEELS RIGHT NOW?? WHY NOT? FEEL DAMMIT.

I have to mention the music, because I find it rather unusual that I have a remark on it as a design flaw. Usually audio design is very well scripted within a game, or insignificant and barely needs mentioning. There was the cyberpunky synths blended with the haunting vocals, and that’s nice enough, but it was smashed with orchestral suspense scores that made it sound like the audio equivalent of a cold fusion attempt by a five year old with megabloks.

The level design was so mind-numbingly linear and cramped into weird tunnels that were painted over to make it look like you were outside in an open world. And there were supposedly collectibles strewn all over the game.

I have no idea where, they teach you that exploration is futile early on in the game and I just didn’t bother. Though on the subject of collectibles, they did string out a bunch of visual clues to where things could be, and I probably could have gotten them all if I cared more. I did also like how the clues disappeared after you got the object, so you aren’t second guessing if it was indeed what the clue was talking about.

So I suppose we should continue with the writing because that is the part that irritates me the most. Like a….pokey itchy thing that is unpleasantly warm and squelchy.

The voice acting was kinda rough, overly animated and just irritates me the same way voice dubbed anime sounds. (Yes, I am one of those people.)

The giant scary robots, my first encounter was TERRIFYING, and I loved it! The primal animalistic screams, chasing me around and making me feel like a hopeless little bunny, awesome stuff.

But when I encountered them the next time, they were kind of OTT semi-sentient smug assholes that I just didn’t see as law enforcement devices. “OH YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA GET AWAY? GIVE UP NOW!” etc etc. Nah, I’ll pass.

There’s still the “Commanding Boyfriend/Male Keeper” trope written in the Edge character that annoyed the piss out of me. Yeah, the dynamic made sense in the end, but doesn’t make me appreciate it or even feel any better about it.

And yes, there are a lot of female characters encountered in the game, but they were still horridly written and excruciatingly flat.  And you know how many times those female characters were called “Bitch” through out the entirety of the game?

At least four times per character arc. Lots more if they were going for “oh my she’s so cruel and mean!” None of the characters you were supposed to like.

It’s like they were trying to say “Look! Lookit all these women we have! They’re still bitches though. Can’t help that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

And I am not personally offended by the word Bitch, but given the connotations, I am trying to actively remove it from my vocabulary. There are much more creative ways to insult someone anyways. I am a personal fan of “Cranberry Fucknut,” and I invite you to do the same.

A lot of it could be localization issues, but I have a feeling the tone does not change in the game’s native language.

Everyone was very touchy feely and grabby around Nilin too, and it just made me very uncomfortable. Yanking her around as if she as a ragdoll squicked me out something fierce.

Her memory gaps were also written inconsistently. Yeah I understand the whole premise of the game is that her brain got scrambled, but when encountering characters that she has supposedly met before dialog went something along the lines of this:

“Excuse me have we met before? Yes? Okay I guess this is a thing we’re doing.”

-some sort of witty banter/insult against the enemy’s character and personality that Nilin somehow remembers with great detail-

“Oh wait, I don’t know you…what? Why are we fighting?”

“WAIT YES I DO!!! HAVE AT YOU!”

….ehhhhn.

Then comes the “pivotal” point of the story that was supposed to tie everything together…but the narrative here, it irks me so much as both a storyteller and a content editor. I am the type of person that will totally push through horrid gameplay if the story is engaging and I have a mighty need to see it through to the end.

 

Now herein comes the spoilers, so click on the thingy if you want to hear my rant.

So midway through the game you set off to remix the memory of an individual who is supposed to have endured a traumatic event that made her SO BITTER that she created her awesome dystopic plans for the human race, fueled by hatred and indifference.

At first glance, I had feared the worst (many might know what I am implying here. If you don’t, you are probably the privileged members of society that NEVER have to worry about the subject matter in the first place.)

But much to my relief, this trope was never played out.

However. HOW.EV.ER.

The actual event informs you that the character you are invading is Nilin’s mother. You are transported inside a car where you see 4 or 5yo Nilin being rowdy in the back seat because (as many children of that age will be) she is very excited that it is her birthday.  So she’s squirming around wanting her birthday present, and distracts her mother to a point where she wrecks the car.

Ok, I’m following. I get this. That’s pretty deng awful.

Then the mother’s words: “Ow my leg! This is your fault! You did this to me! How could you!?”

That’s it. That’s the event.

…aaaaand you’ve lost me.

Granted, if you’re in that much pain it might be a spur of the moment thing that you would say. But generally GOOD parents won’t blame their deng children for being children. And this was the horrid traumatic event that turned her mother misanthropic? Am I missing something here?

What they also never tell you is what happened in between this accident and how Nilin apparently ran away to be a Memory Hunter (which I have yet to understand what that is as well. Is this a trade? They half assedly imply that she is talented, or might be the only one? Are there others? GAH!) Or did she get kicked out? What?

This one supposed triggering incident sparked a cataclysmic technological dystopia, and I’m just not buying it. It’s hard for me to give the benefit of the doubt at this point.

And unfortunately, this plot point is what tells the remainder of the story, which I had a hard time engaging with afterwards. It was clunky and choppy. It could have been a feel good ‘awe they’re working together to fix the world they broke’ kind of thing. But GAH. SOCLOSE.

 

What is most frustrating, is that this had SO MUCH potential, but they executed such a devastating near-miss that I personally cannot bring myself to forgive.

MOVING ON! MECHANICS? Yeah, sure I guess.

Hoooooowheee. This game brought me SO CLOSE to just putting it down and never reaching through it again. This game only took me 12 hours to beat. Not consecutive ones, mind you. Nope, those were some painful and long 12 hours. I started this game TWO MONTHS AGO, and it has taken me this long to finish it.

This game felt like there were twelve development teams working on it at the same time, touching, tweaking, eating, and shoving more features into it that just didn’t need to be there. Like a tormented augment test subject screaming out in agony.

EVERY DAMNED SCENE they were introducing new mechanics and it just didn’t add anything to the overall experience except anguish. The entire game was a tutorial.

Let’s talk combat, shall we?

And starting with the GOOD, as a button masher of fighting games, I really appreciate having to memorize only a FEW combos through out the entire game. Then I could tailor the status effects to anything I wanted/needed. I really liked how that was structured.

But what…what are these? Pressens? What do they even do? Why are they locked if they don’t do anything different than the previous versions???? Why lock them down so that I can’t fill out the combos completely, especially if the combos are the ENTIRE BASIS of the game??? New buttons I unlock aren’t even BETTER than the ones I have already, there’s just more of them? Why?

What I think MIGHT have fixed the issue is if they had treated the Pressens like DnD wizard spells:

Okay, you are EXP level 1, this means you can put in 10 level 1 Pressens, 3 level 2, etc. When you get to level 2 that moves up to 12, 5, and you unlock 1 level 3 Pressen, etc.

And on the subject of combat gameplay, if you are going to design a brawler FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS UNHOLY HAVE AN AUTO TARGETING SYSTEM. It is INFURIATING to have to control BOTH the camera and the direction you are facing AS WELL AS trying to hit your combo buttons AND DODGE the swarm (and it’s ALWAYS a swarm) of enemies to try and get a hit in edgewise.

A PLAYER ONLY HAS A MAXIMUM OF TWO HANDS AT ANY GIVEN POINT IN THEIR LIVES. I can’t be diddling the thumbstick while pressing X and Y while mashing A (aka DODGE) at the same time.

SPEAKING OF SWARMS. I have a bone to pick about the boss encounter with Johnny Greenteeth.

He is the transporty blink creature trope that you have to stun in order to get a hit on. Ok. Fine. I can deal with that.

He also summons minions to get in the way. Alright, I like that less but I can deal with that. Sure whatever.

He can summon different types of minions. Like the ones that are immune to stun. So basically, as you are trying to dodge Johnny’s rapid fire slashy attacks, you finally get him to sit still a bit. But a new SWARM of minions are running after you slapping your ass so you can’t complete a combo on him and you have to wait 120 seconds for a cooldown on the ability.

(Yes, you can alter your combos to decrease the cooldown, that is one of a plethora, AND I MEAN PLETHORA IN THE LITERAL SENSE, of mechanics, but it is hard to take advantage of WHEN YOU ARE CONSTANTLY FIGHTING SWARMS.)

Hold up a sec. No. Fuck off with that.

What makes matters worse is that if you die, any charge you built up when you first entered the room is GONE, so you have to dick around and dive balls deep into the swarm to rebuild your charge so you can TRY to stun him again.

EVENTUALLY I tried to pick off the ones that are immune BEFORE stunning Johnny, provided he didn’t summon enough stun immune creatures that would trigger him to summon MORE after I killed them all off. For example, if there were three or more stun immune creatures, he would summon another wave after the third was killed. And the new wave also may or may not be stun immune. It’s random! Yay!

Liked that encounter? (No. gfy.) Let’s move on to the next chapter WHERE YOU GET TO FIGHT TWO JOHNNY GREENTEETH?? AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!

FUCK. OFF.

This was literally the one fight that I considered dropping the controller and going off to play Happy Fun Time Kitten Dress Up Mountain instead. (Someone please make that a game.)

On the subject of infuriating encounters, I’d like to discuss the guards that damage you when you hit them.

That is a neat mechanic, HOWEVER. If you have multiple in a room, or you reach one with little health, this is also infuriating. This goes back to the issue of if you die, you lose your charge. If you are trapped in a room with nothing BUT these guys, and you have no little guys to feed off of, you have no way of building your charge back without hitting them head on. If you are on low health, you WILL DIE. Repeatedly.

Same for the invisible/light sensitive creatures that do nothing but slash me and turn incorporeal in the darkness. If I encounter NOTHING but them, and there is not light source (there are quite a few of these places) I cannot build my charge enough to stun them.

WTF is Aug-Eye? Every time I tried to press it, nothing happened. Occasionally the camera shifts just slightly in a direction I may or may not already be facing. I think it was supposed to be the hint system, but it never worked for me.

MEMORY REMIXES!

This game has probably contributed to my RSI, and I feel very bad for those individuals with arthritis. The controller mechanics of these puzzles were literally painful.

If you were using a controller, you had to wind the thumbstick forward and backward through a two to three minute cutscene in order to scramble the events that took place in the memory. Back and forth back and forth rotating the thumbstick around for probably ten minutes at a time.

My thumb was KILLING ME after ONE of these puzzles. Especially because the glitch you were searching for was so temperamental, you had to fidget around until it managed to snap on what you were looking for. And so help you if you have TWO glitches to pick from at the same time.

-deep inhale- Okay. I *think* I have covered the most pertinent points of this game.

I just….the frustration is real, man. This could have been SO. GOOD. There was so much potential here.

Apparently Dontnod want to make another game in the series, but Capcom pretty much said NAH.

I dunno man. I need a break. Maybe a drink. Or two. This one fucked me up real good.

Ta for now.

 

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