Nilin may not remember much at the beginning of Remember Me, but it only takes a brief overview from her partner Edge to remember how to fight. In our last preview, we took a look at the first two chapters of the game, learned the basics of combat, met Headache Tom, and remixed one would-be assassin’s memory. This time around we made it all the way through chapter four.
In these additional chapters we explored more of Neo-Paris, both above and below ground, and broke into a prison to retrieve Nilin’s memories and restore the inmates’ minds. In this prison, referred to as The Bastille, prisoners’ memories are confiscated until their sentences have been served. It’s a hopeless place with prisoners locked behind bars not knowing why they’re there. Nilin starts the game in The Bastille, and she’s not happy about her return trip. In the interest of avoiding large spoilers for the first half of Remember Me, this preview focuses on Nilin’s innovative combat.
Remember Me’s combat looks – and to a certain degree plays – like most action games. One button corresponds to attacks with your hands, while another connects Nilin’s feet to enemy faces. Different applications of these two buttons lead to different combinations, but the secondary effect of these attacks, and your control over them, is what sets Remember Me apart.
Throughout the campaign you unlock pre-determined combos with your Procedural Master Points. You can’t change the patterns of the combo, but you can define what these combos do. What Remember Me calls “Pressens,” can be assigned to each part of a combo. You might have a Pressen that does extra damage, one that restores your health, or one that speeds up the cooldown timer on your special attacks. These can be assigned to each part of your combo.
The first combo you get is a simple punch, punch, punch combo. It’s short and sweet, so I decide to assign it with all health-restoring Pressens. That way when I am running low on health I can just tap away at punch to quickly pull off the combo and regain some health. I fill another combo with all the cooldown expediters I could. This is the combo I resort to if I need access to a special move as soon as possible. On yet another combo, I throw in mostly attack power-ups with one special Pressen that multiplies the effect of the Pressens before it. This iss my general beat-enemies-up combo, so I use the simple kick, punch, kick, punch volley combo.
This is how I chose to build my combos, but you can put them together any way you’d like. They can be reassigned at any time. The combo lab can be accessed from the pause menu, meaning you can tailor your combos to specific enemies and encounters.
Pulling off combos feels close to the Batman: Arkham series. Like Batman, Nilin’s combos aren’t executed with high-speed button inputs. Punches and kicks are deliberate and precise, emphasizing rhythm rather than frenzied action. A Dynamic Combo Display shows up at the bottom of the screen, giving you real-time input feedback, much like what you would see in the training arena of a fighting game. It makes it simple to understand and define what combos you are pulling off.
Outside of punching and kicking, you also have a long-range Spammer that shoots projectiles. You can charge up the Spammer and fire a Junk Bolt, which unleashes a powerful long-range attack that also destroys elements of the environment. You also gain access to S. Pressens, special moves that are attached to cooldown timers. The Sensen Fury allows you to ignore your combos and wail away on enemies with powered-up attacks. The Sensen D.O.S. freezes all the enemies around you (and lets you see invisible ones) so you can take full advantage of your combos while the enemies just stand there and take it. The Smart Logic Bomb allows you to plant a bomb on an enemy that will explode and damage everyone around them, but it’s crucial that you move outside of the blast radius before it goes off. Finally, I got a chance to use the Sense R.I.P., which convinces enemy robots to join your cause, until they blow up and damage the enemies around them.
Customizing Nilin’s combat abilities gives you a sense of ownership over the attacks you are throwing at enemies. All players will ultimately be performing the same arsenal of combo strings to beat up enemies, but customizing the effects of the combo and its animations gives players a better understanding of what they’re doing, and a sense of pride over their skills. It makes the combat more than just combo string memorization and is an interesting highlight to a game that seems to be full of new ideas.