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burningsoup avatar 10:49 AM on 06.07.2013  (server time)
Why I Love Remember Me (but I want it to fail)

Remember Me hit the market a few days ago to less-than-glowing reviews, prompting ever so cynical would-be consumers to brush off the game with cute little quips like, "No, I will not remember you!" I am here to encourage this line of thinking. Do not buy this game. Just don't. If you see it on the shelf and you're curious, just walk away. Got it? Good.

That being said, I highly recommend this game. Whether you rent it or buy it somewhere down the line when the developers and publishers won't see any money from it, I think there's a lot in this game that is worth appreciating.

Yet I want it to fail... what gives?

First of all, I want to sell you on the game before I explain my devious machinations. For those of you who don't know, the game is set in a world stylized similarly to Blade Runner and Total Recall where memories are a drug, and if you can control memories, you can control the world. You play as Nilin, a Memory Hunter who can remix memories.

Although the majority of the game is a rather sub-par beat 'em up, the scenarios in which you remix memories are phenomenal, if only slightly undercooked. Yes, the feature is not used nearly enough, and when it is used, there's hardly a challenge involved. But the ingenuity of the mechanic left me too much in awe to care. And some of the things you have to do really tear at your moral core.

The aesthetics are also very commendable for a AAA game. Neo-Paris, the game's setting, is stunning to look at. The glitchy orchestral soundtrack creates a skewed sense of deixis as you begin to mistrust your surroundings and yourself. Some reviewers may say the world is a little to eccentric for its own good, but frankly it captures a distinct vibe that meshes 80s VHS culture with modern ideals of advancing technology.

Even the combat, generally agreed upon as the weak point, is brimming with individuality. Although I dreaded encounters, I lost no interest in mixing up my combos to their best effect. Overall, it's a style-over-substance game. It's worth a playthrough for any game aficionado.

But I want this game to sink deeper than the Titanic. I want Capcom to label the game a failure, and I want Dontnod to abandon any hope of a sequel. Does that seem a little harsh? Perhaps. But let me explain.

This game needs to be a cult classic. I firmly believe that that is the only market for it. Consider Conker's Bad Fur Day. Throw away your nostalgic biases for a moment, and let's get one thing clear. That game controls more or less like tar. Same with Killer7. Yet I consider both of them to be two of the best games ever made. Many of you probably agree with me.

The whole idea of cult classics is that they don't tend to fit our normal conceptions of "good," yet we grant forgiveness because of certain key elements. For Conker, it is the sheer audacity. For Killer7, it is the outrageous thematic presentation. For Remember Me, it is the remixes and the aesthetics.

If the game enjoys mainstream success, it will continue to be held to mainstream ideals of quality. The poor reviews will keep coming in to the extent where it will be banished to that "Land of Misfit Games that no one really takes seriously years from now." For a game crafted in such a way that it feels like an awesome B movie, I think it deserves a better fate than that.

Sure, it's possible that the game can be successful and ALSO become a cult classic. Perhaps I'm exaggerating the mediocre scores a bit. But there's one other factor that encouraged me to write this: If the game succeeds, there is the possibility of a sequel. The prospect of that would make me very excited. But I don't want it.

I want this game to be like Firefly, where people see it in retrospect and wish there was more, knowing they'll never get it. It's like a martyr; killed off with much potential so that for years to come we can point to it and say "games should be more like that." I think that is a fate more befitting this game. Remembered, in memoriam.

Let's kill this game... just to revive it again.

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