The Critical Difference Between Remember Me and Mirror’s Edge
It seems that its comparison week here at GamePlayer, so I thought what better time to explore the differences between two games which didn’t quite achieve the success they wanted – only for completely different reasons.
Mirror’s Edge and Remember Me have been compared quite a lot recently, usually in the comments section of [insert game site here] after Remember Me received a less than stellar review score (variants of the comment “but Mirror’s Edge didn’t have high scores and tons of people love that!” have been disturbingly frequent over the last month). The two games, although slightly separate in genre (Remember Me is a third person action adventure, Mirror’s Edge is a first person shooter) do have quite a few similarities so it’s easy to see why they have been paired together – even if the reasons for their lacklustre reception are completely opposite.
What exactly do Mirror’s Edge and Remember Me have in common? Well let’s take a quick look:
- A female protagonist
- Futuristic setting
- 8 levels not including the prologue
- All the levels take place within a city
- Melee combat
- Main character is a criminal
- Anti-establishment approach to authority
The list goes on, but I think you get the idea. Both games are in a similar vein, from their antagonistic view of authority to the way both lead characters operate outside of the law in order to accomplish their goals.
And of course both games received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike.
But the similarity stops here. It seems that a lot of people (despite being perfectly willing to throw Mirror’s Edge and Remember Me in the same boat if it supports their argument) have forgotten what exactly it was that held Mirror’s Edge back from being a media darling, or if not forgotten then haven’t been paying close enough attention to exactly what Remember Me is lacking.
You see, the difference between the two can virtually be summarised in one sentence: The problem with Mirror’s Edge was that it was all action and no story, whereas Remember Me is all story with no action.
Mirror’s Edge exists as a gameplay experiment of sorts. Its unique freerunning gameplay was almost universally praised, although there were some complaints over the way it interacted with the FPS elements of the game (which a lot of people agreed were almost unnecessary). Its story on the other hand, was comparatively crude – semi-simplistic with undeveloped characters and unnecessary tangents in order to justify travelling to different areas in order to make use of the freerunning gameplay which was the only thing anyone really cared about.
In comparison, Remember Me is a game with an incredibly unique story and detailed world which is let down by its unimaginative and fairly simplistic gameplay. While its story (in all aspects, including the back story and the history of the world you inhabit) is very strong and supports the truly unique sections of the game (the memory remixes) perfectly, you have to wade through so many meaningless waves of brawling enemies (none of which have a gun for some reason which is never touched upon) in order to experience it that its almost not worth the trip.
So while it may be simple to say that both Remember Me and Mirror’s Edge, which on the surface seem like similar games, weren’t received well by critics – if you dig a little deeper you can see that the reason they suffered a mixed response is completely different from game to game.
And when it comes to sequel time (with Mirror’s Edge 2 already confirmed), it’s my opinion that you can always write a better story – but memorable gameplay can be incredibly hard to “add in” the second time around.