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Who Did It Better? Remember Me or Ghost Trick

Ghost Trick Characters

Anyone who has been reading this site lately can probably tell that I ended up on the positive side of the critical split over Remember Me. Unlike some of the bigger sites like Joystiq, who chose to ignore the creativity in the concept and delivery of Remember Me to focus on the issues with the repetitive gameplay, I liked what I saw in this odd neo-punk brawler – even if all the components of the game weren’t on message all the time. Not that I’m speaking badly of Joystiq here, I usually find their reviews pretty on target, I just though Remember Me was a bit of a special case – but maybe I’m just soft on games which are outside the main three genres (MMO, MOBA, FPS) and aren’t sequels (and show some promise, obviously I don’t love games which just fail).

Regardless, the overall opinion on Remember Me has been firmly mixed – although oddly enough there was one part of the gameplay that virtually everyone has agreed they enjoyed: the memory remixing.

For anyone who hasn’t played the game, this basically consists of a scene from someones memory which plays out as you watch – and you can alter small things about it in order to alter the persons memory and shift the way this event impacted on them. Small things like knocking items off tables or untying ropes can have big consequences, and it was particularly enjoyable to see some of the wacky or unexpected things which could occur if only someone had left their handbag open, or didn’t put a cup into the cup rack.

Personally I thought these sections were a breath of fresh air in what could be a bit of a stale game at times, unfortunately they were infrequent and underused in the long run which has probably been yet another factor in this games lukewarm reception. It was the first time I’d encountered gameplay like this and I thought it was quite an innovative idea from the Remember Me creators.

Little did I know it had been done before, last year in the DS game Ghost Trick.

Now Ghost Trick is quite different to Remember Me in terms of concept and gameplay. Where Remember Me is a futuristic action adventure game where you play as a memory hunter in a distopic future where memories have been commoditised, Ghost Trick is a more lighthearted puzzle game where you play as a “phantom detective” investigating his own death – and using some otherworldly powers to save lives as he does so. Despite the differences in tone and audience, they both included very similar sections in regards to memory.

That is to say, virtually identical (if we exempt graphics from the delivery).

In Ghost Trick, as in Remember Me, you are given a scene which plays out and prompted to alter the events by manipulating small details. In Ghost Trick the reason is that you are a ghost and so can inhabit inanimate objects, in Remember Me it’s that smaller details are easy to change in someone memory. Either way, the sections are remarkably similar across both titles – with the main exception being that for Ghost Trick it is the sole focus of the game (it is a puzzle game after all) and for Remember Me these sections are thrown in infrequently amidst the brawling and exploration.

So who did it better? Well despite the much more HD delivery of Remember Me’s memory segments (and the darker tone in delivery), I have to give the nod to Ghost Trick on this one. By making this kind of time manipulation the center of their game, as opposed to just another thing the player gets up to, they gave it the depth and focus it deserves which results in a more interesting and consistent experience for the player. Remember Me’s sections might have been more memorable, but they were so underutilised that I wouldn’t feel right implying they beat Ghost Trick at its own game (so to speak).

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