What would you do if you could reset unpleasant memories, share your precious moments with your loved one, see things through their eyes, feel what they felt in that situation? And when you happen to have the ability to alter those memories, turn, twist and form them just as you like? Would you use it?
Nilin has this unique ability and ,as a memory hunter of the Errorist, decided to use it against the corrupt industry of memory trade and the city of Neo-Paris (You guess right, it’s a futuristic setting). Of course along her way, something went terribly wrong and she got captured and her memory deleted and this, ladys and gentelmen, is where our game starts.
A story full of questions underlined with philosophical flavour and rounded with action gameplay. Oh, I’m going to have fun with this one…in one way or another…
I will start with the gameplay. First of all, the levels are very, very linear. Most of the time, it is essentially a road with tiny branches in which upgrades wait to be collected by the player. You have to go from A to B to continue the story and you will meet obstacles along the way. Either enemies you have to fight or you have climb around an obstacle.
The combat system…is interesting. Yes, we settle with “interesting” here as description, since I lack a better term. You will fight, for the most time, hand to hand and try to execute combos. Nothing out of ordinary, but you decide which button does what effect in the combo. I’m aware how stupid this wording sounds, so let me explain this in a more detailed way. There are different combo-sets which you gain throughout the story and you can unlock different buttons to fill those combos, so you can execute them in battle.
There are buttons which can fill up your Focus-Gauge (which you need to activate special attacks), some which do more damage, some which can heal you (…I can’t really come up with a decent explanation how this should work, other than Nilin has to be a complete sadist who takes pleasure in the pain of others.) and some which can enhance the effect of the buttons which follow in the combo. So you can create a combo-chain which does damage, heals you and does other nasty things.
Naturally, your enemies try to break your combo and they do a really good job. Of course, you can dodge and try to continue your combo, but with a narrow battleground with lots of annoying enemies, this isn’t as easy as it may sound. I have nothing against difficult battles, but some battles are difficult because I can lock the camera on an enemy which I want to keep in sight, so I can dodge its attacks.
For example, there is an enemy type which is stronger when other monsters/people are around. The logical solution to this problem is “kill the critters -> then kill the bigger critter”. This would be go smoothly, wouldn’t the camera switch when I take a few steps forward (you can’t control the camera by the way) in a way I can’t see the bigger critter attacking me from behind. It’s really annoying. The only time you can lock on an enemy is in “gun mode” (or rather the gun-like weapon which you obtain in the story).
But that aside, what is with the whole memory stealing and memory altering? That should be the focus in the story, right?…Right? It revolves around it, but the parts in which you use your altering ability are few and this is really a pity. How do you alter memories? Well, you see a sequence which you can rewind and you alter some details which lead to another outcome. It’s a really nice aspect of the game, but like I said, they are few, unfortunately. This system would be good for side quests in which you decide what the people think and remember. Ah, I should mention that this game has no side quests.
Now let’s get to the last point(s). The story and atmosphere.
Corrupt state/industry? Check. Rebells who do questionable things? Check. An (at first) amnesiac protagonist? Memory dealing/altering? Check. Yes, we had all those things in a way. (Why am I reminded of Total Recall?) But what is important is the presentation and in what way you do it.
When I say, the story isn’t surprising and predictable, I have to add, that I have the ability or more the curse to predict twists and turns in a story before they happen. (Which led to my reputation of being a “walking spoiler”) So…How predictable was it for me? To say it metaphorically…Some things had the nasty flavour of a punch in the face, because I have not only seen it coming, but it was so predictable that it hurt me. (or rather my non-existent heart). But I will forgive that…somewhat, since the story is not that bad, not at all, just not the strongest or the best thought out. Just some things had me raise my eyebrow and say “Really now?”
I have to give credit for the designs in this game. They are interesting to look at and you have the feeling that someone has put thought in it and tried to make a good world and atmosphere which goes along with the story. On one hand there are the Slums with the ghoul like creatures and other poor people who wither in pain, on the other the city were people talk normally to each other. It is not the best I have seen, but it’s well made. This and the naming theme in this game. (Slum 404, the Errorists, Bad Request…etc. and the fact that Edge has a resemblence to Alex Mercer (Prototype))
My conclusion on the hunt? I didn’t expect anything from it or at least, I tried to not expect anything. The Artwork is great and so is the world in my opinion, but in the gameplay and writing section it isn’t more than medicore. There was a lot of unused potential which was, sadly, not used. I could talk about the story more, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those, who haven’t played it yet. I will sum it up in the words, such a topic as story is hard to bring in a game and this game bit a little to much then it could chew in the end.
For those who want to know what Nilin means…It means flower. Nalin means lotus, in the buddhism, its the flower of enlightment…Yeah.