Okay, time to get started on my monster post. I think I will try to break it down a little, but here goes. We'll just see how far I get before I'm fatigued.
My first point of discussion will be premise. The way I see it, the dating sim genre has two general premises.
1: Over summer break, usually doing part-time work.
2: Over the course of a 3 year High School career.
An example of the former would be "Welcome to Pia Carrot", and an example of the latter would be the "Tokimeki Memorial" series.
I will be drawing the examples I use from the former and Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 1st Love (Yeah, the Japanese are great with names...).
I have chosen to use these as you can actually play them in English, which is a plus.
The reason I bring up the two general premises is simply that they necessarily bring with them slightly different game play.
As we can see, Remember Me fits snugly into category 1. So, keeping that in mind, let's move on to the next section.
Okay, so I'll try to go through how stats are generally implemented, and how they work, then go on to explain how I felt about Remember Me's implementation.
There is established system of stats, neither a set number of them. A usual number is 6. Both of the games I will compare to have 6.
Now, they vary wildly from game to game, and also whether the game is boys dating girls, or the other way around.
Okay, so let's have a look at the stats for those two games and Remember Me, before I go on to discussing how things work.
Welcome to Pia Carrot (boy dating girls):
Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 1st Love (girl dating boys):
In addition, all three games have systems for money and stress, but since those are not relevant to the love interests, I won't get into those here.
As you can see, even though they're called different things, they mostly overlap. Style, Fashion and Creative are essentially the same stat.
The stats themselves are not really all that interesting, though, it's all in how you gain them and how you need to raise them to win.
First, let's discuss how stats relate to love interests. Basically, in all dating sims, in addition to building the "like" stat of your love interest,
you also have to raise the appropriate stats or you won't win. Remember Me also has this system in order to get the Special Ending.
However, where I feel it gets a bit easy, is that each love interest is tied to only one stat, and that you are told right off which stat that is.
Usually, you would never be told which stats to raise, and finding that out pretty much is the game. Also, your love interests are generally tied
to more than one stat. Usually, all of them. You may have to get two of the high, but make sure you don't gain too many points in something
they don't like as well.
As an example, let's examine the winning criteria for one of the love interests in Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 1st Love:
Study: Very high
Art: Very high
Sports: Very low
Social: Very high
Naturally, you don't get to know any of this, and the game is figuring this combination out. I could give an example from Pia Carrot, too, but it would only make the same point.
However, I understand that you're making games for a more casual audience than the major game developers in Japan, so this simplification isn't my biggest complaint.
My biggest complaint, as I've touched on earlier, is how you gain stats. Well, I mean, the system is the same in all games at its core. You choose between various activities, and they raise a particular stat. The reason I feel Remember Me fails so badly at this point, is that the stats you gain are random. Meaning, you can't really plan your game out. You could do something that's supposed to give you culture, and then get Discipline instead. Add to this the fact that the factor of random success, and you have a nightmare situation, where you can lose even with the best of planning, as I Illustrated with my Hugh play through.
Okay, I think that's it for this post. I have more to discuss, and much more in depth, too, but this will have to do for right now. I'll have to play it once or twice more to really get a feel for balance before I comment on that. I can say, however, that it seems a little too hard to raise Creative. It's the secondary stat on a few activities, but not really that main stat of anything, which means that if you write a poem, for instance, you have about 1/4 or so chance of getting a creative boost. On my Hugh play through I did absolutely no activities that didn't have the possibility of raising Creative, yet I still only got to 87 (and as I said 98 like, but bad ending).