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Review of Remember11 -the age of infinity-

SubjectRemember11 -the age of infinity-
ByHelpfulness: 0
Vote: 9.8
quplet on 2022-12-02 last updated on 2022-12-03
ReviewRemember11... Oh man, Remember11...

The ultimate cumulation of everything Infinity has been building. One of the single smartest narratives ever told. The best paced VN to ever exist.

This review might be a bit boring since I have almost nothing negative to say about it. But regardless, here I go.

Unlike Ever17, which had a brilliant concept muddled by poor execution, Remember11 has both. An equally, if not more brilliant concept paired with near perfect execution.

The concept: Trap a 0D being, aka SELF, (standin for the player) in a never ending timeloop that is the game of Remember11.

Unlike Ever17 where the player standin is the good guy, almost a god-like figure brought down into the world of the story Remember11 flips it over and asks "Is the player, who controls the reality of this game, actually the 'good guy'? What if the characters don't want to be the subject of their whims, or perhaps resent the choices they make?" and Remember11 was born. The game is a never ending timeloop. There is no conclusive, "true" ending. No matter what ending you get, the game gives you the ominous "This story has not finished yet. Truth is not revealed. And it circulates through an incident. -- It is an infinity loop!" end screen. The game restarts. You, SELF, now back at the beginning, going at another loop, trying to find a way out, a proper conclusion, that doesn't exist. A perfect trap set by the characters of this game. And oh my lord is this so brilliant.

And the execution holds up just as well.

The largest problem with Ever17 was by far its pacing that was mostly a result of the writers being forced to mold the game around a dating sim format that was ubiquitous with VNs at the time. Fortunately, Remember11 got to break that mold completely. Gone are all romance routes, gone are the unnecessary separation of heroines, in comes nothing but pure, focused, and very tightly written sci-fi survival/mystery story. That isn't to say that the story doesn't make time for the characters to interact in relaxed ways, but more often than not those scenes never stay longer than necessary, and just about always relate in some way to the story at hand.

For example, during day 2 of Kokoro route, she and Yuni have a fun little SoL scene in the basement where he shares candy with Kokoro. There's jokes, laughter, but also a reveal that Yuni remembers a detail about her that she only shared at SPHIA, which directly leads to Kokoro thinking about it shortly later and connecting more things about the central mystery going on. Scenes like this are everywhere in this game and it makes even the most trivial of SoL scenes connect and matter!

Even with the tight focus on the story, the characters are not left out. All but one character is plenty fleshed out, with distinct traits often centering around the Jungian archetypes, which heavily relate to the themes of the game. The only exception is Enomoto, who is more a plot device than a character.

The themes of this game heavily draw from Jungian psychology and Lacan philosophy. I'm not really smart enough to delve into those much here, but after reading this story, learning up on those topics and relating them can create even more possibilities and revelations than there already are, but I'll share some of my interpretations here.

"When it is executed——
The transient world—— "Imaginary" is lost...
The bridge of the world—— "Symbolic" is crossed...
The true world—— "Real" will reveal its shape.
Together with the awakening of the "Third Eye"————"

The Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real, are directly from Lacan philosophy. The imaginary and symbolic are essentially are pillars of reality. Creations of our mind that allow us to function and derive meaning from the world. They blind us from the truth, or the Real. The real is a bit hard to describe. Calling it nothingness is still not right. Its a lack of anything, including a lack of nothingness. It is reality without the imaginary and symbolic. A person who experiences the Real, often through intense, world shattering trauma, often become during that time completely dysfunctional. Their world, the imaginary and symbolic pillars that make up their reality, have been shattered, leaving nothing but the true, unyielding, meaningless, real.

So what I interpret from this passage in the 92nd tip, The Final Level, is its describing the death of SELF. SELF experiences the real, as its imaginary and symbolic world breaks down, which shatters it's consciousness and since it has no body to anchor itself, is lost forever. Right at the moment of its owns self discovery.

There are countless assessments and interpretations like this you can make about this game and I love that so much. I love this VN, and this amazing experience will stay with me forever.

That said there are a couple complaints. There are a few things that I wish had more explicit answers or more hints to their nature. The plane ticket and the terabyte disc for example. Many mental illnesses it references, like DID or Gender Identity Disorder are outdated as well, but that can't really be helped. This VN is from 2004 after all.

Other stuff related to the VN:

Soundtrack, great as usual! Takeshi Abo almost never misses. Some of my favorite VN tracks are in this title.

Visuals: A semi-mixed bag. On one hand, the art direction and style are top notch. White on brown, earthy colors proliferate everywhere in the mountain, and tan, white used to give a distinct feel to SPHIA worked wonders. Unfortunately, the actually sprites and assets look low resolution pretty much all the time for some reason.

Overall, 9.8/10. I will never forget this VN.
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