Redeemer

The Gaunt­let is thrown

Games Master - - Re­view -

You are Vasily, an as­sas­sin with a trou­bled past. As you started look­ing into cy­ber­netic aug­men­ta­tion and al­ter­ation, it all got a bit much, and you wanted to leave. It al­most cost you your life but you got out. 20 years later, af­ter liv­ing in peace with a sect of monks, your ex-em­ploy­ers have tracked you down. Af­ter hav­ing the life you’ve cher­ished for two decades ripped away, you are happy, and ev­ery­one who’s ever crossed you will find out just how much.

not

Redeemer mixes Gaunt­let-style top-down brawl­ing with the sort of close-up gory kills that the likes of Mor­tal Kom­bat and God Of War regularly cham­pion. Sobaka’s brawler keeps the copy-and-paste com­bat fresh by taking you on a tour of some of the nicest-look­ing en­vi­ron­ments you can ask for from a bud­get ti­tle; the qual­ity of the in­ven­tive level de­signs re­ally does be­lie the game’s £15 price tag. The fact that they’re al­most fully de­struc­tible can’t be over­looked, ei­ther: you’ll spend so much time just break­ing stuff we feel it should have been part of the game’s mar­ket­ing.

The com­bat feels like a wa­tered-down ver­sion of what you’d find in Bat­man’s Arkham games, though. In­stead of Bat-gad­gets, how­ever, you’ll be us­ing what­ever tools the gothic en­vi­ron­ments throw at you; chairs, ex­plo­sive bar­rels, crow­bars… it def­i­nitely gives you a crazy power rush as you string long com­bos to­gether, but the game is pre­vented from ever feel­ing com­pletely sat­is­fy­ing thanks to per­for­mance is­sues (even on the best rigs) and an over­all lim­ited num­ber of vi­able at­tacks and combo-en­ders.

Soldier­ing on

Even though it feels like you’ll be fight­ing the same sol­dier re­peat­edly on your trek through the long game, Sobaka does a good job of giv­ing what en­emy va­ri­ety there is a solid per­son­al­ity: well-ren­dered mod­els with dis­tinc­tive at­tack pat­terns and so­phis­ti­cated AI. En­e­mies will clock the rooms they’re in and move around cau­tiously, some­times at­tack­ing in pairs, some­times keep­ing their dis­tance. It keeps you on your toes, even when you think you’ve mas­tered the game.

With­out a doubt, Redeemer’s best of­fer­ings are its arena bat­tles: tense, Horde mode-like fights where you’re con­stantly un­der threat of be­ing over­whelmed by en­e­mies. It’s in these are­nas that you can re­ally ex­per­i­ment with the com­bat sys­tem and cause ab­so­lute bloody may­hem as you go from en­emy to en­emy, de­cap­i­tat­ing and rip­ping throats out like you’re bob­bing for Adam’s ap­ples. Just be­ware: the more that’s hap­pen­ing on screen, the more the frame rate chugs. It can be frus­trat­ing, es­pe­cially when you need to nail your tim­ing on a combo-end­ing su­per move.

Redeemer pro­vides a solid ex­pe­ri­ence for any­one who’s han­ker­ing for some old-school, top-down vi­o­lence, but it feels like it was re­leased in an un­fin­ished state. The com­bat de­liv­ers on the bru­tal power fan­tasy gim­mick, but parts of the game feel over­long, and even though Sobaka has tried to cre­ate a lived-in, mem­o­rable world, some­times the game’s per­son­al­ity gets lost be­hind the Dy­nasty War­riors-like combo mash­ing. Redeemer is great for re­liev­ing stress… if you can put up with its un­der­whelm­ing per­for­mance and repet­i­tive­ness.

“Redeemer’s best of­fer­ings are its arena bat­tles: tense, horde mode-like fights”

Redeemer is never bet­ter than when you’re asked to kick mul­ti­ple peo­ple to death all at once.

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