August 2, 2017
Gambitious Digital Entertainment
Redeemer is a steroid-fuelled rampage of pure aggressive brutality. It’s the kind of testosterone driven slaughterfest that would leave the Gears of War characters whimpering in a pile of pathetic manlessenss. It’s every other synonym for macho violence you can think of – and for that reason I kind of love Redeemer.
Yes, the game is stupid. Yes, it’s completely over-the-top. But that’s exactly what it wants to be and it achieves it with flying colours. Although the flying colours are super masculine colours, like blood red and varying intensities of black.
Redeemer is an isometric action game where you punch, kick, stab, bludgeon or blast you way through crowds of enemies. Using Batman Arkham-esque combat, you utilise your surroundings, jump from one enemy to the next, and pummel your foes into submission (death is the best form of submission). With a range of quickly breaking weapons on offer, low ammunition guns, and throwable environmental objects, Redeemer’s combat actually becomes a bit of a fun mix of viscous carnage and resource management. Of course the game also offers hand-to-hand combat options, dodging, blocking, parrying, stealth kills, environmental kills, attack combos, and every other imaginable mechanic from every other brawler to spice up your gameplay.
The story of Redeemer is about as irrelevant as the thousands of lives you end throughout the game, but I’ll summarise regardless. You play as Vasily, an ex-special operatives agent who escapes from his life of killing and torturing to find peace amongst a monastery. When his past life catches up with him, Vasily is dragged back into the world of blood and violence, but is now fighting against the group he once left. The story is most certainly not the selling point here, but the game does a pretty good job of not throwing it in your face or making you suffer through tedious dialogue (too much).
The real hero of the game is the combat. Developer Sobaka Studio made sure you feel the weight of every blow. The game has impact which is mirrored in every part of the design – sound, visuals, pace. Finishing blows and environmental kills are particularly brutal in this respect with special animations, zooms, and slow-mo used to capture the full majesty of Vasily tearing out an opponents throat, or pushing their head through a spinning saw blade.
“You can definitely employ some skill and tactics to make your murderous rampage flow smoothly. Almost as smoothly as your opponents innards flowing across the ground.”
Combat is varied enough and dynamic enough that it isn’t just button mashing either. You can definitely employ some skill and tactics to make your murderous rampage flow smoothly. Almost as smoothly as your opponents innards flowing across the ground. However, despite having depth to the game’s combat, nothing really changes or advances as you progress. You come across new enemies and new weapons as you play, but these changes aren’t really drastic enough for the game to continue feeling fresh. And without any new mechanics being introduced into the fray, I went from feeling like a badass battle monk to a somewhat bored battle monk. I think it was around chapter 11 when I moved into a new area which contained cyborg enemies that I realised I had begun going through the motions. There wasn’t enough new stuff to grasp me. My murderous rampage had ended internally, yet there was so much more external rampage left.
In this sense the game is a little bit disappointing. So much about it is great, including the visuals which are surprisingly sharp for an isometric game. But as soon as you hit that wall of repetitive gameplay there is really no going back. It doesn’t have a good story to motivate me to keep playing, it doesn’t have enough new mechanics to keep my interest spiking, and so it becomes a bit of a chore to play. I think if the game handled difficulty better things may be completely different. But unfortunately Redeemer has an odd difficulty curve that doesn’t really bend upwards in the way you’d expect. In fact the difficulty is kind of all over the place with some sections feeling much easier than what came before it.
- Great visuals, particularly for an isometric game
- Weighty and satisfying combat
- Good range of combat abilities
- Gameplay becomes repetetive
- Difficulty curve seems odd
Redeemer is an impressive game and one that can provide a fair amount of entertainment before the repetition sets in. For those wondering, you could easily get your moneys worth out of the opening 10 or so chapters, but eventually the core gameplay begins to wear thin. Jump into the game with an aggressive mind-set and play-style because you are going to want to enjoy every single punch to the face and kick to the chest. It’s pure bloody and violent goodness.