New Year’s resolutions are the worst. Start a new diet, stop drinking, conquer that ever-increasing backlog of games you still haven’t got around to starting – let along finishing and various other things you’ll never properly achieve. I don’t intend to commit to more reviews each week or breaking news articles, but as I have some downtime, let’s start the year with a review: Redeemer Enhanced Edition, by Sobaka Studio.
In Redeemer Enhanced Edition, you play a built-like-a-brick-shithouse-monk named Vasily. Vasily was made with the same cast as God of War’s Kratos, only with a much bigger beard. And you know what they say about beards: bigger beards, more quantities of beard oil. Vasily likes his life as a monk in the mountains until one day a bunch of ruffians invade and start killing all of his brethren.
It’s not a coincidence however; Vasily has a past. You see, getting that buff and having that long a beard doesn’t come from solitary confinement away from society, he got it from his days as a mercenary and having six Weetabix at a time. These unwanted visitors have come for Vasily and with all the death they bring, Vasily raises it with his first, feet and any weaponry he can get his hams on.
Punch Drunk Monk
Vasily is a natural fighter and from your first encounters, there is enormous satisfaction in belting these goons with their inefficient protective garb. Vasily is a badass. At first, you start with your bare hands, but you can pick up firearms and swipe them from your enemy to use against them. The firearm combat is pretty good as you can shoot your enemies with the right analogue stick. It’s pretty effective, given Redeemer Enhanced Edition is a top-down shooter/beat ’em up.
Of course, ammo is limited so you will need to conserve it if you want to get far in the game. Personally, I’m more than happy to wander around using melee attacks at any opportunity, but as the game progresses, the difficulty spikes quite a bit and having ranged attacks is vital if you’re going to stick with it. Still, it’s so much fun to get up close and punch an opponent. I wasn’t a fan of the kicks though, so I’m not going to say how good they are.
Attacks in Redeemer Enhanced Edition are either light or heavy and they aren’t just limited to fist, feet and weapons as you can also grab an enemy and throw them into something – usually something explosive. Alternatively, you can cut to the chase and throw the object at them instead; a swivel chair or fire extinguisher comes to mind. Additionally, get up close and you can pull off an execution type move to finish them off. Redeemer Enhanced Edition isn’t for kids, so just get stuck in and let out your inner barbarian. Pummeling a grunt into the pavement with a sledgehammer is marvellous.
A Classy Story
Now, that’s a little wordplay as a heading. Redeemer Enhanced Edition isn’t remotely classy in terms of story and is very much straight-to-video. In fact, I’m not even going to go too much in-depth over the narrative as it’s so generic and empty, it’s not worth your time. The initial act of invading mercs and Vasily reluctantly getting his hands dirty is a cliche, but absolutely fine for this type of game. But, halfway through, everything takes a turn and the game becomes a chore. I won’t spoil it for you, but the combat goes from satisfying fisticuffs to a blaster where you have to use the guns or environmental objects in order to progress.
This is where the ‘Enhanced Edition’ comes into effect as you can level up Vasily based on your style of play. In this scenario you can focus on his punches, kicks or the weapons i.e. improve ammo capacity, range etc.. There is some flexibility here though as I found that I had levelled up most of his skills by about two-thirds in, so spent a bit of time to level up the best I could in preparation for any overpowered bosses.
In my experience, levelling up was vital for me in sticking with the game. While the difficulty wasn’t unbearable, the monotony of repeatedly dying or struggling to get past a horde or two tested my patience a little. Once Vasily was strong enough, I could get through the many short stages with a little bit of ease, but it was never easy as such as there were plenty of opportunities to die.
You Can Go Your Own Way
You can either go solo or you can play in co-op in Redeemer Enhanced Edition. Whenever there’s the opportunity to play a co-op, and pending I have a friend to hand, I always like to go for this option. Redeemer Enhanced Edition does not disappoint as the co-op side of things is very enjoyable and you forget about the monotony. I finished the campaign in a few days and probably took me about 10 hours or so. This was in solo mode, but I think the co-up would have been a better choice if I had the chance. Still, there’s always the survival mode.
The survival mode is exactly that and there’s nothing notably different to any other survival type games from this genre. However, it’s 100 times better with a friend, and you’re more likely to get somewhere with it when there’s someone who has your back and setting you up for an alley-oop. Where the ball is in fact a mercs head and the basket is in fact the floor.
Can the co-op side of things redeem (ha ha!) Redeemer Enhanced Edition as the game to play for 2020? No. Redeemer Enhanced Edition is most certainly an enjoyable game, at least for the first half, but it’s a very generic old school type fighter, only with a few influences from modern titles like Batman: Arkham Asylum i.e. the fighting system, but not as good.
Making the Cut
So, Redeemer Enhanced Edition is a decent fighting game, but short-lived. Whether the longevity is down to the 6-10 hour playtime of the main campaign or the fact that you get bored come the second half of the game is down to you. There’s certainly replay value there as there are a handful of difficulty levels that I won’t even entertain as I’m simply not that good, plus the arena/survival mode and co-op features will keep you going.
While Redeemer Enhanced Edition won’t change your life, it’s still fun and the combat really is great. Anyone who enjoys Mortal Kombat will appreciate the dynamics. And gore. The graphics are excellent for a top-down. The view by default is fairly zoomed out but with the executions, goes in for the close-up and the sound effects are excellent. I can’t say the same about the soundtrack as it was pretty discreet, though when I did hear it, it had a few heavy riffs not too dissimilar to Valfaris.
If you’re looking for a story, give it a miss. It’s pretty dull and non-existent. In fact, the thing I was most disappointed with was Vasily’s rival. He was so forgettable that I can’t actually remember his name and by the time you get to fight him, I had checked out and he might as well have been any generic boss as there was no connection. The same with the final boss, but this review isn’t about spoilers. All I will say is you’re playing this for the combat, not the story.