Over the past couple of weeks I’ve played nothing but the Yakuza series. No multiplayer games, no western releases, no indies – just Yakuza. And when I’ve been offered to review the recently released Redeemer, I’ve jumped right on it, to take the much needed break from the Japanese crime thriller, and while I was initially excited to try something new, my excitement has been swiftly decimated, as the Redeemer, has turned out to be not everything that most would expect it to be, or rather would like it to be for its rather steep £25/£30 price tag.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of Redeemer, I would first like to underline that for an isometric release, which uses photorealism, Redeemer, or rather Redeemer: Enhanced Edition looks great. The title at hand features a fair amount of detail, and from where the camera is pointed, you’d have to try really hard to find anything which could be considered ugly, or even sub-par. But the visual fidelity unfortunately comes at a price, a price which we all know all too well – unfortunately, in the form of screen tearing, and the all too common variable framerate, do their fair bit of damage to the overall enjoyment of the release.

Redeemer’s technical issues, unfortunately do not stop there. As the biggest, and the most jarring of them all, relates to the title’s animations, and it’s a real shame, because the developer behind Redeemer has clearly went all out when creating the title’s animations, but unfortunately their execution is not always as the studio has envisioned it.

While in combat, you will mostly refer to basic striking, and/or gameplay. But if you carry out a combination, or when you are prompted with a skull symbol, you are then able to carry out a Punisher ‘esque execution. And while those executions must have looked great in theory, they unfortunately are not as slick in practice. Don’t get me wrong, the animations of the player character and the hostiles clearly represent the desired actions, but the problem lies in the fact that the animations simply do not align with one another as well as they perhaps should.

One of the in-game combat animations has you pick up an enemy’s body, and stick it on a sharp tree branch. At times, the titular Redeemer will in-fact pick up the body with his own two hands, and stick straight onto the pointy end. But most often than not, he will stand centimetres away from the said body, grasp at thin air, while the hostile will magically levitate towards the tree. This issue is not just limited to this animation, as each and every single in-game execution suffers from exact same issues, and from knees to the head, to suplexes, the titular characters spends most of his time fighting invisible ghosts, rather than the hostiles themselves.

The above outlined animation related issue is immensely disappointing as it takes a lot away from the otherwise great, hand-to-hand combat. The core striking is meaty and impactful, and you can truly feel the weight of each and every single punch and kick, as and when it takes place on the screen of your TV, or the monitor. And what makes the combat even better, is the use of ragdolls, which adds further emphasis to the violence which takes place in front of your very eyes. But for every moment of violence fuelled euphoria, there’s a moment of confusion, caused by the all to present phantom animations.

Redeemer’s hand-to-hand combat, as you’ve already had a chance to read, is absolutely fantastic, especially when the issues with the executions are taken out of the consideration. However, the combat unfortunately doesn’t end on melee, as for some unknown reason, the studio behind this particular release has insisted on adding gunplay. And while there is nothing inherently wrong with it, it is unfortunately nowhere near as fun as exciting as the title’s hand-to-hand combat. And sure, giving the player ranged weaponry does even out the playing field considerably, but it does drag the overall quality considerably, and sticks out like a sore thumb, considering that the titular Redeemer is a monk, who in truth, should stay away from slinging led.

Some could argue that due to the fact that the main protagonist used to be a soldier, the use of firearms is not entirely immersion breaking. But within the game it is explained that vasily, the Redeemer had left the service due to the army’s immoral pursuit of technology. So for him to return to wielding firearms, and sci-fi equipment does seem fairly odd – considering to the back-story to the title’s narrative.

Overall, the extensive gore of Redeemer can last you anywhere between six to ten hours. However, the entirety of that playtime is limited to the rather shallow gameplay loop of you pressing forward, and killing everything in your sight. And in all honesty, this gets rather mundane, not to say boring after a couple of brief hours. The title does try to spice things up with introduction of new hostiles, such as mutants, but even with those added to the mix, but Redeemer is just more of the same, and if the rather ludicrous narrative doesn’t hook you in, then it is more than likely that you won’t stick with Redeemer to see it through to its finale.

Just like most isometric releases Redeemer: Enhanced Edition does feature a literal handful of skills and upgrades, but those require you to pursue certain, limited play-styles, and if you decide to chase skill points, then you may achieve some greater sense of satisfaction. But looking at Redeemer as a whole, it is truly difficult to praise it for anything, without having to interject with a big, fat, ‘but’. In truth, the only thing about the Redeemer, which I found to be truly impressive, is its health regeneration mechanic, which is centred on plain, old, killing. As the more you kill, the more health you regenerate. But even this feature is haunted by most of the title’s issues, as if you’ll decide to pursue an aggressive play-style; you are bound to become familiar with all of the title’s technical kinks.

To summarise, all that really has to be said about Redeemer, or rather it’s new-gen enhanced release, is that it is everything that it says on the tin. It is a top down, isometric brawler, populated with corridor like locales, which themselves are filled with cannon fodder. And if mowing down brainless mercenaries and mutants in confined spaces is your thing, then you’ll feel right at home with the Redeemer: Enhanced Edition. But if you are expecting something more from the £25/$30 which you’ll have to spend on the particular release, then you will be inexplicably disappointed – especially when faced with title’s numerous issues.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.