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Redeemer review

We give our verdict on the brutal brawler from Sobaka Studio.

© Sobaka Studio / Gambitious Digital Entertainment

Escaping the clutches of Steam Greenlight comes a bright spark in the form of Redeemer. Top down punch ‘n’ bash action, gunplay, stealth and everything in between. But is it as good as it looks?

You play as Vasily, an ex-operative for a cybernetic weapons manufacturer. His job; assassination, torture and infiltration. After leaving the big bad company, he has been trying to find peace as a monk. And then they come knocking causing you to bash and shoot your way to some sort of redemption. The set-up is just that, turn the valve, twist the key and send me on my way. Top down brawlers aren’t known for their compelling narratives, but Redeemer gives you enough substance to hate the masked men just enough to smash their heads into the wall.

Gameplay is top of the list, brutal hand to hand combat including a very satisfying parry-system combined with Hotline-Miami-like elements. Bursting through a door and trying to find the most efficient way to murder everyone in the room and with the most style. Some enemies will cause you to change tactics, bear hugging heavies are best bludgeoned with melee weapons, and there are even mutated monster creatures, some of which have spiked hides and force you to find a gun to shoot them into tiny gooey pieces.

Watch the Redeemer announcement trailer below:

 

It’s satisfying as hell, there are plenty of environmental special kills to perform, loads of weapons and guns. And the brawling itself is punchy and brutal. You’ll smile with glee as you smash someone’s head through a toilet bowl and then with a well-timed button press be kicking a taser wielding soldier through a wall. I was playing using a controller, and I feel that’s the best way to play it. It’s responsive, and the learning curve is basically a flat line and will have you pulverising peeps in no time.

The graphics impress, the lighting effects and textures are highly detailed. Top down games tend to look quite good because you’re so far away from the action but occasionally it’ll zoom in for a finishing move, and it looks just as good. The graphics themselves aren’t as important as environmental effects and destruction for me. As much as the game Hatred gets a bad rap (and it is a bad game), but the destructible environments were delightedly fun to mess with. Here you get a similar amount of freedom, not that you’ll be blowing holes in walls and making unique paths through levels. But you’ll be smashing through chairs and tables, walls will break away, and almost anything that would break in real life breaks here. It makes the combat more dynamic, it adds this other layer when you can punch someone so hard they smash through a ceramic bathtub.

There are little niggles that do make it suffer. Checkpoints at times can be frustrating, and sometimes the levels are a little too long, you’ll slog through hundreds of mutated monster men, and it’ll start losing its novelty. I would have really liked an upgrade system or some level of depth to the combat beyond what you are given. It would have been really cool to kit Vasily out with new gear and maybe new gadgets. A few special moves *cough* hadouken *cough* would have fleshed out the combat and made it a little less samey come the later levels.

View some Redeemer screenshots in our gallery:

There’s a high level of polish here, which is surprising because of its Greenlight origins, and it runs smoothly and plays excellently. But there needs to be another level added. After you’ve played for a few hours, you’ll wish for more to do within the combat. Give me a super move where I disembowel someone or some ancient-monk-palm-of-destruction-Goku-esque-spirit-bomb move that obliterates everyone on screen. What has he been learning for the past 20 years? Inner peace? Oh, yeah great, but can that cut a man in half or blow down a two feet thick bunker door? Thought as much.

Redeemer is a great first entry, top down brawling at its most fun and gory. A slick combat system combined with an Arkham-like parry makes you feel cool as hell when you break down a door, kick a dozen dudes asses and then stand in the wake of their bloodied bodies without a scratch on you. The graphics are luscious and showcase the well thought out level design. There’s not much to scoff at with Redeemer. It could have benefitted with an upgrade system or some customisation, but this is the first entry, and there’s plenty to get your teeth into without all that. There’s even a practice horde mode; you, an arena and unlimited waves of meat fodder for you to bounce your knuckles off of. If you’re looking for something to quell that Matrix slash Mortal Kombat shaped hole inside of you, then look no further. Vasily is waiting for you.

Redeemer was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.

Publisher: Gambitious Digital Entertainment Developer: Sobaka Studio Release Date: August 1, 2017 Reviewed On: PC/Steam

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