It has been a while since I played a beat ’em up – I think Coffee Crisis was the last one and that was a good while ago. I used to really enjoy them, Final Fight in particular was my favourite, but in recent years they’ve become less and less popular, so I’ve become so out of practice and, generally, pretty awful at them. Redeemer: Enhanced Edition came across my plate the other day and although I was a little nervous about giving it a review for the devs, I was happy to dive back into button bashing and face mashing.
Fortunately for me, Redeemer is pretty straight forward in terms of controls. It’s pretty much as you’d expect. Walk forward a bit, bash a few buttons to smack people around and proceed. Even when things start getting marginally more complicated it’s still pretty easy, as you get prompts to do what you need to. As you progress through, you’ll find there is more and more things you can interact with. Either enemies you can execute, items you can pick up and lob at people or even the good ol’ environmental kill. For me, someone that hasn’t really played many beat ’em ups lately, it makes the game incredibly easy to get to grips with, and it propelled me to the fun within the first few minutes. The icons also really help with the health regaining mechanic, which is probably my favourite that I’ve seen. You get health by killing enemies in special ways, so knowing where everything is that you can immediately use to restore your health makes the game a lot more appetising.
The fun in Redeemer is exactly where you would hope it would be. Killing the enormous amount of enemies that come your way is so much fun. I mentioned above that there are plenty of different ways to kill people, and while the environmental kills are fun and stealthing up to an enemy and snapping his neck is great, the best part is the combos. It goes without saying that if you want a successful beat ’em up, you need to have a good set of combo moves, and I don’t think it’d be hyperbole to say that Redeemer is definitely up there with their combo moves. Smashing people around is always fun, but occasionally on the last hit, you’ll get a nice close up of someone getting punched to custard. It doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, you get to see some really amazing and genuinely rewarding feeling hits in there.
While it wasn’t necessarily a focal point for me, I did find myself enjoying the environments around Redeemer. They all are really well designed, with some nifty places to go and seek out some of the hidden caches of items or secrets. They are also all really gorgeous. While you do, for the most part, have a fairly scrolled out view, everything is very nice to look at and seems like a proper, genuine environment, which really does aid the immersion.
There are two real things that I didn’t like about Redeemer, but one of them isn’t necessarily the fault of the developer – it’s the fact I’m just bad at this game. I even managed to die during the tutorial, because I was too focused on performing the combos available rather than perhaps looking at what is best for defence. While there are some cracking combos to perform, I did feel like as the enemies got harder, I’d never actually get the chance to see them. I’d always have to do punch-punch-dodge or whatever, which means I’d miss out on seeing the actual fun part.
The other thing I didn’t like I already touched on – the game is rather tricky. I do appreciate the trend towards games that are tough, and Redeemer does come with difficulty settings, but even so I did find it a tad unforgiving, particularly as I was only trying to figure things out and get used to the way the game plays. It’s not a Dark Souls level of difficulty, but given that I did die in the tutorial, which is probably quite embarrassing, I did note that it was a bit too hard unless you were aware of the quirks you could use.
The Final Word
Okay, Redeemer: Enhanced Edition isn’t for me. Mainly because I’m not so keen on the difficulty, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game at all. I really liked the health restoring mechanic and all the different ways you could slaughter an enemy. The closeups on your combo hits as well were really awesome to watch as well, and pulling them off – when you are able to – is worth the entrance fee alone.