STAFF REVIEW of Redeemer - Enhanced Edition (Xbox One)

Saturday, August 17, 2019.
by Adam Dileva

Redeemer - Enhanced Edition Box art Before the Mortal Kombat’s of the world were ushering a bloody good time, we had to settle for bloodless beat-em-ups, like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage. Gaming has come a long way though, and a blood-filled romp is commonplace these days. The latest in the genre is Redeemer: Enhanced Edition, complete with buckets of blood and full to the brim with violence.

You are Vasily, a Kratos look-a-like that used to be a security officer for a shady weapons company. His job had him get his hands quite dirty, including murder, and he wanted no part of that life anymore. He managed to escape and leave, fleeing to a remote monastery and living a violence free life for two decades. Living amongst the monks he found peace, but one day he returns to nearly the whole village murdered once the corporation found out where he was hiding all this time. Now it’s time for redemption, and do to do, he’s going to have to get bloody.

Previously being released on PC, the new improved Enhanced Edition is now available for console players as well. If you managed to play the original Redeemer, then you’ll be happy to know that a few improved have been made, granting the Enhanced Edition title. New content, level’s difficulties have been balanced, abilities are now divided into two sections (Monk and Soldier) and the biggest addition that’s been requested, a 2 player co-op mode for when you have a friend over.

If you’re like me and never experienced Redeemer in the first place, it’s a top down brawler, complete with gunplay that has you fighting your way through levels, leaving a huge blood trail in your wake from anyone that tries to get in your way. You’ll be using your fists, kicks, melee weapons, guns and even environmental objects to kill everyone in your path. If it sounds violent, it is.

There are 15 levels or so, each lasting maybe 20 to 30 minutes, give or take, depending on your skill and difficulty chosen. Levels are very linear, so you’ll essentially be going from point A to point B, but there are a few short hidden paths that lead to some surprises, though there’s not much of an exploring element here, just simply killing everything in your path to the exit. If that’s not your bag, there’s also an Arena Mode where you can take on waves of enemies if you want a change of pace.

The majority of your combat will be with your fists and feet, making combos based on button combinations. If you manage to sneak up behind a normal enemy, you’ll be able to instantly execute them with a single button, essentially getting a free kill. This works quite well and will help thin the numbers before a large battle.

You’ll find a variety of weapons laying around, from torches, knives, axes, crowbars, staffs, hammers and a bunch of other nasty arms that will cause death. Every melee weapon has a durability meter though, usually only lasting a few hits, so make them count. The same goes for firearms, as there’s only limited ammo in each gun, and you can’t simply collect ammunition on the ground, you need to pick up the other guns and swap them out.

As you begin, you’ll face basic soldiers that pose no threat, and obviously as you progress through the levels, the difficulty will increase as you go, adding new enemies that need to be dealt with in very specific ways. For example, the difficulty randomly spikes about halfway through the story, quite sharply out of nowhere, where you’re pitted against a bunch of new monsters. One has spikes and will hurt you if you try and punch and kick them without a weapon, another spits acid and needs to be avoided at all costs, and another that’s a hulking beast and can hurt you real quick if you’re not careful. On their own they aren’t too challenging, but combined, and multiples of each becomes a bit much and chaotic.

Eventually, because of the sheer number of enemies you’ll be facing off against at a time, fatigue sets in with the same repetition of attacking, spamming parry, attack, parry, attack, parry and a few dodges here and there. That being said, I never died because of poor controls, only because I became overwhelmed with the harder foes at once. Stringing together combos, attacks, dodges and parries comes easy, and with that, Vasily’s baddass-ery goes up a notch.

Surprisingly, there’s also a progression system of sorts, relating to your abilities. As you use your attacks more, you’ll become more proficient with them, eventually able to upgrade them and picking perks. For example, eventually you can add another hit to your punch or kick combos, have your punches cause lightning damage or your kicks fire. Melee skills are separated from weaponry, and they level up the same way with perks being able to be chosen at certain levels. Oddly enough, there are also hidden scrolls strewn throughout the levels, and collecting these gives you new skill points as well.

While I didn’t have anyone to play co-op with, it seems most people that played the original were constantly asking for co-op to be added, so now it is to much rejoice. The second player is one of your Monk brothers, though I’m unable to confirm if the second player increases difficulty or enemies in a playthrough. Sadly it’s only couch co-op, as I would have probably dabbled in an online co-op if it was included.

While not often, there was a handful of times where framerate would dip down, one time well into single digits. The fact that I’m using an Xbox One X is what surprised me most about the extreme slowdown. That being said, the loading between stages is quite quick though, so it’s almost a tradeoff.

Redeemer: Enhanced Edition scratches an itch, albeit a seriously violent one. There’s so much blood and violence that it’s almost comical at points, though I don’t see many parents agreeing with me. Certain kills will have the camera zoom in to Vasily performing the execution, which is quite pleasing when it’s a special environmental kill. Graphically, it’s suitable for the tone, though you’ll see hundreds of the same few types of enemies and the same corridors repeated. The audio is slightly better, with the voice acting being half decent and attacks sounding like there’s some real ‘oomph’ to every hit.

Redeemer: Enhanced Edition was a fun distraction for a few hours, but it’s very repetitive, and once you’ve completed it, there’s no real reason to go back and do so again unless you really want to challenge yourself with the harder difficulties. At $38.99, it has priced itself out of the market, especially if you have a capable PC and can get it for much less than half of that elsewhere. If you’re seriously needing a fix of an ultra violent brawler, it’s a decent playthrough, but there’s no real lasting appeal afterwards.

Overall: 6.7 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 6.5 / 10


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