Some games today are pretty complex and innovative! Final Fantasy XV mixes exploration, combat, a fascinating plot, character development, impressive cutscenes and noodles together into a fantastic RPG, for instance. On the other hand, No Man’s Sky combines disappointment and deception into a poop stew. That doesn’t mean every game you can play is all about mixing up a bunch of elements and going for something new, though. Take Redeemer, for instance, a fantastic beat-’em-up that’s all about bringing back the punchy, kicky and shooty goodness of the classics.
Vasily swore he’d never fight again. He promised himself he’d give up the life of a mercenary, instead becoming a peaceful monk hidden in a secluded monastery. That’s not how things worked out. When other mercs show up looking for Vasily, they’re not there to ask questions, they’re there to shoot everybody and tear the place down. Given that diplomacy is pretty much out of the picture, Vasily’s going to have to solve his problems with violence. Looks like that peaceful, meditative existence is going to have to wait.
Redeemer is a beat-’em-up! That means that you run around and beat people up. Vasily’s very good at that. He’s got martial arts, special finishing moves and weapons all available to distribute to baddies, and doing so is a snap thanks to the simple control scheme. Our hero’s more than deadly enough with his bare hands, but the ready availability and low durability of weapons means you’ll be going through plenty of implements of destruction as well; in particular, guns add a lot to the game and help make the gameplay feel a little more interesting than just a top-down Batman: Arkham clone. Outside of your offensive options, you’ve got stealth, which allows you to take enemies out before the next inevitable brawl, and parrying incoming attacks Arkham-style. It all meshes together, making Redeemer feel very nice to play.
The developers here clearly had an idea of what makes a good beat-’em-up tick: hits feel nice and crunchy, while weapons and finishers look and sound lethal enough to satisfy one’s bloodlust. There’s a certain degree of weight behind Vasily’s moves, which is vital to lending a sense of presence to combat; contrast this with, say, MMO games like World of Warcraft or Gears of War, which lack this sense of presence and feel like your character is doing kata instead of hacking away at a monster. Redeemer’s environments and characters look great as well, though don’t expect much in the way of surprises from the game’s levels, which are typically just a series of arenas that highlight the combat system.
Redeemer offers a surprising amount of length; it’ll run for around six hours, which is more than similar games like the Shank series without outstaying its welcome. It’s great for what it is; $15 for some rock-solid combat and shooting is hard to argue with. The beat-’em-up is one of the foundation genres that modern gaming is built on, and that classic feel runs through Redeemer, making it a great choice for fans of old-school titles like Streets of Rage.