A dash of Tolkien fantasy, a splash of tactical gameplay, a pinch of RPG elements and about a heaped shovel of difficulty spikes. Throw in the oven for about 30 minutes a level and you’ll have yourself a freshly baked Redemption Reapers.
Taking control of the members of the Ashen Hawks Brigade, Redemption Reapers has you progressing through different levels. You slice and dice your way through armies of ‘Mort’. The Mort resemble the Orc armies of Lord of the Rings. Thankfully they have vastly more variations than their visual Tolkien cousins.
Each member of your squad has their own unique weapon and skills to the rest of their peers. Glenn boasts his sword and high counter defence, Sarah her twin daggers and high evasion. The there is Lugh, who is equipped with a long-reaching spear and party cover. Urn is slow moving, high defence, high damage tank and Karren strikes from a distance with her bow and arrows. Sometimes you’ll be joined by other party members. However, these will be AI controlled and will act freely on their own accord.
The gameplay is fun, to begin with. Lining up your party to pull off multi-hit combo attacks that devastate the enemy numbers is always satisfying. The risk-reward of putting your party in such a situation is always in the back of your mind. Unlike other strategy games in the same style as XCOM, 85% of party members need to be beside a Mort to attack. If an attack misses or you don’t take enough out, the Mort can and will just pick one party member to absolutely destroy.
We can’t achieve full redemption
This is where Redemption Reapers falls down hard. Sure, the Mort can all pile over to the party and get cut down but there are usually upwards of twenty that spawn on a map. They have the numbers to burn, the Ashen Hawks Brigade don’t. Once a character hits 0 HP, they retreat from the fight and are gone for the remainder of the battle. Also, you cannot revive fallen soldiers on the battlefield. Unless you want to try to tough it out with a man down, you will more than likely be restarting the level and approaching it with a different technique or hoping the evasion will swing in your favour next time around.
In between levels, the story is told through some lovely animated cinematics and your standard character portrait and text boxes. The story is nothing to write home about in the early game. There is constant mention of an event that happened two years ago. Unfortunately, everyone is deliberately vague about it to not reveal what happened to the player.
Before selecting levels you can spend your skill points upgrading each character and unlocking new skills and passive abilities for them to take into the next battle. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a new strategy game to scratch that itch, wait for a sale. There’s a good game here but after a couple of hours, it tries its very best to beat that enjoyment out of you.
Lewis, as always, has written these words and this game has not redeemed him.