Redemption Reapers Review – Beauty and Banality

Redemption Reapers Review

Just as you thought the turn-based RPG bus was already full, Redemption Reapers squeezes into the back seat with another, substantial take on a popular genre. Well, “another take” might be generous. From its gothic fantasy setting to its stock characters, Redemption Reapers sticks pretty close to the basics.

Impressive Cinematics and Forgettable Characters

For a modest, AA game, Redemption Reapers opens with a banger cinematic that punches way, way up. Beautifully shot, voice acted and underscored with excellent music, it was an intro that a) I didn’t feel compelled to skip and b) got me excited about the game to follow. Alas, my friends, the excitement faded pretty quickly.

I love it when games try something new, even when they fail. This is maybe doubly true when it comes to settings and stories. How many times can you face down a race of brutish monsters that have suddenly invaded your “dark, medieval world.” Redemption Reapers hopes that you don’t mind doing it again. Once again, some version of the poor, maligned Orcs (here called the Morts) are overtaking the countryside. Your crew, the Ashen Hawk Brigade — aka the Redemption Reapers — must clear the Mort scourge.

To be fair, I probably shouldn’t fault a genre game for sticking to the script. While the linear campaign takes the player through a progression of forgettable dank dungeons and grey, beatdown villages, the cut scenes are good. The story gets better over time, with the characters and their relationships deepening.

Combat, Squared

Redemption Reapers is a tactical turn-based RPG and it follows familiar conventions. Throughout the campaign, you assemble a five-member party of Ashen Hawks, each with standard roles like tank, ranger, mage, etc. You have action points to spend on movement or combat, defense, or healing. As you unlock or find new weapons, spells, and upgrades, you can nudge your characters in interesting directions and complementary loadouts.

While the general mechanics are solidly traditional, Redemption Reapers tries a few new angles. Characters can reposition themselves after combat. Where you position your fighters is doubly important, because if they’re adjacent or in close range, they can trigger follow-up attacks. These come in the form of Quick Time events and don’t cost action points. They can turn the tide of a fight, or at least keep the party alive.

Movement around the environment is easy. Unlike some recent TRPGs, there are no cover mechanics and the world is not destructible. It’s a bit limiting, but I appreciated not having to worry about using the environment in just the right way.

Do It Again and Then, Repeat

The basics are easy to understand, but over time, the game’s combat has its share of annoyances. For one thing, enemies often come in large groups and are frequently way over-leveled. While early fights are relatively brief encounters, things grow progressively more complex and challenging. Finally, the specter of weapon durability raises its ugly head. It’s a fairly insidious implementation, too, with weapons having a pretty short life. Of course, they can be repaired, for a fairly high cost. Put together the need to grind for resources, unbalanced enemies, and very long missions, and you have a formula for repetition and fatigue.

Despite a lack of imagination in its story and setting, Redemption Reapers is not without appeal. Strong production values, excellent music, and solid core combat mechanics promise an engaging experience. Its stabs at originality are both appreciated and a mixed success. Better balance, less oppressive mechanics, and shorter, streamlined missions could make Redemption Reapers an attractive choice for fans of tactical RPGs.

***PC code provided by the publisher for review***

The Good

  • High quality cinematics and music
  • Core mechanics are solid

The Bad

  • Pretty generic setting and story
  • Balance issues and mission length