I do enjoy a good top downy! That being a video game that’s viewed from the top down perspective (it’s nothing rude or dirty!). Over the last few years, top down shooters have made a comeback thanks to smaller, independent studios. Ruiner, Mr Shifty and Party Hard have their own dynamics and appealing concepts to draw in gamers. Redeemer hopes to leave its mark (quite literally) with something slightly different, basically allowing players to beat the immense crap out of NPCs. It’s an idea that’s not new but Redeemer appears to be a brutal, intense and a gloriously bloody fighter that relishes in tongue in good old grind house violence!

Does it succeed? Let’s find out.

Redeemer is a story of Vasily, a once renowned solider who turned his back on his old boss due to conflicting interests. He now lives a peaceful life as a monk and for years has maintained that peace, until one faithful day. His old boss finds Vasily in the mountain at the retreat and decides to destroy everything he valued. After a mass slaughter, Vasily is captured and soon he embarks on a suicidal mission to kill his old boss and bring down everything they’ve created.

It’s not a terrific story but sets up an interesting leading character and a theme of redemption rather well. There’s little else here and the game could’ve used some supporting cast members with more personality or have Vasily speak a little more during his adventure. I only mention this as the game has little personality and dialogue almost feeling silent at most times. Games like Blood and Duke Nukem would have their leading characters speak quirky lines of dialogue or make remarks of their current situation. This made you aware of their presence and to see they were fully engaged in the conflict. Even Ruiner has spectacular visuals, chatter from NPCs and a kickass soundtrack to keep the game feeling energetic.

Redeemer places a great deal of emphasis on melee combat but also implements gunplay as well. Melee combat boils down to using your bare fists with a punch or kick, acting as a close and ranged attack. Melee also features weapons as Vasily can pick up pretty much anything from pipes, axes, stun rods, machetes and more! There’s a good line-up of melee weapons and firearms to pick up and blast your way through each level with.

Punching and kicking your way through levels can be fun and there’s enough weapons to pick up allowing you to change up the murder spree as you see fit. There’s also a host of different enemies with unique behaviours, environmental kills and different environments keeping confrontations relatively fresh. I say relatively as there are a couple of things which hold back Redeemer overall.

I would’ve preferred if Redeemer was purely melee and the developers had added in more combos, fighting styles and allowed melee to be a truly dynamic elements that interlinked with other elements of the game. Instead it’s very generic and safe.

It’s good in one respect as you’ll learn every very quickly and have fun straight away. Redeemer has 6 – 8 hour campaign can be enjoyable but has a lack of interesting weapons or dynamics with the campaign feeling as though it’s on a singular note. Level design is pretty basic with a lack of set pieces and boss battles just feel underwhelming, ending too quickly and never offering a compelling fight. There are some great levels from time to time, including a lab filled with contained monsters (I won’t spoil it) and the last few levels do offer a change in pacing with environmental hazards and the most decent gun in the game.

As mentioned the combat is fine but never goes beyond the basics. You do level up and I like how levelling up works in Redeemer, basically having you use a weapons or particular attack in order to level it up. But there’s little to unlock and the stuff you do is again a little underwhelming.

Redeemer does look great and for the sound design it does have, it’s very nice as well. I did encounter a few technical issues including drops in framerates and some minor graphical glitches.

Redeemer is fine; it’s fun and is totally serviceable for a few hours. It does have co-op which I feel is the saving grace as playing this with a friend on the harder difficulty is much more interesting. Plus the arena mode is a lot of fun too but again just generic. Redeemer could’ve been great and I wished the developers had focused more on the melee combat. (Hate to make another comparison) Ruiner focused on guns and it excelled at that! Redeemer plays it safe and while it’s nothing bad, it’s just sadly underwhelming.

I would like to see a sequel and hope the developers would push melee combat next time as there is potential in Vasily and his insane monk like brutality.

+ Intense melee gameplay
+ Good set up and visuals
- Repetitive gameplay
- Some technical issues

A PS4 copy of Redeemer: Enhanced Edition was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review