Redemption Reapers is a new game from Adglobe and Binary Haze Interactive, the people behind the well-received Ender Lilies which we reviewed earlier. With Masayuki Horikawa at the helm (a veteran of the Fire Emblem and Advance Wars franchises) as well as music by Rei Kondoh (known for his work on Fire Emblem: Three Houses) the track record behind this tactical RPG is impressive. The game features a dark and mature art style as well as a phenomenal soundtrack and an engaging battle system, but harsh mechanics for your economy and a frustrating difficulty balance threaten to spoil the experience. Here’s our look at the PlayStation 4 version.
The story of Redemption Reapers follows the Ashen Hawk Brigade, a group of five characters fighting against a powerful undead army known as the Mort. The characters are not always in agreement with each other, which adds depth to the narrative while making the interactions between your team members engaging. The story is told through well-made cutscenes, which are mainly concentrated around the battles you fight rather than more lore-driven dialogue in between confrontations. It keeps you on point and focused on the combat, though at the same time it makes you feel less engaged with the world surrounding you.
The combat system of Redemption Reapers is one of the game’s stronger features. Focusing is on five distinct characters who all have different abilities, the rules of the game revolve around smart group movement and positioning yourself in confrontations. Every attack ordered results in another attack if one of your allies is within range, creating an almost puzzle-like experience with real tactical depth. The game allows free movement within a radius determined by the character, and attacks are launching by using up a pool of 10 action points. The cost of each move and attack varies, and you can choose to save action points for more potent moves or spend them all in one turn. With each round, characters receive seven action points back, so players must decide between maximum damage and saving points for later.
The result of these mechanics is an elegant and satisfying experience that rewards strategy and careful planning. It’s possible to pull off complex moves and combine attacks in clever ways, creating a sense of satisfaction whenever things come together. The combat system is not without its flaws, though. Characters have only a few hit points, and it’s possible to lose them quickly if you’re not careful – the early game in particular has some seemingly unfair difficulty spikes. This can lead to a frustrating experience, especially when combined with a stingy economy that limits your resources.
The story is not the main focus of the game, and it takes a while to get going. There’s a secret that the Ashen Hawk Brigade is keeping, and uncovering it is the start of the narrative. However, this plot point takes a while to reveal itself, and it’s a slow burn at first. Fortunately, the gorgeously designed visuals, which give Redemption Reapers a dark atmosphere, do a good job at drawing you in, as does a rather haunting soundtrack.
In conclusion, Redemption Reapers is a decent tactical RPG with a unique and satisfying combat system. We love the dark and mature art style, but the game is rather light on story and the stingy economy and frustrating difficulty balance can mar the experience. With some additional polish, Redemption Reapers could have been more than it currently is.