Discover Fire Emblem’s darker, edgier cousin in our Redemption Reapers review.
In the wake of the media black hole left by Game of Thrones, and the successes of games like Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Square Enix’s HD-2D series (Triangle Strategy, Octopath Traveler, LIVE A LIVE), it seems a lot of developers are hopping on the high-fantasy strategy RPG bandwagon, trying to chase such franchises’ success.
Redemption Reapers is the next attempt, developed by adglobe Inc. and published by a new company called Binary Haze Interactive, founded in 2020. Courtesy of Binary Haze themselves, here is a quick summary of the game’s shining laurels:
“Backed by a formidable battalion of AAA industry veterans, Redemption Reapers is an original story created by director Hiroyuki Kobayashi (producer, ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the Knights), with game balance design courtesy of tactical RPG veteran Masayuki Horikawa (series director, Fire Emblem; planning, Kingdom Hearts III), Tomokazu Fukushima (scenario, Metal Gear Solid, Freedom Wars), and Rei Kondoh (music, Bayonetta series, Fire Emblem series).”
Sadly, even with such a pedigree, Redemption Reapers fails to impress. Find out why not even industry veterans can redeem the game in our Redemption Reapers review.
Redemption Reapers Review – Story
Redemption Readers is like a darker, edgier cousin to Fire Emblem. If you like gritty, grim-dark storytelling, then this game is like swimming in *too much* sand.
A quick and dirty summary of the plot is that you control Sarah, a dagger dual-wielding assassin, who’s part of the Ashen Hawk Brigade, a mercenary group. The Ashen Hawks protect settlements against the Mort, monstrous creatures. The group is haunted by an incident that happened two years ago, that earned them the moniker the “Faithless Reapers”, but become humanity’s only shield against utter annihilation. The other characters in our 5-man band are Glenn (Hi, diet-coke Aragorn), Lugh (the lancer), Urs (big tanky man) and Karren (token sexy, quippy female bow-user).
The “edge” in edge-lord is toned up to 100%. Everything is darker, bloodier, more intense. Because it takes itself so seriously, with almost purple-prose like dialogue, it winds up becoming self-effacing. Picking up that the story would be only be just OK, I essentially soaked up like a sponge the moody atmosphere. The actual game itself is quite short, only clocking in around 25 hours in terms of playtime.
And it simply isn’t enough time to develop the kind of highstakes, world shaking that they seemed to be going for. At the end of the game, the cast still only felt like one-note tropes. They did get slightly fleshed out, but that didn’t stop me squinting at their cardboard cutout faces.
Dialogue is overly heightened, and that handicaps any kind of true pathos they were trying to build up – with the theme of heartsore warriors trying to redeem themselves in a brutal world. The exhibition is too on-the-nose, plot points are telegraphed harder than a smoke signal on a sunny day, the world isn’t developed into anything bustling or with a pulse, and the general lack of subtlety makes the story fall far of any true resonance.
Redemption Reapers Review – Gameplay
The gameplay is typical of a strategy role playing game. You have an ‘army’ of units that you move around the map, you and the enemy forces taking turns, like chess. Reapers only lets you play using the main cast, so 5 units, in total. Which might be a surprise, as the genre is known for spoiling the player with oodles upon oodles of customizable units. I enjoyed having a smaller party size.
Instead of having a set move action like in Fire Emblem (i.e., each unit gets one action per turn), you get a specific set of Action Points that determine how much you attack, use items, move around etc. The upshot of this is that movement is possible at any time before or after an attack, so you can attack several enemies in one turn by spending AP well. Once you run out of AP, your character becomes useless until the next player phase. This makes the battles feel less like static chess pieces, and more like a fluid army.
The big draw is that the developers mentioned in combat is the use of follow-up attacks. If two or more allies are grouped up together, and one attacks an adjacent Mort, the other can also join in the beatdown. They can be chained together to bring serious pain. It’s a fun feature, but it’s also triggered often (pushed as a main feature), so some might get tired of the constant co-co-combo-ing. There is also no difficulty setting available.
Redemption Reapers Review – Visuals and Audio
The voice acting is a positive – the VA’s do manage to add flair and fun to their cheesey roles. It’s pretty much impossible that it wouldn’t be good, not with such a star-lined cast, such as Allegra Clark as Karren (Dorothea from Fire Emblem: Three Houses), David Lodge as Urs (Persona 5, Final Fantasy), and Kyle McCarley as Lugh (13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, NieR: Automata).
I like what they tried to do with the character designs, going for a more realistic, adult look (I love you Three houses, but it’s nice to see a variation on pretty pretty anime boys). But the designs themselves are generic. The cutscenes are pretty, with particular props to how well the lighting is done, as well as the detail in the environments and maps.
There’s not a lot to redeem redemption reapers, sadly. Which is frustrating, because the development team is A+, the voice acting is engaging, and the general theme is interesting, with potential for what could’ve been a solid narrative. Unfortunately, that’s just not quite enough to put Redemption Reapers on par with other titles in the strategy RPG renaissance.
So why should you play Redemption Reapers?
- You want to play a short (20-25 hour) SRPG
- Prefer games with a small party size
But why shouldn’t you play Redemption Reapers?
- There are many other superior SRPGs on the market
- Story that tries too hard to take itself seriously
A review code on PC was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our Redemption Reapers review. If you’re looking for more strategy games, be sure to check out our reviews for Fire Emblem Engage and Triangle Strategy, and join the Qualbert Discord to find out more!