Platform: PS4 (reviewed), PC
Publisher: Pixel Cream
Developer: Pixel Cream
TL;DR: The ugly consequence of esports
Release Date: Out now
Price: £12/$14 (PS4 and Steam)
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Way of Redemption is theoretically a sports game where you control god-like figures who battle it out in a deadly arena. Now, I say theoretically for obvious reasons – because it’s not the case. In reality, when you’re playing Way of Redemption, you’re basically playing tennis with monsters. Yep, that really boring, slow sport – but with monsters.
To be fair, Way of Redemption is by no means the worst game I’ve played – and in some ways, it’s strangely enjoyable. Sure, it won’t win any awards, but the premise is faintly entertaining at points, even if it’s bare in its gameplay, characters, levels – pretty much everything. Players enter into a strange mixture of sport and combat as they use special offensive and defensive powers to help them put the ball across the weird… shield thingy, all whilst a tubby green blob monster laughs and throws a new ball on to the court. Why are these gods having to play tennis for their freedom? Why are they in prison? Why has a green trolly blob been left in charge? These are all questions that aren’t answered even a little bit in the game. I’m not asking for a novel’s worth of lore, I’m not even asking for context, but a game can’t create a sports death arena for deities and not explain what’s going on.
But the game doesn’t have to have even an ounce of story, because it’s been made for the main purpose of being an esports game. And who knows? It may very well become a fixture in esports. But beyond that? It’s difficult to see casual players jumping online for a round of monster tennis.
Why? Well, a big part of the game’s downfall is simply the lack of variety. Boasting a single, rectangular court that you knock a ball back and forth in, only a single game mode to play, and eight characters to choose from; it’s a game that you’ve played the entirety of after about 30 minutes. Pixel Cream have said that they’ll be updating and adding content to the game throughout for free. But in that case the question should be – why did they release an unfinished game?
The characters you take control of don’t help matters either, offering some differences but not enough to have any real impact. The basic controls are the same for all characters, with the ability to sprint when defending, lobbing the ball, throwing curved balls, and blocking shots. Beyond that, there’s some effort made to distinguish characters through a selection of two defensive and offensive special abilities which range from being able to shit fire, duplicate yourself, and trap opponents in one place. Though, in reality, these abilities are bells and whistles, not really doing anything to alter a playstyle, mostly because the simplicity of the game makes using special abilities totally redundant. It’s an inclusion that could’ve made a big difference, but like so much of Way of Redemption, it falls flat in a hugely unsatisfying way.
You can play up to four players either online or with local co-op, and you can even mix the teams with AI, which is a nice inclusion. And this is the strange thing about Way of Redemption; for all the game lacks, it’s strangely addictive – especially when you’re playing local co-op. It breeds an ugly competitiveness that will have you at once complaining to your friend that you need to re-play the batch because, whilst asking yourself “Why am I still playing this game?” It’s a horribly enigmatic feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
It feels like an easy thing to say about a game, but the best way of describing Way of Redemption really is generic. Its premise, ”heroes,” (that don’t do anything heroic or show any distinguishable character traits to justify the term), and gameplay are all things that really only serve as reasons for why people should take the piss out of games. So, sure – you might enjoy it for an afternoon, but after that Way of Redemption serves no purpose other than taking up space on your hard drive. Take my advice, leave Way of Redemption to the esports players; you go enjoy a cup of tea and think about how much time you’ve saved by not playing the game.
- Supports local multiplayer for up to four players on PS4
- Supports cross-play between PC and PS4
- Makes pretty much all other games look an estimated 4.5 times better
- You’ve seen everything the game has to offer after half an hour
- There’s a single level – and it’s terrible
- Even when you win, you’ve lost, because you’ve wasted a fraction of your life playing Way of Redemption
Way of Redemption is rated 7+ in the UK and “E,” for Everybody in the US. So, if your child has been misbehaving, I suggest making them play this as a punishment.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.