[PlayStation 4] REMEDIUM: Sentinels Review
REMEDIUM: Sentinels from Sobaka Studio and ESDigital Games is ready to go on PS4. Check our REMEDIUM: Sentinels review!
Anyone notice that Vampire Survivors is not on PlayStation yet? It’s on everything else, so why no PlayStation? Hey Ma, can we have Vampire Survivors on PlayStation?! We have Vampire Survivors on PlayStation at home! Those of us familiar with the meme will probably know where this review is going. For everyone else, let’s start from the beginning.
Like Vampire Survivors, REMEDIUM: Sentinels is an endless auto-shooter. If you are unfamiliar with the relatively new genre, imagine a twin-stick shooter where an endless horde of enemies continuously comes after you, and you start with the most basic of weapons. But as things progress, you get chances to choose upgrades to your character, more abilities, and more bombastic weapons, but unlike a twin-stick shooter, you have no control over when to use any of these things. You instead control just your character’s movement whilst the game periodically triggers your abilities and weapons. Your only input is movement, choosing which upgrades your character gets and their potential cooldowns and effects.
This genre is certainly not for everyone but still interesting all the same. Whilst Vampire Survivors is no doubt the most famous of the genre, REMEDIUM: Sentinels from Sobaka Studio and ESDigital Games aims to challenge Vampire Survivors for its crown. So, can it succeed? The short answer is…. no. It is post-apocalyptic times, and you take on the role of one of eight playable sentinels aiming to kill as much of the monstrous horde before you die. The game spans six levels, with 5 of them asking you to survive for 15 minutes before allowing you access to the next level.
Control-wise, the game is as you would expect if you are familiar with the genre. Your character starts off meek and slow but progressively improves as the horde begins to overwhelm the screen’s real estate. Movement with the left stick is pretty smooth, especially when threading the needle between the horde. It seems that REMEDIUM: Sentinels at least understands this important aspect of what it is to be an auto-shooter. Sobaka Studio, I guess feeling daring at some point, decided to add control of the camera to the right analog stick, allowing you to adjust the camera to either be up in the standard view or down on the ground should you wish to do so.
Another plus for the game is the overall visuals. By no means will this one win any award for best visuals in a video game, but it does look the part. At times, it sorta reminded me of a late-gen PS3 game and not of a PS4 release. Whilst this would normally be a detriment to it, this is not part of the ethos of an auto-shooter. Instead, a focus on smooth framerates and an absence of stutters is where the game needs to focus its attention, and REMEDIUM: Sentinels nails this. Towards the end of almost every run, you will find yourself with possibly hundreds of enemies on screen, and never once did I see myself struggling with stutters or any other issues.
Where the game starts to struggle is in terms of its abilities. I think that one of the best parts of an auto-shooter is how quickly it devolves into a spectacular light show. By the time your character gains all the abilities and becomes a god-like being, your input into the game is all but superfluous. Sadly, for this one, with the exception of one or two weapons, the abilities feel mundane. The standouts seem to be The Chain, an ability that seems reminiscent of Yondu’s arrow from Guardians of The Galaxy, and Heavy Rain, which just seems to be an all-out death from above style ability. These ones are fun to use and give the game the much-needed feeling of spectacle that could have elevated it to a much higher plane. The rest of the abilities just feel bland and generic or not interesting enough to be worthy of note.
Another point of contention is the overall structure of the game. As mentioned previously, there are six levels in total and five of them require you to survive for 15 minutes before you move on to the next level and also unlock an Endless Mode version of that same level. Two minor issues I had with this setup is that at the halfway point, the game randomly introduces a boss for you to defeat, which would have been interesting had the guy been properly telegraphed. You are instead greeted by a great lump on your screen. In a game about avoiding conflict and surviving as long as possible, running head-first into the giant monstrosity is clearly not the best move, so consider me confounded when, after 40 minutes of playing, the level did not end.
I thought I encountered a bug and decided to restart. It was only on a whim, and perseverance, that I realized that defeating the massive damage sponge in the middle of the level was the only way to progress. Whilst boss battles are not inherently wrong, having one appear unannounced in the middle of the game and then no other at any other point just feels strange. Had he been at the final level, things might have been interesting, but at the halfway point, it just feels weird. The second issue with the structure is how the so-called Endless Mode works. While it is called Endless Mode, it’s more like a survival mode because the quantity of enemies appearing on screen is accelerated by a factor of five. It is a challenge, but it does feel mislabelled.
In fairness to the game’s structure, it is not all turgid. There are some neat ideas thrown into some of them. For example, a couple of the other sentinels can be found mid-level and have to be freed from captivity to become playable. This no doubt encourages some form of exploration rather than just running in circles, as one is prone to do in games like these. I guess that would explain the random boss battle being thrown in. There is effort in the game for sure, just sometimes elements of it just feel unpolished.
From the janky, marked polygonal look of some of the sentinels to the random bug that causes game modes to be mislabeled when loading them up, it just feels that a few more bouts of spit and polish would have done wonders for the game. It most definitely would have helped the trophy that is incorrectly labeled as “Loose 10,000 HP” instead of Lose. Speaking of which, REMEDIUM: Sentinels has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy, so if you’re a trophy hunter, you’ll be working on adding 15 Bronze trophies, 11 Silver trophies, and 5 Gold trophies for you to work on. Survive through each level for 10 minutes, collect 3 repair kits, max out each ability, destroy 50 objects, survive through each level for 15 minutes, and you’ll be on your way toward having a new Platinum trophy in your collection.
REMEDIUM: Sentinels is a new game that is part of the recent auto-shooter craze that will have you choose from the available Sentinels to try and survive in each level for as long as possible as you boost your abilities to try and destroy every enemy on your path. It does not set the genre on fire, but it does a good job of feeling like an entry point for those who are new to auto-shooters. REMEDIUM: Sentinels is out on PlayStation 4 at a budget price of only $4.99.
This REMEDIUM: Sentinels review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by ESDigital Games.