Remedium: Sentinels arrives on console to wipe out the plague!
I played Remedium: Sentinels on PC in spring this year, and thought it was fine enough, but it was somewhat uninspired in the reverse bullet-hell/auto-shooter/survive-em-up genre. You can read my feelings on it here if you want a little look back on how it was during Early Access on PC. Well now the game has had its full release and has even made the jump to console, and I was keen to see how it’s grown in the past few months.
The story is still the same, with you piloting a steampunk mech during some sort of global plague, fighting off hordes of mutated enemies using a variety of weapons you acquire via levelling up. It’s much like Vampire Survivors but with a great low-poly art style. It played well enough, but the low rate of levelling and the overly difficult levels early on became rather irritating, as did the camera.
Some of my previous concerns have been resolved, thankfully. The visuals feel a lot clearer, and I can pick out where I am in relation to the swarms of foes much more readily, although the health bar above my character is still pretty difficult to see in the heat of battle. The adjustable camera helps a little here, but the lack of rotation options for it make this less useful than I’d like. I was glad to be playing this on console thanks to the vibration feedback when I took damage. This sort of player feedback is missing on the PC version, so there’s certainly a benefit that this release has.
The levelling up feels a lot fairer now too. Previously, late game enemies would give you very little experience, really stunting your levelling as a run went on. Now you seem to be rewarded much more reasonably, with stronger enemies almost always dropping a more significant amount of XP, giving you access to more and better weapons and passive abilities. This in turn has made the stages more manageable, meaning there’s less of a grind for permanent upgrades.
There are additional stages now as well which is nice. Sadly, none of them are really exciting to explore. Most of the time there’s little to discover other than a new sentinel to unlock for future use. You’ll come up against mostly the same enemies every time, with an occasional boss from time to time. And I hope you like different shades of grey, as other than the very occasional bright spot, variations on slate are pretty much all you’ll see. I understand that this is the aesthetic the team are going for, but it does make a lot of the stages feel very much alike.
This console release functions in pretty much the same way as the PC version, which I imagine is easy enough to do when your control scheme is limited to moving. I came across no issues with the port other than the incredibly bizarre omission of button prompts on the upgrade menus. I couldn’t work out why I couldn’t buy upgrades for a sentinel despite having enough scrap. It turns out I needed to press X instead of A, but there was not prompt for this. It seems like a minor issue, but for several runs I assumed that the game was bugged.
Whilst the core game is the same, Remedium: Sentinels feels much better to play thanks to a handful of quality of life improvements. The problems of uninspired weapons and passives are still present, as they mostly feel pretty generic, although there are a few new interesting ones such as a wasp drone. I still feel that the world needs more development too, as charm and the sense of place are things that’s sorely missing when compared to genre luminaries. Hopefully this will be dealt with when the more story focussed Remedium is released later in September.