HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewREMEDIUM: Sentinels Review

REMEDIUM: Sentinels Review

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Gaming trends, eh. Where would we be without them?

But gaming trends are what keeps the world going round and whilst I’m old enough to have witnessed a host of different ones over decades past, I’m not sure it’s been as relevant, as prominent, as it is today. 

Take the Cyberpunk years as an example. One of the biggest, most anticipated games of all time in Cyberpunk 2077 saw the birth of tens, hundreds, of other cyberpunk themed games. And whilst the one that kicked it all off initially failed, developers and publishers were so intent on grabbing hold of the coattails, that it was a trend that is still continuing today. 

But perhaps the easiest of trends to jump onto has been that of the auto-shooter, as creative minds look for the next Vampire Survivors. You see, that was a game that took the industry by storm less than a year ago. Since that release we’ve seen tons of copycats arrive in the market, all hoping for a slice of the pie. But if truth be known, none have got close, not really. 

It’s that which REMEDIUM: Sentinels is trying to change. An auto-shooter set in the REMEDIUM universe (yep, us neither), Sentinels is looking to jump on the back of poncle’s Vampire Survivors brilliance. 

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REMEDIUM: Sentinels starts off slow

Again though, for some good ideas, it comes up way short of that there crown. Much of the reason for that is the utter reliance and constant need to grind. 

Don’t get me wrong, a roguelite auto-shooter needs to be a grind. Else we’d be done and dusted with it in five minutes. Yet the one found here in REMEDIUM: Sentinels veers far too far over the line, frustrating as the mind-numbing gameplay repeats over and over again – all as the player looks to unlock just a few new characters and options. 

We’ll start at the start though and talk you through REMEDIUM: Sentinels. Or at least we would if the game was even the least bit interested in telling a tale. Instead you’ll find a universe that has been hit by corruption and contamination; a land that you need to cleanse of the mutated. You do that by taking control of a Sentinel, lasting as long as you can in the fast overrun world. 

That tale is never of any significance though. In fact, Sentinels hardly ever breaks into that ground, throwing the player through a few short menus and requesting them to just get on with it. So that’s what we’ve done – walked round and round in circles, auto-shooting like our life has depended on it.

Taking down foes is as easy as pie, as quantity more than quality continually keep coming your way. There are a range of enemies too, with a Bestiary complete with some twenty or so mutations. There are the small, the large, those that sprint towards you, others that amble. More fly, whilst ranged attacks and grenades consistently get chucked your way. But whether it be the multitude of Hyenas that are thrust in front of you, the Crawlers, Weeklings or more, each requires a similar tactical take – get within range and let your arsenal of weapons do the hard graft. 

Honestly, there’s nothing here that we haven’t seen before in a roguelite auto-shooter, with strafing and circling the best course of action. Even the levels lend themselves to those strategies too, with the six on offer – Crossroads, Church, Ruins, Frozen Pass, Mine and Swamp – all pretty much a muchness. In fact, aside from the most minute of visual changes and a very slight change to a layout, you’ll rarely know – or care – which stage you are in. 

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And the grind is real…

You’ll rarely notice a difference between the Sentinels on offer either. Eight of these are available for play, but most sit behind some serious grind. Whether you have to find and save – ie, destroy the cage these Sentinels are slammed in – whilst navigating levels, or unlock them from an in-game currency, whilst there are the odd benefits to utilising the different Sentinels in REMEDIUM: Sentinels, the vast majority of the time it doesn’t really matter. A sliver of amendment only coming in the addition of a few new weapons, and slightly upgraded health and speed stats. 

Upgrades are available though, letting you build on health, speed and the damage levels that are outgoing or incoming. But again, that’s all behind the grind . 

You see, during your time with REMEDIUM: Sentinels, most of the enemies you take down will drop goodies. Whether that be Scrap cash, which is accumulated the more you play, or the souls of the dead, helping to access and upgrade new weapons whilst in the heat of the action, the collection can feel fairly slow. Admittedly it’s not too much of an issue in regards the weaponry, and there are some great builds that can worked. But it’s that Scrap which is the most frustrating, with ridiculous levels needed in order to unlock some of the better options. We’re well into double figure hours with REMEDIUM: Sentinels and still we’re well short of unlocking and purchasing everything on the table. 

And the short of it is, whilst Vampire Survivors is a game so addictive that we’ve had to uninstall it to stop us playing it, Sentinels will be uninstalled once this review process is over. Or at least we’ll keep it on the backburner in hope for tweaks. Just because there’s little enthusiasm to continue the manic grindy ways that are currently at the fore. 

That’s not to say we don’t like what is available. With a twist of some of the Scrap frequencies, the tease may become all the more appealing. But for now, you’ll likely tire of what is in place long before the game lets you get there. 

It’s not the best looking of games either – nor does it sound great. The 3D visuals are okay, but everything is a bit too dark for our liking – especially early doors until additional levels are unlocked – whilst pop-up of enemy and level elements is rife. Those enemies occasionally forget about stage rules too, walking in mid-air, crossing chasms without worry. And why the hell do some of the Sentinels twitch so much? It’s just weird.

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But occasionally it all comes together

And that audio? There’s only so much that can be done with the explosions, or of death and destruction (and you’ll be killing hundreds of thousands of foes in each run) but again repetition raises a head. In fact, if we hear the Mortar of Barbican explode one more time…

The opportunity to run through Endless modes will rarely excite either, although this does seem to deliver a faster, shorter, more intense, experience. On the whole though, we’d suspect you’ll look to rinse and repeat levels until you’ve ticked the achievement and game unlock requirements for each, lasting some ten and fifteen minutes at a time in hope of unlocking new elements. 

There’s a reason that Vampire Survivors is so loved. The grind is real, but the balance is nigh perfect; always giving you something to aim for, teased to try over and over. REMEDIUM: Sentinels looks to compete for the genre crown, but ultimately it falls way short, mostly thanks to a Scrap currency system that rarely gives much back. 

By all means, if you’re in the market for a new roguelite auto-shooter, REMEDIUM: Sentinels should be considered. But a few little tweaks to its systems would ensure this has better legs going forward. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how it evolves further, especially seeing as it comes with a low asking price.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Plenty of builds to create
  • Super cheap price
  • Scope going forward
Cons:
  • Scrap system feels out of line
  • The grind is REAL
  • Story? Nah.
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to : ESDigital
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 18 July 2023 | £3.99
Neil Watton
Neil Wattonhttps://www.thexboxhub.com/
An Xbox gamer since 2002, I bought the big black box just to play Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I have since loved every second of the 360's life and am now just as obsessed with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S - mostly with the brilliant indie scene that has come to the fore. Gamertag is neil363, feel free to add me to your list.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Plenty of builds to create</li> <li>Super cheap price</li> <li>Scope going forward</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Scrap system feels out of line</li> <li>The grind is REAL</li> <li>Story? Nah.</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to : ESDigital</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 18 July 2023 | £3.99</li> </ul>REMEDIUM: Sentinels Review
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