Tech News on G4
Red Goddess is far from divine
Aug 24, 2015
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
Red Goddess: Inner World is an ambitious game for a little-known developer consisting of half a dozen people. There's no doubt the odds are stacked against it, and despite all sorts of potential, Red Goddess ultimately falls flat.
This is a brand new entry in a popular gaming genre that's full of superb titles. You've likely played at least one "Metroidvania" game recently, whether it's Ori and the Blind Forest, Dust: An Elysian Tail, or Axiom Verge, just to name a few.
Simply put, you need to bring your "A" game when it comes to this genre, and despite flashes of a compelling product, there are far too many issues in Red Goddess to recommend to anyone. Only the most ardent Metroidvania and platforming fans will want to check out this game.
Not surprisingly, the problems begin with the story. Red Goddess places you in control of Divine, a young woman who is troubled by some sort of past family issues, though none of this is made particularly clear as the game progresses.
The narrator throws out a bunch of emotionally-charged phrases to give the illusion of some sort of inner-conflict that Divine is struggling with, but none of it makes much sense.
None of this is helped by the fact that the script is absolutely atrocious, and is filled with nonsensical dialogue, mispronounced words that don't match the text, and numerous lines that are in desperate need of a copy editor. It's hugely distracting and does nothing to help the game's attempt at being serious.
The gameplay itself bodes better, but even it is far from perfect. The main hook of the game involves Divine's ability to switch between two of her own psyches - Rage and Fear.
In her human form, Divine is unable to take on enemies, but by swapping between her Rage and Fear forms, she'll become a formidable melee-focused combatant. Skirmishes are made more interesting in that each character takes on a different colour, and attacking enemies of the same colour will cause them to perish faster.
It sounds great in theory, but the combat isn't wholly imaginative. Colour swapping aside, both Rage and Fear boast the same basic move set, which consists of two attacks - straight punch, and uppercut. They eventually learn a dash attack, but no matter - combat in Red Goddess almost always reverts to button-mashing.
There are a few boss fights, and while they're slightly more interesting, it's simply not enough to place Red Goddess in the upper echelon of Metroidvania titles.
Platforming plays a big part in the game as well, but this, too, has its share of problems. Divine has the usual move set of a protagonist in this genre - she can run, jump, double-jump, and wall grab. She can also levitate objects, and do a boosted "sonic jump" later in the game.
My main issue is that while the first two acts of the four-act Red Goddess do a decent job of mixing the gameplay mechanics between combat and platforming, the last two acts are essentially what amount to what feels like a never-ending gauntlet of platforming.
Normally I would happily take on this challenge, but the painfully long load times in Red Goddess effectively ruin these sequences. You can expect to die dozens of times in certain sections, and while this can be frustrating, it's made 1,000 times worse when you have to wait 30 seconds to respawn at the nearest checkpoint (which are thankfully generously placed for the most part).
Mix in some cheap and virtually unavoidable deaths, glitches that result in the game freezing, and an art style that simply can't compete with similar games, and you have yourself a product that needs a lot of work.
There were moments during my time with Red Goddess where I was legitimately enjoying the experience. Sadly, a new frustration wasn't far away, and I found myself suffering from that same evil emotion - rage - that the game's protagonist often did.
Red Goddess: Inner World
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