ANIMUS: Revenant, the latest video game from developer TROOOZE and publisher TENBIRDS’ ANIMUS series, fell on my lap for a review.
As the third title in the ANIMUS series, Revenant is not a direct continuation of the previous game, Harbinger. Also, unlike Harbinger (you can read our review of that game here), which is available on mobile and Switch, ANIMUS: Revenant is exclusively a Switch title.
With all this background information out of the way, let us dive right into this ANIMUS: Revenant review.
Souls-like in nature
ANIMUS: Revenant is heavily inspired by From Software’s Souls series. That is to be expected, since Harbinger is basically a Dark Souls clone.
From its setting, to the characters and even the gameplay, Revenant follows the same route. Instead of the Chosen Undead or Ashen One, we play as the Unremembered. Instead of Souls as a currency, we use Memory. Instead of resting at a Bonfire, you pray at a statue to save your game. The game’s tutorial is literally just messages left on the ground like in Dark Souls.
The world is bleak, NPCs are morbid. Even the character models look like they are taken straight from Dark Souls. If you told me that this was a legit Dark Souls spin-off game, I would believe you.
As a gamer, I don’t really care if a game heavily copies another game, as long as it is fun. The problem is, ANIMUS: Revenant is not.
Playing as the Unremembered
The Souls games are infamous for their difficulty. ANIMUS: Revenant is also more towards the challenging side. A few hits, and you are dead. If you cannot touch the last point where you died previously, you lose all your Memory, like how you lose all your Souls in Dark Souls.
A key difference between the Souls titles and this game is the perspective of the camera. Revenant places the camera above the player character, similar to the Diablo games.
Personally, combining the Diablo camera with Souls-like gameplay is poor design choice. With the exception of Bloodborne and Sekiro, Dark Souls and Demons’ Souls have slower paced combat, but it works because of weight. With the camera behind the player, you can feel the weight of each swing of the weapon, the momentum behind each evasive roll. You become immersed in the character’s movements and actions.
ANIMUS: Revenant’s combat is about the same pace as Dark Souls, but because the camera perspective is from above, you cannot feel the weight behind the character’s movements. Dodging and attacking do not feel as engaging anymore. Diablo and other similar games solve this problem by having fast-paced combat, with a lot of enemies and flashy abilities. Revenant has neither.
Because of this, combat in the game feels boring and draggy. What makes things worse is how badly balanced the enemies are. Normal mobs are very weak, I can run up to them and kill them before they even move with 1 or 2 combos. The bosses are a lot more challenging and require the player to understand their patterns, so it is not uncommon to die a few times to a boss to learn their moves.
Because fighting with mobs is so braindead and boring while fighting with bosses is arguably a bit more exciting, it strikes me as a very bad design choice to force your player to fight all the mobs en route to the boss just for another attempt. I can spend like 10 minutes trying to get to the boss, only to be forced to spend another 10 minutes just to get there again. I cannot run past and avoid the enemies because they will follow me into the boss fight and make it impossible. At least Dark Souls uses shortcuts and usually places Bonfires close to the boss room for players to focus on the boss fight.
If this was just a boss rush game, I think it might actually be somewhat fun. However, because you have to kill all the mobs each time you want to restart a boss fight, coupled with the already agonizingly dull and boring combat, gameplay is horrible.
Making things worse is that this is basically all the game has to offer. Sure, you can spend Memory to strengthen your character, but it does not change this terrible gameplay loop. There are NPCs scattered here and there, but they do not offer much other than uninteresting text lines. Note, they are also not voiced and you cannot attack or interact with them other than talking to them. Similarly, there are also treasure chests that automatically open when you walk past them. There is barely anything to do in this game except fight, and fighting is the worst part of this game.
If the game is pretty, I might be a bit more forgiving. Sadly, it is not. Environments are bland. There are PS2 games that look better than this. The grass and ground look especially bad for some reason. Some NPCs and objects pop against the background which looks very unappealing.
Each section of the map looks the same throughout, with barely any variation whatsoever. The game looks like an early access game in alpha development because it is literally just the player, enemies, an empty map and the occasional NPC or treasure chest. There are no points of interest or anything noteworthy on the map to distract the player from the god-awful combat.
I also dislike how lazy how the game looks at times. My character’s model will clip through tall grass. Backstabbing an enemy has my weapon sticking out of their body without any blood or any notable visual indicator whatsoever.
What makes attempting to review ANIMUS: Revenant an upsetting experience is that this game costs $22.99 USD, when it could have easily been a free-to-play mobile game. There are mobile games that look better and are more fun than this.
TROOOZE’s previous title, ANIMUS: Harbinger was originally a mobile game ported to the Switch. Even though that game was average at best, it cost $7.99 USD. Revenant is almost triple that price and at its current state, it just feels vastly overpriced in comparison.
Even if you hate the Souls games, at least they are immersive. There is something about those games’ level design and lore that pulls you into the experience and makes it so that when you finally overcome that difficult boss fight, it feels incredibly satisfying.
Unfortunately, there is nothing satisfying about ANIMUS: Revenant. I can only genuinely praise this game for running stably without bugs or crashing. Everything else about this game is average at best, and horribly boring and lazy at worst.
If this was a free-to-play mobile game, at its current state, I would give it a 4/10. But as a console game, it is 2/10 for me.
Check This Out Next
Like its protagonist, this game is to be Unremembered.
- The game runs stably
- Combat is weightless and boring
- The world is empty and bland
- Unpolished and feels like an early access game
A major step backwards from Harbinger.