Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

It’s no secret that the RTS genre has long been in a very deplorable state. Few people risk creating new large-scale projects using fresh and original ideas, because such strategies, as a rule, do not stay in the top sales for a long time (if they get there at all). If you look closely, now those who continue to exploit the well-known successful tricks and clichés have remained afloat. What they are playing now: StarCraft II, Total War, Age of Empires (it’s generally funny here – the HD re-release of the second part is in the top) – and, perhaps, that’s all.

It is clear that against such a background, the announcement of any more or less original RTS is perceived by fans of the genre with enthusiasm, even if it is not an AAA product from industry leaders. Re-Legion is no exception: the Polish studio Ice Code Games promised something special – in the announcements they talked about the original mechanics, revealed some plot details, and boasted about pretty nice art. And the entourage was just right – thanks to completely different Poles, from CD Projekt RED, cyberpunk will be on everyone’s lips in the next few years.

Get up and go!

Our protagonist is a man named Elyon, a resident of a metropolis of the future, immersed in technocratic stagnation. Power has long been concentrated in the hands of individuals, any dissent is brutally suppressed, and the townsfolk have lost their purpose in life, content with simple entertainment like drugs and alcohol. One fine day (or rather, the night is cyberpunk, everything happens at night here!) Elyon decides to put an end to the hateful order. To do this, it is necessary not only to bravely fight against the henchmen of those in power, but also to persuade ordinary people to their side.

Oddly enough, Elyon knows how to do both, and his speeches are so convincing that a real cult is formed around a seemingly ordinary person, whose followers unquestioningly obey their leader. He, in turn, on the way to power and gaining freedom for his subjects, does not take into account anything, which over time does not lead to the consequences that he and his flock expected at the very beginning of the journey …

Good tie. I never scoff – from the description it could be concluded that at least an interesting story awaits us, moreover, implemented in the form of extraordinary game mechanics. The fact is that in this strategy people are the most ordinary resource, like the same gold in ordinary RTS. They have to be converted to their faith, and only then nurtured from former drug addicts and alcoholics are formidable fighters and tireless workers (more precisely, hackers – they are the ones who get the money).

Feeling like a real deity, to whom prayers are offered and for whom they go to death, is much more interesting than clicking on the barracks, ordering another faceless pack of infantry, or building the same tanks in the same factories. But there are also opponents who want to bring their own sect to power.

Re-Legion game review

“Choosing Your Cult Path” was actually a withered faction leveling tree.

This city is full of lies

Cyberpunk, if we consider it as a direction in culture, is a rather gloomy thing in appearance. The stories told in this genre tell about a harsh future where there is no place for human individuality, about the power of omnipotent corporations, about how much information can cost and how little a human life can cost. Such plots also require an appropriate external design: it is difficult to imagine cyberpunk without futuristic slums with an admixture of neo-noir and colorful characters actively using augmentations.

Re-Legion is trying to seem like a real cyberpunk, but it doesn’t turn out too well for her. The city where the action takes place turned out to be gray and faceless. It would seem that all the elements of the external design that should emphasize this very cyberpunk look are in place: dirty streets, where luxurious shop windows and neon signs coexist with garbage, hints of Asian style in architecture, the almost complete absence of greenery and the city, as if immersed in eternal night… But this was done at such a low level that there is no question of any immersion. The city is just a set of monotonous boxes depicting buildings, and not at all that mysterious and bewitching entity, as required by the genre.

The characters are distinguished by the same quality of elaboration: that the Prophet himself, that his numerous henchmen. Despite the presence of some kind of plot, it is presented so clumsily that it’s not even funny: the dialogue at the beginning of the campaign with the first follower of our religion gives rise to strong suspicions that revelations from the plot should not be expected. Premonition did not deceive – in the future, the dialogues (and this is almost the only way that developers use to reveal the history of Re-Legion) cause only one desire: to skip them quickly so as not to read such hack work again.

Re-Legion game review

Most of the enemies are exactly the same cultists, only in clothes of a different color.

I never asked for this

The gameplay itself turned out to be just as flawed. In an attempt to show originality, the developers forgot about such a simple thing as comfort. Literally everything is inconvenient here: a meager mini-map on which nothing can be seen, the process of pumping units and managing them on the battlefield, and the entire interface as a whole. Tasks also do not shine with originality and are different variations of “kill them all” and “hold the defense.”

That very unique mechanic, which consists in conversion, in fact, turns out to be the most common hiring of units. Passers-by wander around the map, and Elyon or special units – preachers can convince them to become followers of our cult. The easiest way to do this is not by the Prophet himself, even if he can influence several people at once, but with the help of preachers. It is enough to put them near the places of constant appearance of the townsfolk, and that’s it – you can forget about the lack of fighters. As soon as there is a free space in the unit limit, it will immediately be filled with neophytes.

Recruit management is done stupidly – you either have to look for new recruits on the map and select the desired leveling, or select all available ones using the “hotkey” and try to start this process for everyone at once. How many of them will have enough resources, where exactly they will end up, how to find them later and send them to the right place – you will have to figure it out on your own, without any prompts.

The graphics look hopelessly outdated, which does not prevent the game from lag terribly as soon as the number of units under our control approaches a hundred (which is far from the limit here). Considering the primitive mechanics, in which to win you need to collect as many soldiers as possible and crush the enemy with numbers, the performance impressions are not encouraging.

“On your knees, mortals!” Elyon can convert several people at once.

Somewhere by the end of the first task, you have to force yourself to play, but you don’t even remember the pleasure. As a result, I gave up on the fifth mission out of nine – there was simply no strength left to fight with control and monotony. In strategies, it is the gameplay that comes first, but here neither it nor the plot, which is weak even for RTS, is able to hold on for more than a few hours of a single player campaign. There is no multiplayer or AI skirmish mode here either – it’s probably even for the better.

***

In Re-Legion, if you hover over one of those units that can be converted, the tooltip will say: “City dweller with no purpose in life.” In my opinion, this characteristic is quite suitable for describing the game as a whole – it turned out to be as faceless and gray as these little men wandering around the map.

Pros: music; pictures on loading screens.

Cons: poor optimization; outdated graphics; inconvenient management; primitive behavior of units; sad storyline.

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