Reaper - Tale of a Pale Swordsman isn’t a very good game, I feel like it was designed as separate things brought together in a confused result, with a good visual style and some interesting RPG mechanics here and there, I only grew frustrated and confused with it

First and foremost, RToaPS is an action RPG heavily focused on melee combat. Your character has a few moves, all mapped to the different directions (slam, uppercut, sidedash, etc.) and they all have very short range and consume ‘rage’ to activate. Your basic attack is performed automatically and builds up rage. It’s a terrible system, you never known how close you need to be for your character to start auto-attacking, you take contact damage if you move too close to the enemies… And most enemies are ranged. They move all around, fly, and shoot a bucketload of projectiles. Why can’t you choose when you do your basic attack? Why don’t you have any range on your moves? Why are all the special attacks mapped to the keys you use to move your character around, opening frustrating opportunities when you either use a move by mistake or can’t do it no matter how hard you try?

And the maps where you fight are full of hazards, pits that take half your health, bouncy things all over the place - some even deal damage to you - and enemies all over the place. Sometimes it’s weird monoliths that turn the place into a bullet hell, sometimes it’s a bunch of slimes that’ll just swarm you, sometimes it’s annoying ghosts that will keep their distance and shoot at you while you try to push them to the edge of the map in order to kill them. This game would be more interesting with ranged weapons, or a spell, or a bigger attack range. The best tactic I’ve found is to use the ‘special’ moves without having rage, they deal half damage or so, but you control your attacks, at least.

You can buy gear for gold, there are 8 equipment slots, but all the gear does is alter your stats. There isn’t much in terms of special gear that give you abilities or different passive buffs, although the game manages to be confusing even with a reasonable number of stats, what do they do? Why is there “armor fitting” on some things, and what’s the point? What’s the difference between strength and damage? Health and endurance? The game should explain it’s stats better. You get a choice between three skills when you level up, these are actually interesting, they give you bonuses to some of your special attacks, passive stat buffs, or just changes in the environment (reducing damage from pits, for instance)

In any case, a cool level-up system isn’t worth it on it’s own.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories2/5, Action RPG