Game: "Re-Legion"
System: PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Other

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 2/7/2019

Review: I hate to date myself, but I can hearken back to the distant year of 1993 when I was playing a little game called Syndicate. It promised a future not of peace on earth and jetpacks, but one where corporations rule the world through a combination of greed and violence. And when you needed to swell your rank, you'd just fire up the old "Persuadertron" and go to town.

Re-Legion supposes a future wherein one such corpo-government decided to dispense with the subtle stuff and just build one huge Persuadertron to control the masses. The protagonist, Elion, decides this is a bad thing and gets his bad of rowdies together to overthrow the oppressive crypto-government, expose the techno-brainwashing, and lead the citizenry to syntho-freedom!

But before you can lead them to freedom, first you have to lead them into the meat grinder. Use your god-given powers to convert the disillusioned into true faith, then give them some purple pants and have them run en masse into the robot constabulary to punch the fear of fear of god into their robobrains. Sure, a lot of them will die (a LOT) but that's the beauty of a dystopian future: there's always more bodies!

The hook is the conversion mechanic: Elion aka the Prophet must convert neutral citizens into pliant followers so that they can then be transformed into functional units. On a small scale you can convert them one at a time or use the Prophet's preach ability to ensorcel a group. As your total capacity for followers grows you'll want to farm out the job to preachers who will automatically seek out and convert followers from key points while you seek out the less compliant and "convert" them into corpses.

Before you're finished with the third mission you'll have well over a hundred followers willing to fight and die for you, or just sit around endlessly until you call for them. And that's when the problems start to emerge.

When you suddenly have to manage all these individuals, you begin to notice how truly helpless they are. Followers getting mowed down by enemy fighters isn't that unexpected, maybe even a meta commentary on the nature of cults in general, but even your fighting units need to be carefully managed or else they'll charge off to their deaths even when you'd prefer they not, or worse: they'll stand stock still because the enemy is attacking them from just outside their range.

Crucial to allaying these sorts of AI problems is the ability to set behaviors for your units. Re-Legion lets you send units to hold and defend a position, or march to a point stopping to attack anything along the way. The problem is getting your units to stick with these commands. In one memorable encounter I was gathering the Prophet and a group of fighters to assault an entrenched enemy position when one enemy unit came down the chute and drew everyone's fire. Several units, including the Prophet, moved in to attack as he was inside their alert range but outside their effective attack range. They got the straggler but were then set into the odd neutral stance where they move ahead to attack a new enemy in range ignoring everything else, and so I spent several frantic moments trying to pull my units back only to have them reach their fallback position and charge right back into the fight. Eventually enough of them died that I was able to just grab the Prophet and move him away but there are way too many moments like that across the single player campaign.

Pathing presents its own set of challenges. After conversion new followers are meant to travel to your sanctuary but if they encounter any obstacles along the way, including other followers walking too near them, pathing will break and they'll stand idle. It's a bit frustrating to see a follower count in the low 90s but only fifteen at the sanctuary because there's a logjam in an alley somewhere. And when you're trying to send in a big group of fighters but half of them get stuck trying to get past each other and the healers just gave up and stopped about fifty feet back... Well, let's just say in those moments I was losing my Re-Legion.:D

Some of these problems will hopefully be patched out later, and I hope they will because Re-Legion puts an interesting spin on the RTS formula and gives it a nice cyberpunk aesthetic. All it needs is a bit more polish.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

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