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RONIN Review

 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 
 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Ronin. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

One look at Ronin, the new action, stealth game from Devolver Digital and you'd be forgiven if you thought it looked familiar. Tomasz Waclawek, the game's lead designer was very open about the fact that he took the DNA from indie darling Gunpoint (it's okay, the game's developer gave their full blessing) to create his game but be sure - this is no clone. Ronin twists and changes the DNA of Gunpoint just enough to create it's very own reason to exist. It may not be successful in all that it does but for all if it's challenge and fun, Ronin is one not to miss.

 
It's a pretty simple story...
Ronin Review Screenshot
 

In Ronin you play as a heroine out for revenge against the five corporate executives responsible for the death of her father. It's a pretty simple story and one that we've seen countless times before but it serves it's purpose here in giving you a reason to be bouncing around each of the game's levels.  Each is broken up into three different sections, the first two having you infiltrate buildings to get intel and track down your target and the last to take them out. The story exists solely for the purpose of getting you into the game and does it's best to not get in the way once the action gets under way.

Similar to Gunpoint, the vast majority of Ronin takes place in a series of office buildings and warehouses, broken up into smaller individual sections. What's different with Ronin though is that the game emphasizes a stealth approach for most of it's campaign. You're free to sneak around the shadows and plot your attacks, which can be remarkably satisfying if you're successful in taking out your enemies from the shadows. I spent a lot of time with the game paused, trying to figure out just what my best course of action was. There's something strangely rewarding about backflipping off of a wall at just the right angle to jump past a camera and take out a guard.

Inevitably though you'll have to leave the shadows and take on some targets head on, and that's when the game starts to go down a completely unexpected path. Outside of the stealth mechanic, combat in Ronin is all turn based. It's a bit strange but it mostly works here; let me explain. Turns are more or less based on an enemy's actions and where they're aiming is key. If an enemy has spotted you, as shown by a red line indicting where their shot will go, they'll fire on their next turn. If they miss, they'll aim on the next turn. It's up to you in between those moments to carefully plan your attack and take them out before they're able to make contact with you. You'll have limited movement in each of your turns so planning becomes a bit trickier in tight spots. Say you're jumping over a guard; clicking and holding the left mouse button down will show up where you'll land. If the indicator is all white you'll finish your jump before the guard's next turn but if it turns red your movement will makeup more than one turn and you'll need to react quickly.

 
It's not a particularly tough system...
Ronin Review Screenshot
 

It's not a particularly tough system and it's one to easy manipulate but it's not without it's own limitations. In most cases it will take you two turns to kill an enemy, the first to get near him and the close to them and second to take them out. You'll start it to figure out pretty quickly just where the best place to be for any situation is. I loved figuring out just how to manipulate the scene around me so I could plan to be right above my opponent and do a downward strike to take them out, but it wasn't always easy, especially when being targeted by more than one guard. I'll admit that it can be a bit of a momentum stopper to be so free in the stealth sections and them be so rigidly timed in combat but I also get that that's for a reason - you're comfortable in the darkness but restrained and out of your element in combat.

Each mission has three "optional" objectives and that's in quotes because I'm not sure that the developers really know what that word means. Sure, you can complete a mission without finishing each objective but you're required to do so in order to earn an experience point, which allows you to earn new skills that become very helpful in the later sections of the game. The objectives themselves are simple enough; don't kill a civilian, don't trigger a lockdown and kill all the guards but it can be a bit frustrating when one wrong move causes you to have to it all over again. Admittedly though it can be all the more frustrating when you get to a level and realize you don't have the particular skill that is all but required to advance on and then you have to go back and do it yet again.

Despite all of this, Ronin continued to evolve itself each time I played it and remained interesting and satisfying each time. It may be built on familiar groundwork but it isn't afraid to try new things to try to create an identity all it's own. The stealth gameplay is fun and satisfying while the combat is filled with drama and it's a unique and creative system even with all of it's flaws. If you liked Gunpoint, and are looking for something to keep that experience going, you can't go wrong with Ronin; it's bastard child.

 
Overall:  7/10 Presentation: 8 Gameplay: 7 
Lasting Appeal: 7 CHEATfactor: 0 
 
 
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