The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout gives the Brian Jacques fantasy series a sincere video game adaptation, but technical issues hold it back.
Redwall holds a special place in the hearts of many fantasy fans. The series of novels by Brian Jacques told a wonderful tale of anthropomorphic woodland animals locked in a fight for survival, and has earned a strong following since its debut in the 1980s. The series has now moved into the world of video games, courtesy of The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout.
This adaptation comes from developer Soma Games. Rather than acting as a direct recreation of one of the Redwall novels, instead The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout sits as a standalone story within the Redwall universe. A video game adaptation was approved by Jacques before his death in 2011, and this series of episodic releases attempts to expand the lore into a new medium.
The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout therefore marks itself as an early part of Redwall’s venture into video games, along with the text-centric adventure The Lost Legends of Redwall: Escape the Gloomer that released late last year. Because of this, it’s clear that there’s been an attempt to put a marker in the ground for how Redwall should look and feel in gaming. It’s an ambitious move, even if Redwall lacks the complex magic of some fantasy series, but unfortunately not all aspects of the game are successful.
Where The Scout shines is in its portrayal of the Redwall license. Soma Games does a very good job of bringing the world of the Brian Jacques novels to life, which isn't an easy thing to do given the nature of the wildlife-focused fantasy series. It may not be a direct adaptation, but nonetheless you really get a sense of that universe, and that’s nothing to be sniffed at.
Although some of this comes from the design of the world’s buildings and general setting, a lot of the work is done with the characters. The way that the different characters interact (and in particular their dialogue choices) match well with the tone of the books, with a blend of the light-hearted determination that comes from children’s fantasy and the more dangerous aspects of the game’s villains and the threat they provide. It’s something that fans of the books will probably appreciate, particularly given its place as a new Redwall story.
As a matter of fact, the various episodes of The Lost Legends of Redwall make up the first new Redwall story since 2011. The episodes will partly run adjacent to some of the novels from the series, and partly form prequels for what has long been written into lore. Perhaps wisely, given the number of Redwall stories already told, The Scout focuses on something relatively small and character-driven, allowing it to be a little more cohesive than could otherwise have been the case.
Unfortunately The Scout comes with its fair share of issues. Some of these take the form of technical problems that very much erode the care that Soma Games has given to the license. In particular, the game’s frame rate on PS4 can be very jarring at times, and since the game relies on speedy movements and stealth this does sometimes mean that it can be frustrating to play.
The problems do go further than that, however. The Scout suffers from some fairly unresponsive controls that are fine for big, bold movements but less so for the intricacies found in 3D platforming or stealthy play. Things like climbing up a ladder or ledge, or hopping over debris in a chase sequence, can be extremely difficult when the level of sharpness required from a control perspective is sorely lacking.
Between these two aspects in particular, The Scout struggles with its most difficult problem: outside of its storytelling and the charm of its setting, it can sometimes be an awkward game to play. When some of the missions involved also drag, it means that The Scout will leave players wanting from a gameplay perspective, even if there are snippets here and there that show what could have been.
Indeed, there are some elements that work well. The game’s 'scent' mechanic not only adds an interesting element to pathfinding but also gives the overall look of The Scout a different dynamic. Meanwhile, the final chase is still fun in spite of the controls, even if it does feel quite dated due to how awkward some moments can be.
Outside of devoted Redwall fans, though, The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout is unlikely to hit home. The limitations from a technical and functional perspective stop it from being a great experience, which unfortunately pulls the rug from under how the license has been handled. Hopefully, the other releases as part of The Lost Legends of Redwall will be able to build upon what works here and improve the areas where The Scout struggles.
The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout is out now for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. Screen Rant was provided with a PS4 download code for the purposes of this review.