Game: Shadows of the Damned
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
System: Xbox 360
Review by: MrB4
When you tend to play games nobody has ever heard of, convincing them that it is a worthwhile experience is a hard thing to do. This is especially true with Suda 51’s Shadows of the Damned because in all honesty, this is something that may not appeal to everyone. The off color language may seem offensive to some, and the grotesque nudity and violence might make alot of people look the other way. Rest assured that if you are willing to accept all of those things for what they are, you will find a game that is fun, entertaining, and delivers on everything that it sets out to do.
Story:You are Garcia Hotspur, a demon hunter, accompanied by your demon friend Johnson, who is on a quest to save his girlfriend Paula from Fleming, the Leader of the Underworld. The overall story itself is a rather straightforward rescue the damsel in distress type of ordeal, not anything special, but its sense of humor and self awareness keeps things moving along at a brisk pace. Anyone with a weak stomach should look away during the majority of the cutscenes, because they can be rather gruesome at times. To sum it up, this is a tale that is completely fun, yet entirely forgettable.
Graphics: Hell was never an inviting place to begin with, and this game takes that idea, and completely runs off of the deep end with it. Level designs range from creepy Victorian houses, to libraries shrouded in darkness, to the gates of hell with demons snarling at your from their cages, and so on. They are all done extremely well, and definitely give off that creepy vibe the developers were going for. Character design is ok for the most part, but the animations are not always fluid. Garcia tends to walk like a robot sometimes, and there are moments where spoken words do not always match up with the mouth movements of the characters.
Gameplay: Running and gunning is the majority of what you will spend your time doing, which is ok, because the shooting mechanics here are quite solid. Mindlessly dissambeling zombies is not always the main objective here, as there are also a few puzzle elements thrown into the mix in order to keep players on their toes as well. This comes in the form of a light and darkness mechanic that affects your overall surroundings. Sometimes, Garcia may need to hit a specific object to light up an entire room, or actually enter into the dark areas in order to shoot away crystals that will open new pathways for him.
The darkness also has an effect on Garcia’s health meter, so be aware of where it’s at at all times. Wait around too long to solve a puzzle or hit a switch, and you will have to start all over again from your last checkpoint. Early on, figuring out how to get through an area isn’t too difficult, but during the later stages of the game, a little more creative thinking will be necessary to finish certain levels. Boss fights are fun, but not all that challenging. Basically look for the obviously highlighted weak spot and fire away, then rinse and repeat the process until the boss has been defeated.
Sound: The soundtrack is fairly decent here, with a variety of spooky and Heavy metal music to set the mood for each appropriate situation. Sound effects themselves really pack a punch, and the explosions are fantastic. Where this category tends to falter is with the overall voice acting. Even though there a few times where the dialogue between characters can be humorous, there is a consistent overuse of male anatomy jokes that just becomes repetitive and boring to listen to after awhile.
Wishes or Changes: I wish that the camera system was a little bit better because dying from cheap gang up attacks from enemies is not a fun thing to do over and over again. Being able to move around more in each environment would have been nice, but I can see why the developers went for a linear experience instead. Adding extra modes outside of the campaign should have been included as well, because once the adventure is over, there really isn’t that much to come back to.
TQ Bottom Line: Here’s the bottom line, this is a Third-Person Shooter game that may not be everybody’s cup of tea because of its overall design, sense of humor, etc. If you are looking for something to do over a weekend, you could do much worse than renting this game. Definitely fun while it lasts, but certainly not worth a full $60 by any means.
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5 Michelas!