Shadows of the Damned – Hidden Gem Review
The Good:Unique shooter, with many laughs along the way
The Bad:No new game+
STORY The world of Shadows of the Damned is a weird and wacky ride to say the least and so it should be as it comes from the crazy mind that is Suda 51. You play as Demon Hunter Garcia Hotspur and whilst out on the job (slaying demons) the love of his life ‘Paula’ [...]
The world of Shadows of the Damned is a weird and wacky ride to say the least and so it should be as it comes from the crazy mind that is Suda 51. You play as Demon Hunter Garcia Hotspur and whilst out on the job (slaying demons) the love of his life ‘Paula’ has taken her own life and as a result, she has been taken to Hell by non other then the Lord of Hell himself ‘Fleming’ and she has become his slave to serve his every need. Garcia is now Hell bent (see what I did) on saving the love of his life with the aid of his trusty sidekick ‘Johnson’ as they venture into the City of the Damned to rescue Paula from the evil clutches of Fleming.
Much like many characteristic of SOTD; the graphics do have their own form of identity. For the most part of the game, the graphics are surrounded by a dark and grungy setting and a high level of detail. The attention to detail for each and every character is distinctive and imaginative. The only gripe I have is that the lip sync at times doesn’t quite match up to the dialogue that is coming from Garcia’s mouth. But this is only a very minor gripe, as the vast majority of SOTD’S visuals are quite simply stunning and offers its own unique view of Hell.
This section is arguably the most distinctive part of SOTD and so it should be, after all the sound and music are composed by non other then Silent Hill legend Akira Yamaoka. The soundtrack is as random as every aspect of this game and is in no way predictable. But as much as I love the soundtrack to SOTD, it does sound all too familiar to the Silent Hill franchise, especially compared to Silent Hill 3. One piece of music that will particularly stick in your head is that of the loading up screen after each death, it starts off all Jolly, but it all becomes too familiar after a while….trust me….arrrrrghhhhh!!!!
One of the best, if not the best feature of SOTD is its humour and most of this humour comes from the trusty sidekick “Johnson” and his unhealthy fetish with strawberries is at times hilarious and if there was ever a stand out feature that will put a smile on your face and at times make you think “did I hear that right?” it’s the well scripted humour and excellent voice acting that comes with SOTD.
Shadows of the Damned is a very easy, pick up and play game and you can definitely has a similar feel to Resident Evil 4 gameplay wise with Shinji Mikami on the team. In fact one of the more surprising gameplay elements of SOTD were 2D sections that very much resembled R-Type, this was almost a stop gap in between levels to help break up the gameplay and to be fair, I very much enjoyed this feature.
SOTD also includes an upgrade system for your weapons and health, these upgrades are made by collecting red gems that are scattered throughout the game and to fully upgrade everything in your inventory, you will have to find all the red gems. The gameplay elements of SOTD offer no new surprises and alot of clichés, but it is a highly enjoyable gaming experience none the less.
Sadly this is where SOTD loses out, bearing in mind that this game comes from the direction and influence of Silent Hill and Resident Evil in which these games offered alot of replay value, whether it be unlocking new weapons, outfits or fully upgrading your inventory, SOTD practically offers no replay value. As I mentioned before, you need to collect the majority of the hidden red gems to upgrade everything, but you may be forgiven in thinking that even if you don’t find all your red gems during your first playthrough, you can add to them during your second playthrough with a New Game+….wrong! SOTD offers no New Game+ and when you start up a new game, you will start again from scratch. The only real incentives of wanting to play through SOTD again is if you are an achievement whore, otherwise after 1 or 2 playthroughs, as good as of a playthrough it is, I doubt SOTD will bring you back for much more.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my first playthrough of SOTD, but after 1 or 2 playthroughs, there’s not much reason to come back for more. We all have different views on games and for some, SOTD may stay in your collection, but from my personal opinion, I would recommend it be a rental. Because with the very little replay value SOTD has, it should also only take you no more then 7-8 hours to finish. But that still doesn’t take away from the fact that Shadows of the Damned is a crazy, enjoyable gaming experience.
Shadows of the Damned – Hidden Gem Review,