Friday, 2 November 2012

Shadows of the Damned

Gamespot Score:8.5 (Great)

My score:7.7

(+)Pros: - Hell is a wonderful world to explore (yes, the irony), - Tons of different gameplay mechanics give a little bit of variation, - Great boss fights, - Mini games and puzzles help change up the pace a little bit.

(-)Cons: - Feels a little repetitive towards the end, - Only 3 weapon types, - Stiff movement controls.

Gameplay time: 10-20 hours

As you all should now, I'm not too big on the shooter games. However, "Shadows of the Damned" looked like one HELL of a game when I saw the game play trailers. It has demons zombies, crying baby gates and freaky goat heads that emit light! Its a strange game all on its own, and that was actually the true appeal of this game. Because of all these "weird" elements,  "Shadows of the Damned" separates itself from most other shooters, even those with zombies or demons in them. Exploring hell has never been this fun, and if you don't believe me, go ahead and try this game. However, be prepared for a few issues that will hinder your enjoyment.

The story for "Shadows of the Damned" is pretty straight forward. Guy has girl, girl gets killed and taken to hell for eternal suffering, and guy wants to save girl. He goes to hell for that. Well its not a wonderful story, but it works for the game at least. Garcia Hotspur is our main man, and he is one BAD ASS DEMON HUNTER (may consider him for a best game character post). One day he's just doing his job as usual, and when he gets back to his hotel he sees demons harassing and killing his girlfriend Paula. He fights back of course, but things aren't so easy. The demon king appears and personally takes Paula away, telling Garcia that he will make her suffer for eternity. No boyfriend wants that, so he jumps into hell to save his girlfriend.

Shoot dem demons, shoot them like they killed your mother!

Well as a shooting game, you've got to have good shooting mechanics. The game's shooting mechanics are similar to that of the RE games, where you play as a third person Garcia and fire away at demons coming your way. This isn't bad per say, but the one thing that should be praised about "Shadows of the Damned" is the world that it engulfs you with. In this case, Hell is one weird place where ANYTHING can happen. You travel through markets, housing streets , cathedrals, churches, castles and many more. All where zombies, alligator faced demons and gigantic one eyed robot freaks lurk around to take your head as the renowned demon hunter. 

You fight all sorts of enemies in all sorts of places, and while this may seem very weird (which it is), you will have a great time exploring all of hell. Defeating enemies will net you gems to buy items from Christopher, a friendly demon that gobbles up gems and vomits out items of use that can aid you in your journey. To further tread the lands of hell you have to proceed through locked baby doors, in which you have to feed them fruits or brains before they open up to you. You will also be hindered by darkness, an aura which emits from hell that renders Garcia weak and makes the denizens of hell invulnerable. To get rid of darkness, you either destroy a light emitting goat head or give a hand job to a fireworks machine. Sounds crazy right, I know, even your transforming weapon is a floating skull by the name of Johnson.

Shoot the zombies! Die mother f**kers!

The darkness mechanic along with the other stuff that I mentioned are just part of the many other awesome ones that the game has to offer. These include lighting a sushi fish lamp demon that can help light your way through dark passageways, or blasting open huge unbreakable walls with your aligning bombs. Along with these are the puzzles and mini games that do well in changing up the pace. At some points of the game, you will actually have to think on how to proceed past a door, by either shooting bombs over walls or to bounce shots until it hits something you have to. There are even puzzles where you have to shift and turn paths until you can actually move forward.

Of course, lets not forget that 2D side scrolling section that totally makes everything look silly, that was fun too. These small little tidbits is what makes the game a little less repetitive. Boss fights too, they're great. In "Shadows of the Damned", boss fights are all lords of the underworld, those guys who really did something bad when they were alive. These boss fights are challenging, and all of them require a certain method to defeat them. Of course, you need to think to figure out their weak points and weaknesses. Another cool little tidbit is that before you fight a boss, you get to read books on their lives and how they came to be, I always found these really intriguing.

Explode like you've never done before!

"Shadows of the Damned", no matter how fun it is at the start, begins to drag and get repetitive towards the end. For a shooting game, it is rather long, as you can clock in an easy 10 hours if you don't rush through. However, with the stiff movement controls and simplistic shooting, you will get bored of it if you play for extended hours. Also, you only have 3 weapons, and while these get upgraded and get very different abilities, its still just 3 weapons. Even with the new abilities, they feel the same. A pistol is still a pistol, a machine gun is still a machine gun, and alas, a shotgun is a shotgun. A pity they didn't invest in stuff like snipers and rocket launchers.

"Shadows of the Damned" is a blast to play if you don't plan on doing it excessively. It has a low variety of weapons and has some stiff movement, but your exploration in hell is mostly an enjoyable one. Funky game mechanics assure that your journey never falls short of being weird. You will never look at hell the same way again, and this is probably a good thing.

Happy gaming.