Review: Shadows of the Damned

Aug 21, 2011

What would you do for love? Would you fight the demons of hell and risk all for even the slimmest possibility of returning to a normal life? As deep and profound as those questions may be to you, they are completely irrelevant in Shadows of the Damned. Although your character, mad Mexican demon hunter Garcia Hotspur, is on a quest for love – this game is really about gameplay and sexual innuendo. If, like me, you really dive deep into the message behind every game you play, you’ll find Shadows to be a game made for gamers. It doesn’t have the cache of a blockbuster release (or the marketing budget), but it does have outstanding fluidity of player movement, great overall control, an assortment of expandable weaponry, and great ambiance. What you’ll get from Shadows of the Damned is a complete gaming experience few games will give you.

Don’t read further if you’re interested in multiplayer. Shadows is a story-based game that can only be appreciated by those who want to think while they play. Granted, the game is not difficult – I beat it with 80% trophies in under 10 hours on medium. It does, however, challenge you to be an accurate shooter or the game quickly becomes a Resident Evil clone. Meaning you’ll be so low on ammo you’ll be in panic mode until you find the shopkeeper. There are actually several similarities to Resident Evil 4: the way Garcia moves and interacts with the environment, as well as the fact you’re shooting mostly slow moving zombies/demons and the occasional armored tank. While these similarities exist, I do not feel it was the creators’ intent to clone RE4. When it comes to survival horror, there is yet to be a more effective camera angle or shooting mechanic than what RE4 perfected. Speaking of creators, Shadows is the first love-child of Suda 51 (No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Devil May Cry). I hope they had fun making this game because I had a blast playing it.

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Garcia’s quest is to recover the soul of his girlfriend Paula. She was kidnapped by Fleming, the lord of demons who is in charge of the underworld. Throughout the 5 acts, Paula is subjected to a variety of torture and ultimately deaths. Garcia’s guide is his trusty sidearm, Johnson. A former demon who can transform into various weapons which are essentially a pistol, shotgun, and automatic rifle. These two have a very…close relationship. Their banter is a little too much after a while and really the jokes can be over the top sexual to the point where it’s uncomfortable. But if you keep an open mind, you’ll find they are somewhat sarcastic and are really making fun of other games. Again, the game is roughly 10 hours on medium difficulty. The ending is open for a sequel, but poor sales (fewer than 50,000 units) will likely leave me empty inside for the rest of my life.

I really like what this game offers. But at $60 I can’t recommend it to everyone. If you really love RE4, then $60 will be reasonable for you. To the masses, I recommend you pick this up when it drops to $40 or less. $30 would be ideal. The shooting mechanic is so fun that you’ll definitely replay it. Finally, guys, do not play this game in front of your wife. Trust me.

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