Shade Wrath of Angels PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 6.8
Graphics 9.0
Sound 8.0
Value 7.0
Distributor: Red Ant
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
March 2005
Reviewer:
Andrew B

7.0


Shade: Wrath of Angels

Shade: Wrath of Angels takes the genre of survival horror gaming from the console world and delivers a sturdy 3rd person perspective of action, horror and adventure to the safety of desktop computers (PC). The title transforms the gamer into the role of an unwilling hero whose younger brother calls for help after a cataclysmic archaeological discovery. Unfortunately for our hero, his brother is nowhere to be found but as he digs deeper into the mystery, he soon discovers that both the forces of heaven and hell have a large stake at his brothers disappearance. In order to rescue our intrepid hero's brother, the player must traverse a variety of realms, timelines and a plethora of undead and holy beings in order to reawaken four ancient spirits to save his brother.

Shadow: Wrath of Angels is a combination of Tomb Raider meets Silent Hill and offers the gamers a mix of traditional survival horror gameplay and also traditional platform gaming. In addition to interacting with basic objects and combat, youíll be able to run, jump and climb your way through the various realms that your character embarks on. As Shade is viewed from a third-person perspective, the player must control the character with both the keyboard and mouse that surprisingly goes hand-in-hand with the gameplay.

Unfortunately, some of the platform elements of the title leave a little to be desired such as jumps and more specifically running jumps which interferes with the gameplay. The most noticeable problem of the title is deciding when and how to jump which often lead to your characters downfall... or more specifically, their instantaneous death which leads to some excruciating gaming mechanics. Apart from this problem, you can also perform a variety of other platform manoeuvres such as climbs, ducks and a plethora of other action-orientated gameplay manoeuvres that is fortunately quite easy to master when compared to the fiddle some jump system.

The combat in Shadow: Wrath of Angels gives the gamer access to a variety of different weaponry with your first weapon being your trusty sword. There are approximately twenty different types of weapons ranging from torches and staffs to more powerful swords and axes. Enemies are quite difficult in Shade, due in large part to their ability to block incoming attacks and deal hefty blows to your character. Lurking in the shadows and behind doors, enemies will often jump in front of you at unexpected moments. 

Youíll soon learn, if you already havenít from other games in the genre, that caution is the key to survival. Weapons donít deal much damage, forcing you to battle enemies with a series of carefully timed attacks and evasive tactics to avoid incoming blows. Although blocking can be done with the right mouse button, itís altogether inconsistent. Circumventing enemy attacks is essential since replenishing your health can only be done at wells of magic placed at specific junctions within the game. By not incorporating any means of healing through items or magic, Shade not only forces you down a scripted path of gameplay, but even dictates when you can heal yourself.

The combat of Shade: Wrath of Angels is made easier through the use of your demon form that gives you enhanced strength and magical powers that can be triggered at any time. Below your health gauge sits a magic meter that regenerates over time, determining how long you can remain in demon form. While in demon form, you are immune to damage, although any incoming attacks will reduce your time in form. In addition to basic attacks, youíll also receive the opportunity to learn magic spells. At scripted intervals, you can purchase spells for use that appear useful, but are ultimately wasted due to the disproportional nature of combat. The added strength of demon form reduces combat into an unbalanced effort to maximize time in this form. Most of your time will be spent battling enemies as a demon, reverting back to human form, running around to refill your magic gauge, and commencing attacks again as a demon.

Graphically, Shade: Wrath of Angels is an extremely solid looking game, with dark, ambient environments that lend well to the genre. The game also features a variety of background environments that include the Present Day (Eastern Europe), the Middle Ages, Ancient Egypt and the Shadow Land that contains some of the nicest looking special effects to grace the PC in a long time. The title also makes use of dynamic lighting that looks quite stunning on high end computers, especially with the latest and greatest graphic cards. With that said, the characters in the game are extremely well rendered and contain a high amount of detail for that extra realism.

The musical score of Shade matches the game perfectly and really helps set the atmosphere of the title that flawlessly changes as you explore the gaming environment. The sound effects also lend to the survival horror genre of the title and the developers have done a brilliant job at recreating the sounds of hell beasts and their kin.

In conclusion, Shade: Wrath of Angels wins in some places and unfortunately loses in other parts because it didn't quite achieve the gaming level of other survival horror games in the console world. Despite its technical flaws, Shade: Wrath of Angels is still a title that can be enjoyed thanks to its stylish, atmospheric presentation that truly make use of the PC's ability to display a wide range of graphics.






 
 



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