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whatshot Shadows of the Damned PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.8
Graphics 7.0
Sound 7.1
Value 7.6
Distributor: EA
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
July 2011
Reviewer:
Kyle Sudukis

7.8


Shadows of the Damned

If you thought the love child of Suda 51 (No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) would be totally F**KED UP, than you would be correct. Their latest title, Shadows of the Damned is one of the weirdest, clichéd and addictively annoying games that I have played all year. Damn you 51 and damn you Mikami to hell!!! :)

Using elements of the survival genre, Shadows of the Damned is a third person action game that has the player controlling Garcia Hotspur, a demon hunter whose girlfriend Paula has been kidnapped by a demon lord who he pissed off. Unfortunately you annoyed this demon just one too many times and in order to prevent this demon from doing the unthinkable to Paula, Garcia has followed him into hell with his trusty shape shifting demon gun called Johnson or is that boner?

That pretty much sums up the story behind Shadows of the Damned and just Duke Nukem, Garcia is quite the obnoxious character but he has this amazing charm to him. From his crass one-liners and amusing tales, Garcia is a Mexican demon hunter who never believes he has bitten off more than he can chew. Thankfully for Garcia, he is not alone in hell and has his friend Johnson the gun is there to tag along who not only acts as a guide for Garcia but can also change into a variety of different weapons.

The dialogue between these two characters is as clichéd as they come and for the majority of the time, it's quite bad... and I really mean this. Some of their banter had me cringing but also brought a big fat smile to my mouth. Without these two obnoxious and witty characters, Shadows of the Damned would have been a rather boring title. I will probably never forget the words demon pubes ever again!

The gameplay in the title is quite linear however and for the most part, you will be confined in certain areas. If you do happen to die which you might do a lot on higher difficulty levels, there are plenty of check points to start again, although sometimes you do need to backtrack a little. Most levels require you do perform a set number of functions such as getting from A to B or chasing some phantom that looks like Paula. Upon the way, you will encounter a variety of demons to kill, including bosses, collect "demon" currency, purchase wine for health and upgrade your weapons via red diamonds.

The control system works well on the PS3 controller but sometimes you will be inundated with demons that will make you jump, especially when they grab you. To dispatch demons, you generally use your gun and some enemies require you to bring them to the light by shooting them with your light gun or torch. Certain areas are covered in darkness that not only make you sick but also make the demons un-killable so there is a trick here to defeat them. There are also a variety of puzzles in the game and as Garcia says "I hate puzzles", these can range from easy to tricky. In terms of the environment, hell looks like something from Victorian England merged with New Orleans and on occasion, there are objects that can be found to better your inventory.

Enemies are generally a little lacklustre at the start but as you progress, these enemies change and do become more tricky but thankfully your morphing gun will assist in smashing them asunder as you rotate between your weapons from pistols to machine guns. I also like how the game has this auto-aim system so if you aim for the head, you can blow their heads off or for something even more entertaining, shoot them in the leg and they will crawl towards you. Sadistic yes... entertaining... hell yeah!

Graphics & Audio

Graphically, Shadows of the Damned looks a little dated on the PlayStation 3 that includes the gameplay itself. The animations are a little clunky at the best of times as is the texture details employed into the game. There are however some interesting special effects in the game such as shooting goats heads to light up the way or those evil looking babies that sometime adorn the gates of hell. Add in some decent lighting and overall, Shadows of the Damned comes together rather well, albeit dated. I really digged some of the unnatural movements of the demons... creepy! Sometimes the camera angle gets in way with the gameplay that may lead to you dying on occasion which is quite annoying.

Voice acting is way over the top and not just for the main characters. Music, sound effects and the ambient sound (scary baby cries) compliments the gameplay without it being overtly annoying and certain parts in the game do make use of your surround sound system, especially when your looking for a goat's head to turn on or if a demon has run away with one. In terms of the soundtrack, this game has this awesome Mexican fuelled hard rock track that also combines with orchestral tunes in order to really scratch your soul.

Conclusion

Even though Shadows of the Damned is relatively short game (10+ hours), it's actually quite satisfying and even when you died more than a dozen times, you just want to continue playing because every chapter that you play offers something uniquely different, whether through its demon fights, puzzles or power-ups. Unfortunately because the game is so linear, there is little incentive to play it again, even with the witty banter between Garcia and Johnson which is much like similar games of this genre such as Bayonetta but even so, Shadows of the Damned is one hell of a ride that you'll enjoy from start to finish. It's violent, it's clichéd, it's bloody entertaining but ultimately doesn't add anything new to this genre.





 

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