Published on December 19th, 2023 | by Nathan Misa
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew – Zagan’s Ritual & Yuki’s Wish DLC PC Review
Summary: Two excellent final DLC expansions with a pair of compelling new characters, story quests, fun gameplay powers and new islands.
Sea'n You Later
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is the final swansong for German developer Mimimi Games, who shared a surprise announcement that they were closing up shop shortly after the game’s official release in August. However, that hasn’t stopped the team from releasing two final packages of excellent downloadable content (DLC), a free content update, and mod support, which fans of the criminally under-represented stealth tactics games genre will definitely enjoy.
Yuki’s Wish and Zagan’s Ritual each add an all-new character to join the Red Marley crew, six new campaign missions and a new island to explore and thwart the devious machinations of the Inquisition. Both expansions can be played shortly after you complete Act 1, and both offer two distinct story tones and gameplay experiences that will keep Shadow Gambit fans and new players very satisfied – especially given how seamlessly it integrates into the existing base game.
Zagan’s Ritual is the darker of the two DLC packages, introducing a brooding and enigmatic Prognosticar defector (a high-ranking member of the enemy Inquisition) to the crew. Zagan is a little less charismatic than the base roster of Cursed Individuals, but he is just as colourful in personality and abilities. His powers emphasize immobilising unsuspecting opponents from long-range; Dark Excision holds a foe in place before killing them within five seconds (at the cost of one bar of health), Hedron of Constriction lets you freeze enemies without them or their allies noticing (so long as Zagan remains still), and his standard attack makes enemies catatonic while recovering any lost health. Zagan even has a passive ability to freeze lower-ranking guards who spot him for three seconds (multiple witnesses negates this advantage). I was worried Zagan would be an example of an overpowered DLC character, but I found his slower movement and passive weaknesses (he can’t swim or climb ivies) balanced to accommodate a challenge on most maps – plus he can’t immobilise more powerful enemies like fellow Prognosticars on his own, as you need to line up another ally to help finish the job while the enemy is distracted.
Zagan also brings a whole new map with him, a foreboding and abandoned castle mansion turned dark laboratory that you will help him escape from, then return to as part of his campaign missions. The new environment offers up a fantastic level of vertical challenges, with multiple pathways into the main spooky castle and several parapets and towers that must be addressed before you can complete key objectives in larger open areas like the courtyard and main gates.
In terms of story and lore, Zagan’s Ritual expands upon the Inquisition, the Maiden’s Flame and side characters like the Dread Vine in interesting ways, and does a great job of introducing a more morally ambiguous crewmember who isn’t so quippy or friendly as Afia and company. In fact, Zagan only joins the crew to gain assistance in completing his occult experiment, and this story beat is played out in full; he’s pompous, selfish, holds his secrets close to his chest, and even calls out his fellow pirates for being hypocrites for looking down upon him, which I loved given their murderous escapades largely go unaddressed in the main story. If you lean toward ‘darker’ characters and magic like I do, you’ll definitely enjoy Zagan as part of your boarding party.
Yuki’s Wish is the lighter-hearted DLC that introduces a fan-favourite character from Mimimi Games’ first title, Shadow Tactics, into the Shadow Gambit universe. Yuki, also known as the “Twilight Corsair”, is a friendly and clever Japanese thief who is found by Afia as a stowaway on the Red Marley, as she searches for the Dragon’s Dream island to ask for a wish from a fabled ancient dragon, while butting heads with a powerful Prognosticar named Salazar. Yuki, in contrast to Zagan, is charming, friendly and more likable in personality. The new map Yuki brings with her, Dragon’s Dream, is a beautifully rendered lost island with a distinctly Japanese aesthetic that shares the same level of experimentation and challenge as the base game maps, and you’ll be visiting this place along with existing islands multiple times in your quest to aid Yuki. It also blends in nicely with the existing Lost Carribean setting,
However, while Yuki and her island are much less grimdark than Zagan, she’s just as deadly in the new powers she brings, using a cheeky Tanuki named Kuma to distract enemies with the Tanuki Parade ability, and a deadly Tripwire Trap that rains down knives onto unsuspecting guards. Her melee kills also turn any fallen foe into a block of wood, which is incredibly helpful when there is no time to hide a body for those tougher guard patrols, making Yuki a great choice for both harder difficulty settings. Is she a little overpowered? I’d say yes, but when paired with other crewmates like Zagan and Teresa (a team I used), who have severe limitations, things are balanced out.
The Final Verdict
Ultimately, I had a lot of fun returning to Shadow Gambit (read my original review) to play both DLCs, which provide well implemented new characters, fun abilities, expanded storylines and new ways to conquer islands and experiment with the various crew combinations on offer. Alongside the free content update, which adds 14 Treasure Hunt missions as endgame challenges, and mod support, Zagan’s Ritual and Yuki’s Witch are some of the best DLC add-ons released this year.
If you haven’t already bought Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, now is the perfect time to see what all the fuss is about with the two final DLCS – and lament the loss of the talented Mimimi Games’, while appreciating the great games they brought to the stealth tactics genre for years to come.
Primary Format – Games – Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | S
Game Genre – Stealth strategy
Rating – M15+
Game Developer – Mimimi Games
Game Publisher – Mimimi Games