Shadows: Awakening starts with a little backstory, helping those like this reviewer who hasn’t played the previous games to understand what the F*** is going on. Post cut-scene, a mysterious hooded man (voiced by THE ‘Tom Baker’) summons a demon known as the Devourer (more of a demon race than a name).
This is the players protagonist, a pissed off demon who eats souls to become more powerful. Your real name is ‘Raziel’… Wait a second, that was ‘Soul Reaver’! Much like the legendary franchise, players can swap between the dead world and the living world by controlling puppets which are possessed souls.
Bob The Devourer
The Devourer, who One affectionally calls Bob, has his own enemies to fight and puzles to solve. He can traverse areas where your puppets cannot, such as a broken bridge or behind a wall that only exists in the living world. Rather than being littered with chests and door switches, the world of Bob is occupied by various coloured crystals to interact with. Our protagonist is also the only way to access the teleport system and sactuary which allows you to swap and resurrect fallen puppets. The most important thing to remember though is if Bob dies, its game over, if a players puppets die, they can either resurrect them or replace them.
Their are 15 of the aforemtioned puppets available in each play through, though players can only choose one main which results in one of 3 endings judging my this reviewers impressions. Each of these main heroes has their own stories, quests and dialogue. This reviewers Hero is a great example; ‘Kalig’ is on a mission to take revenge on his son, who had him murdered 1 year prior (that may seem like a spoiler, but you get that info in about 30 seconds!).
Unlike Diablo; there is no multiplayer with a slower pace. With that being said; the quality and aesthetic of Shadows: Awakening stands proud within the Isometric ARPG genre. Combat is simple; players have have 3 moves to use on console, oddly the steam release has a much richer variety (WHY!?). Although there is plenty to choose from, puppets movesets can also be combined with the other puppets including team wide buffs. Sometimes, players will have to swap to the Devourer (Bob) to take down an enemy shield or weaken it in some way.
During players various dungeon expeditions, our protagonist and his puppets will encounter a variety of traps. The vast majority can be avoided by wisely switching between worlds, although fire apparently has the power to exist simultaneously is all realms. As a good ARPG player should know, exploring all corners of the map is a must for XP and loot opportunities. Get grinding my eager readers!
Speaking of maps, they’re huge! Lots of secret areas to explore; whether players need to locate a key, smash an unsuspecting wall down or utilising the sheer power of Demon King Bob as mentioned before, the quest content is pretty decent from what I’ve seen so far. This reviewer also liked the inclusion of a quest priority mechanic, this keeps Shadows: Awakening from becoming a burden of sorts.
Menus are sleek but can be confusing at first. Each active party member has to be selected to equip items and level up over various pages. It isn’t too bad once players get in the zone, chances are if my readers are playing Shadows: Awakening you either have played the original games or play RPG’s in general.
One of the nice additions to the game is Armor and weapon scaling, this is achieved by adding essences (up to 4 per item) which adds perks such as 10+ Agility or 10% extra damage to beasts. In turn this levels up the item from white to blue, blue to green etc making it more powerful as a result.
Enemies are not to tough though, but there are several difficulties to choose from which makes the titles second play through worth it. Especially if players wish to assume the role of a different main hero, or to simply challenge yourself.
Overall Score: 8 / 10
Gameplay is varied enough to not be boring and the game has plenty to offer, well worth the price tag! The only downside is there is no multiplayer (but I’m not deducting points for that as it’s not required!)
The graphics could be better, it’s nothing bad but it doesn’t feel like a 2018 game!
The presentation is solid, there is no lag, the loading times are fast but the menus can easily confuse people that have no experience with this type of game.
The sound of this title is good, the environmental sounds and effects from the creatures is convincing, and the background music is the usual pleasant RPG music which isnt annoying like some games.
Formats: Xbox One (Reviewed), PlayStation 4 and Steam
Publisher: Kalypso Media Digital Ltd
Developer: Games Farm
Release Date: 31st August 2018
Pegi Rating: 15+
Review copy provided by publisher