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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter / Action

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Grasshopper Manufacture, Inc.

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

June 21, 2011

 

 

Despite the extreme vulgarity rife throughout, some genuinely hellish gameplay (including the inventive 2D levels) and very dark humor that’s actually hilarious in the few storybook tales Garcia and Johnson read

 

 

- The focus on the pee/poop/penis jokes gets just too juvenile after awhile
- Weapon aiming is atrocious, especially in the latter boss battles with bosses who move around swiftly
- The supposedly stressful, heart-pound big boss battles are almost laughably easy – even the latter harder ones

 

 

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Shadows of the Damned

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

shadows of the damned          shadows of the damned

 

Having your apartment invaded and your girlfriend kidnapped and dragged literally to hell by the lord of the demons certainly qualifies as “having a bad day.” It doesn’t get much better for demon hunter Gabriel Hotspur after that, when he follows his beloved “angel” Paula to the City of the Damned in a desperate attempt to somehow, someway rescue her from the fiery eternity of suffering death after

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death at the hands of her demonic possessor, Fleming, she’s doomed to endure. This is the basic storyline of the new third-person action shooter Shadows of the Damned on the Xbox 360 from Suda 51 and Shinji Mikami, the creative minds behind gaming franchises No More Heroes and Resident Evil, respectively.

Instead of being a grippingly creepy and

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downright scary game, however, Shadows of the Damned focuses too much of its energy trying to one-up itself with bathroom and sexual double-entendre “humor” with so jokes about pee, poop, penises and another “p” word that is a crude reference for a certain part of the female sexual anatomy that isn’t proper to spell out for this website. The storybook tales in the game, even with crude humor, are actually darkly hilarious, though. If they could have toned down the crudeness in the main gameplay and reserved it for the storybooks, Shadows of the Damned could have had much more frighteningly tense gameplay.

There should have been more concentration on improving the atrocious aiming of Hotspur’s weapon, the demon head Johnson that transforms into the game’s many weaponry choices (and yes, that’s purposely the name of the “gun” Hotspur uses and spurs many a penis joke). Trying to shoot accurately, especially during battles with swift-moving demons, is a most trying undertaking that can get really frustrating, although with the overabundance of save points (which are marked by a eyeball demon pooping a golden turd) gamers won’t have to backtrack too much when they wind up getting killed in large part from the very exasperating weapon aim.

 

shadows of the damned          shadows of the damned

 

One of the game’s drawing cards is providing supposedly intense Big Boss Battles. But while the bosses are big (from 10 to 100 feet tall), the battles are rather tepid at best. Even the battles that allegedly are the toughest in the latter stages of Shadows of the Damned as Hotspur reaches Fleming’s mansion and his attempted liberation of Paula comes closer are not too difficult to win, although the weapon aiming does throw a monkey wrench into the gameplay to try its best to increase that difficulty challenge.

With about 10 hours of gameplay, there are a lot of various levels of hell for Hotspur to traverse as he seeks his beloved. While the majority of the gaming time is spent in third-person shooter mode with puzzle solving along the path to Paula, there is a rather inventive sampling of old-school 2D gameplay that surprisingly ends with an easy battle against one of the enemies that gamers may have been expecting to face in a rather tough boss battle. Visually, this 2D gameplay is rather simplistic but visually appealing at the same time. The rest of the graphical appearance is also dark and hellishly appealing with plenty of light sourcing from weapons and enemy projectiles. However, Hotspur’s appearance while running is stunningly awful, completely herky-jerky and unintentionally laughable.

A lot less raunchy juvenile humor and more focus on fixing the weapon aiming would have elevated Shadows of the Damned from the depths of hell to a almost heavenly third-person shooter experience. As it is, though, once gamers acclimate their aiming and focus their efforts on the demon-hunting adventure found in the shadows of the debauchery, Shadows of the Damned is a sometimes-scary ride to Hades and back.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(July 21, 2011)

 

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