When Shadows of the Damned released in June of 2011, it did two things: It won critics over, earning almost universal praise, and it proceeded to sell worse than televisions in an Amish community. SotD sold less than 30,000 copies in its first week, and that's from both Xbox and PS3 combined! Well Rock is here now to tell you why this gem is worth your time, especially now that the price been slashed significantly.
When you get a group of highly talented people together, sometimes a magical thing called a dream team is formed. Dream teams often have the ability to create wonderful things. Just look at The Life Aquatic, or The Expendables. Shadows of the Damned is a perfect example of what a group of insanely creative people can come up with. From the mind of acclaimed developer Suda 51, of Killer 7 and No More Heroes fame, the game also had help from a guy named Shinji Mikami. Who's that? Oh, he was just responsible for a little series called Resident Evil! Nicely rounding out this glorious team is master of the earholes Akira Yamaoka, most well known as the music composer and sound director for the Silent Hill series. Holy eff! Let's take a look at what these masters of craft came up with!
Shadows of the Damned follows accomplished demon hunter Garcia F. Hotspur, who's on a mission to save his girlfriend Paula. See, a demon named Fleming has taken a bit of a shining to Paula, so he's decided to kidnap her and take her to hell. What does Garcia do? He sacks up and jumps right into hell itself to save the woman he loves, of course! The overall design displays a hell that I really wasn't expecting. Hell is treated as being a society similar to our own, but, you know, with demons. Most of the areas that you travel seem to be dark, grim depictions of old European cities with cobblestone streets and old stone masonry everywhere. Wherever you go, you'll see a city that really seems lived in. There are shops, telephones, and ghoulish advertisements everywhere! The overall aesthetic is just awesomely realized.
The only problem is that Garcia, despite being a demon hunter, doesn't really know much about hell. Lucky for him, he's accompanied by Johnson, a former demon who's more than happy to teach Garcia all about the underworld. One of the coolest aspects of the game is that not only does Johnson serve as guide, he's also, as Garcia puts it, "The right 'tool' for every job". That is, Johnson is a torch for bashing demons, and transforms into all of the guns that Hotspur will use on his journey! The shooting action is pretty damn smooth, and it's clear that the creators were trying to address a lot of complaints that people have had with this type of shooter in the past.
|Taste my Big Boner! (sorry, Mom...)|
Pervasive throughout the entire game is a sense of humor that's just balls-out stupid, in a good way. Most of the humor is dick-centric, and I know that may not sound very funny, but it works. The important separating factor between Shadows and a game like Duke Nukem Forever is this- Duke tells a dick joke because the game acts like that's a funny thing to do. Shadows tells a dick joke in one of two ways- it's either told knowingly, winking to the audience, or it's told in such an over the top way that it comes back around to being funny again. Your main weapon shoots bones, so what else should it be called, but the Boner? And that's just the start. I really don't want to give anything away, but suffice it to say that hearing a Mexican guy yelling "Taste my Big Boner!!!" or "Let's take this pole for a stroll!" had me actually laughing in my seat, purely for their unabashed over-the-top attitude.
|Eat lead...dicks..pussies. Boner!|
Sure it's dumb, but it's fucking hilarious.
Shadows of the Damned is currently on Amazon for under $20. Buy it sooner rather than later though, as retail stock seems to be drying up. And with 30,000 units sold, it's unlikely to ever get another printing.
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