|System: PSP, PS2, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami TYO||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 26, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
When it comes to death, most people don't get a second chance, or a third, or a fourth. However, they also don't have a creepy disembodied entity watching over them and offering "friendly" advice on how to best stay alive. Armed with this insightful info and a device that lets you go back in time, you have nothing to lose in Shadow of Destiny - aside from your life. Warping between the past and the present to change your fate in Konami's time traveling adventure doesn't change the fact it's a dusty port of a decade-old mediocre PS2 game.
Everything kicks off with a murder: your own murder. As the androgynous protagonist Eike, you walk out of a coffee shop, stroll down the street, and wind up brutally stabbed in the back by an unseen stalker. Lying on the ground and slowly bleeding to death, you're suddenly transported away to an alternate plane of existence, given a teleportation device by a weird entity, and sent on your merry way to try to stop your own murder. Unfortunately for you, saving yourself once just isn't enough, since the dark forces at work are particularly persistent. Every successful brush with death you survive only knocks the next attempt at your life back a bit. You've got a lot of work ahead of you if you feel like staying alive for good, but there will be some moments in your journey where you'll inevitably question whether it's really worth all the effort.
Shadow of Destiny's moody, plot-driven adventure starts off with a bang but moves along at a slow and steady pace. You're not given much to work with in terms of setup and background info on what's happening. This comes later as you encounter more people and dangerous situations. You'll spend a lot of time walking around a fictional German town and talking with the mostly irritating people you bump into as they're going about their regular routines. The walled-in town is a vacuous landscape filled with dark alleys and towering gray buildings. Some structures can be entered at different times in the game, though most of them are just there for atmosphere.
Each stretch of the journey plays out in short, self-contained vignettes. These time-sensitive affairs require you to figure out what has to be done to stop your murder and use your newfound time traveling skills to work it out; failing to solve the problem in a given chapter before time runs out seals your fate and forces you to replay that section. The good news is critical failure usually only returns you to the realm of the homunculus being. He'll often give you a hint on how to tackle your current obstacle. The game is rather generous in this way, allowing you the leeway to figure out most of the trickier puzzles through trial and error.
The time traveling mechanic in Shadow of Destiny is an interesting gimmick that sets it apart from the typical adventure game drudgery you'll encounter. Your gizmo flashes at important moments when you're required to time-travel, though you can also choose to use it at other times as well. There's a limited amount of energy available, and you have to keep your supply well stocked by picking up glowing orbs you'll find around town. Paying attention to the clock is also important, since engaging in certain activities advances time more quickly than simply walking around.