Shadows of the Damned Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Shadows of the Damned Box Art
System: Xbox 360, PS3
Dev: Grasshopper Manufacture
Pub: Electronic Arts
Release: June 21, 2011
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language

Even though Shadows is less like a horror game and more like a raunchy punk-rock action thriller, there's still enough blood and guts to please gorehounds, no matter how deep your appetite for all things red and squishy might be. In fact, there are several levels where you can't even see the floor because it's covered in human body parts. During the course of the game, you'll come across piles of dismembered bodies and what look like fire pits where demons had been feeding on a human (or two). The enemy designs are also fairly terrifying, and several of the bosses are nasty abominations in their own right.

Shadows of the Damned Screenshot

Obviously, the game has no shortage of strengths, but it also has some issues that keep it from being a perfect game. There are small problems—like Garcia's inability to run for more than a few seconds before having to stop to catch his breath, a certain swamp near the midpoint of the game where I could kill waves of enemies for an endless supply of gems, or the lack of checkpoints in a few key areas of the game—but those will rarely frustrate. Then there are the bigger issues, like the many things in this game that can slay you in one hit. Two areas in particular got frustrating when they were repeated: when Garcia has to run from his enraged girlfriend who will kill him if she manages to catch up with him, and the gentleman's club areas where you have to snipe large oncoming enemies before they reach you (thus killing you instantly). Having one or two areas where you can die instantly is acceptable, but there's more than that here.

There were also a few strange technical flaws, like achievements that don't stack (you'll have to beat it on each difficulty for every achievement), the startling lack of a New Game Plus option, and a few graphical glitches that had me feeding diamonds to the air rather than the merchant demon's mouth. More than three weapons would've been welcome, but that problem's mostly remedied by the upgrades. Instead of simply increasing damage, firing speed, etc. (you can do that too), as you progress throughout the game, the functionality of your arsenal will change enough to make it feel like you've actually gone through nine weapons (each one has three upgrades, adding new features and a different look to each).

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In case I haven't pounded it in yet, this is a very bizarre game. I say this in the best way possible, because its originality makes it unpredictable. I guarantee you won't know what's going to happen until it has, and more often than not the results are hilarious. If you want to experience a game that's different from everything that's come before it, Shadows of the Damned is for you. It's a tasty concoction of horror, humor, gore, and naughty bits that's guaranteed to make you laugh, scream, and beg for more. Oh, and stay after the credits for a musical treat; you won't regret it.

By Adam Dodd
CCC Contributing Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
For a horror game set in a demon-infested Hell, Shadows of the Damned is surprisingly vibrant and colorful. Of course, there's plenty of gore to satisfy the gorehounds.
4.3
Control
The run animation looks a little strange and backing up is excruciatingly slow, but for the most part, controlling Garcia and his weapons is rarely frustrating.
4.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack is incredible (Silent Hill's Akira Yamaoka did the scoring), but the voice work is solid and the squishy sound effects caused by flailing limbs and other assorted giblets are also aurally pleasing.
4.3
Play Value
The campaign will take roughly 8-10 hours. There are a few reasons to return for round two, like to collect hidden gems and get achievements, but the absence of a New Game Plus is disappointing.
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • A New Vision of Hell from the Creative Genius of Suda51 (No More HeroesTM), Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil 4) and Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill). Combining visceral Grindhouse-style action with a psychologically thrilling atmosphere, Shadows of the Damned is a vision of Hell like no other.
  • Bring your wrath upon some of the biggest, most memorable and thrilling boss battles ever created.
  • Manipulate the balance of light and dark to defeat vicious enemies, solve mind-boggling puzzles, and bring Hell to its knees.
  • Rip apart the forces of the damned using an array of upgradeable weapons and survive the ultimate head-trip.
  • A love lost and the journey through Hell to get her back are the backdrop for this warped tale.
  • Composed by Akira Yamaoka, one of Japan's most talented and prolific videogame music composers, the game's music and sound design adds flair and intensity to the gameplay experience.

  • Videos / Game Trailers
    Shadows of the Damned - Developer Diary  - click to enlarge
    Developer Diary
    Shadows of the Damned - TGS 10: Debut Trailer  - click to enlarge
    TGS 10: Debut Trailer
    Shadows of the Damned - Halloween Trailer  - click to enlarge
    Halloween Trailer
    Shadows of the Damned - From Hell Trailer - click to enlarge
    From Hell Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge Shadows of the Damned Screenshot - click to enlarge

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