Shadows: Awakening (REVIEW)

First impressions, based solely on the musical score is impressive. Reminds you of GOT with a light dash of LOTR for good measure. The score has a dramatic urgency to it and having played the game to its completion the plight of kingdoms is serious business.
The opening scenes lay a good groundwork for what is a fluent story coupled to simple game mechanics and riddle solving. This game is a joy to play and be apart of.
Again, the ingame music is well placed within the story arc, it adds to the tempo, drama, the pure insanity of just having clubbed, slashed and hacked your way through a torrent of enemy combatants hell bent on preventing you from reaching your goals.
The shear madness of this constant onslaught is taxingly stressful, I found myself begging for sanctuaries, safe zones and NPCs with long dialog.


Walk Down Memory Lane?

Shadows Awaking does have an air of Baldurs Gate to it, I would even go as far as to say it reminds me of Sacred 2 and it does indeed hold a candle to these games.
The ease of combat combined with ability to switch between puppets each having their own unique skill set, attributes, attack styles and resistances, means you can deal with almost anything sent your way.
Oh look you have a horde of undead zombies; no sweat, just switch to your ground pounding zombie tank.
Oh look you have a wave of elementals bearing down on you; thats ok, not a problem, switch to your double axe wielding werewolf, who has feet for his proportions if you know what I’m saying.
This is a good mechanic in my opinion and serves the gameplay well, use it to your advantage. A poor choice in character selection at the start of your adventure into the unknown can end, poorly. I had to learn a few things the hard way.
Trust me on this guys, the warings at the start when selecting difficulty, are for good reasons.
Frustration did find its way to me, porting issues pulled me out of my escapism within Shadows Awakening.
Shadows Awakening being a PS4 port from PC, sadly things have not translated across well.


There’s Something In The Shadows

Targeting, both automatic and manual needs to be flushed out. This is the sort of game where you have to take down enemies in a specific order or else much pain will be felt.
This has cost me a puppet or 2 several times.
While the automatic targeting does fare a little better, it is no good swinging your axe facing the wrong way, as the targeting system has acquired a griffin on the other end of the map.
Couple this with the issue of snagging on the map, it can and does make for some frustrating gameplay.
Swatting your way through a swarm of opponents just to be stopped cold by the edge of a staircase or a random pebble for seemingly no reason.
It violently pulls you out of the game with a WTF moment of frustration.
Loading screens is another source of contention, they are so frequent you began to wonder if the devs tossed a few of them in just for nostalgia’s sake. Not sure if this is a problem on the PC and can perhaps be accredited to the PC-PS4 port but cannot be certain.
The key mapping to the controller works well and once learned can be used to bring the utter destruction to your foes on the battlefield.

These faux pas aside, it is not difficult to be sucked straight back in wanting more.
The main quest story is a butt tonne of fun; I found myself being pulled off the main quest line frequently and enjoying the side quests as much as the main storyline itself.
Crawling through dangerous dungeons, stuffy tombs and damp caves is a must, the loot at the end of the crawl isn’t have bad either and worth the time and effort spent grinding.
The choices of good and evil do account for few things, the choices of which questions to ask and at what times can open new doors or get old ones slammed in your face, only to find yourself locked in a dungeon with a rat as company.

I adored this game and I am going to replay it. Perhaps I’ll choose the mage this time around, new story, new play style and best of all new challenge.
Good story, vibrant world, interesting characters and challenging. What more do you need?


So, scores on the doors.



Design, Art and Sound.

Scores a pretty good 7. I wanted this to be higher, I really did.
The musical score does a fair amount to carry the game through the frustration mentioned earlier. The foley does add to the fantasy, it is somewhat limited and certain sounds are reused, but Games Farm are not AAA so have been granted a pass on this.


Scores an impressive 8. Choice. This is the secret to this games challenge, a wrong choice has taught me pain. Within your choices lays the challenge, it does not necessarily make the dungeon crawling easier it just means you have a better time of it.


Scores a well earned 7, masses of fun and a good time had. That is it at the end of the day, enjoying your time with a game. Nostalgia did play its part and those good old days came back.
Not much can do that nowadays.


Scores 7. This is a limited factor, there’s only so much content within Shadows:Awakening.
There is a large amount of gameplay on offer, but elements can get repetitive and the fun of the challenge wears off and turns into grind.


Scores a predictable 5. Something that bugged me about Shadows: Awakening was the price. Outlets are selling it at £45, where as the Kalypso site is flogging the game at £35. Competitively priced at £35, if you can find it cheaper elsewhere get it.

Overall score is a 6.8.

An up standing score for Shadows: Awakening. Games Farm can do better, a bigger budget and a larger team will works wonders for their next feature. The tale of the Heretic Kingdoms is not over and I await their next installment.