Shadows: Awakening at first glance looks like your average run-of-the-mill dungeon crawler, or at least that’s what I thought before I played it. Like a lot of the games that I got to check out this year, it was a familiar type of game with a cool little twist on it. You play as a demon who’s been brought back from hell, and as you battle your way through the story, you switch back and forth between your dimension and the dimension of flesh and blood. You do this by possessing certain characters throughout the game and leveling them up and learning new skills. The lovely thing about the game is that you’re encouraged to play through multiple times, because you can’t control every character in the game every time.
Take the beginning of the game, for example, you’re given the choice between three different bodies to possess. Whichever one you pick, that’s all you get, you can’t ever have the other two at any point, and this happens throughout the rest of the game. You’ll be able to choose multiple bodies to take over at key points in the game to add to your team, and whichever ones you don’t pick at that time are just gone. I like this a lot because the characters are so widely varied in both skills and personalities, and the people who you possess will actually bond with one another in dialog options through the game. There’s also a karma system in the game that’s exactly how you think it is, you are good or bad depending on your chat options you choose in the game. Whichever route you take will change the appearance of your demon character to look either more demonic or angelic, and will have an influence on the general flow of the story.
There were some genuinely tricky but fun puzzles too, as some things appear in the spirit world that don’t in the real world (platforms, doors, etc.) And time also stops in the spirit world, which you have to manipulate to open and close certain paths with decent timing. The game is totally voice acted all the way through as well which is always a plus and really pulls you into the game world, makes it more believable. I felt like it would get somewhat lonely at first only playing it alone, but with all of your possessed bodies chatting back and forth all the time, it’s pretty fun. There’s some witty and interesting dialog that goes on between them, revealing lore in the world of the game and the lives of the characters. Keep an eye on this one, I think it could be a seriously good single-player dungeon crawler, and I’m excited as hell to play it.
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