by Bryson Hile
previewed on PC
Shadows: Awakening is a game titled exactly how it should be. This real-time, point and click role playing game puts the player in the spirit of an awakened demonic entity. The demon, known as the Devourer, is able to consume the souls of mortals and use them to his will. He has been summoned by a mysterious hooded man, who you learn more about later. His connection with the demon and any souls it consumes will determine the future of your story.
The ability to take on souls and use them to your will is somewhat morbid, but also really fun. The first soul I devoured was Evia, Daughter of Fire. Evia used to be a mage who harnessed the power of fire. The others I could choose from had descriptions fitting a warrior, rogue and ranger. All had different backgrounds that sounded interesting to explore.
The Devourer’s second ability is switching between his world, known as the Shadow Realm, and the the mortal world where the souls resides. Being able to switch between the two worlds is enjoyable as a whole and many puzzles require the use of both. Switching changes up both gameplay and the environment itself. A collapsed bridge in the Mortal Realm can be whole and usable in the Shadow Realm and used to walk across. There are also locations in the Mortal Realm where demons are not allowed but the souls you possess can travel freely. Throughout the game you are able to take control of other souls and switch liberally between souls and the demon, as well as the two realms.
A Demonic Puppeteer
A demonic puppeteer is not exactly what it's cracked up to be, though. Throughout the Shadow Realm lie crystals that can be collected for healing purposes. These crystals are one of the very few ways to heal your (mortal) souls. I found it very difficult during areas with many enemies and boss fights to heal. Unlike the souls, the Devourer can heal in a number of ways.
Weapons vary widely, and many of them have specific types of damages such as fire or ice. The different types of conditions made them better or worse against certain enemies, who are equally varied. Evia’s fire attacks are able to reach good distances, but facing enemies with ranged attacks can be difficult. Dodging and attacking feels as if they are competing to take the primarily role. This is different when playing with the Devourer. His attacks are primarily melee.
When facing a boss, I found a fun little strategy in which I would switch between to the two worlds, move myself to a different position and reenter taking the enemy by surprise. Some enemies show up in both worlds though. There is a type of spider that has a spirit-like shield over it. Defeating it requires the demon to take the shield out first, and then I use a soul to finish it off. These types of enemies were enjoyable to play against, and a great motivation to use the two realm strategy.
Deep Lore and Gameplay
Where Shadows: Awakening shines brightly is its lore and extensive gameplay which is said to be over 40 hours in the final game. Side quests present themselves in many areas giving the player a choice on what to do next and your decisions in dialogue affect how the world around you interacts with you. With the deep lore potential that the game has I am betting I’ll happily spend those 40 hours playing come release. Shadows: Awakening is a ginormous game and I’m confident it will be a must have for frequent RPG gamers.