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Shadows of the Damned ShadowsOfTheDamned.jpg Developer(s) Grasshopper Manufacture Publisher(s) Electronic Arts Director(s) Massimo Guarini Producer(s) Goichi Suda (Executive director)
Shinji Mikami (Creative producer) Composer(s) Akira Yamaoka Engine Unreal Engine 3 Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s) NA June 21, 2011
AU June 23, 2011
EU June 24, 2011
JP September 22, 2011 Genre(s) Psychological horror Mode(s) Single-player (Third-person view) Media/distribution Optical disc

Shadows of the Damned is a psychological horror video game[1][2] developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles. The game follows the story of Garcia Hotspur, a Mexican demon hunter who goes to Hell to battle its evils in order to save his true love. The game is the result of collaboration between Goichi Suda and Shinji Mikami, and combined the styles of the two designers, namely the "punk rock" edge of the former and the "psychological action thriller" of the latter.[3]

Contents

Plot

Demon hunter Garcia Hotspur comes home to find his girlfriend, Paula, being abducted by the Lord of Demons, Fleming, who brags that he will take Paula with him to kill her again and again. Garcia is powerless to stop Fleming, but instead follows him back to the underworld along with his demon sidekick, Johnson, who also acts as his gun, torch and motorcycle. In the demon world, Johnson helps guide Garcia through the twisted nature of the demon realm, defeating numerous enemies that try to feed on Garcia's flesh, and keeping him away from the darkness that destroys the human flesh. As they travel, they witness numerous deaths of Paula by Fleming and other demons, all to toy with Garcia's senses. Another human demon hunter, who simply goes by the name "Colonel", temporarily aids Garcia, but then leaves to get revenge on the death of his loved one, only to be brutally killed later. Garcia also encounters an ally in Christopher, a half-human, half-demon that sells Garcia valuable goods to boost his demon-fighting powers.

Later in the game, Garcia and Johnson learn of the Unbreakable Huntress, the first female demon slayer to ever challenge Fleming. The Unbreakable Huntress challenged Fleming, but was brutally dismembered by the demon king. Impressed with her refusal to surrender even when reduced to a quad amputee, Fleming made the Huntress into his queen, only to repeatedly kill her over and over again, healing any wounds that resulted from the torture. In rebellion, the Unbreakable Huntress continued to escape from the City of the Damned, only to be dragged back and killed by Fleming. Paula is hinted to have been the Unbreakable Huntress prior to the start of the game.

Eventually, Garcia reaches Fleming's "Castle of Hassle", and battles his way through to its top, where Fleming awaits him, Paula encased within his cloak. Fleming enters into battle with Garcia, but Garcia gains the upper hand, and destroys him. He rushes to Paula's side, but she hits him, angered that he watched her die over and over and made no attempt to stop it or comfort her. Furious, she transforms into a demon herself, and attacks Garcia, but Garcia eventually weakens her enough. Paula reverts to her human form, and as she lies wounded and the darkness surrounds them, Garcia comforts her and apologizes.

In the epilogue, Garcia and Paula have returned to his home and are planning for a trip, when Garcia receives a call from Fleming, warning him that more demons are coming for him. Garcia takes this in stride, commenting that now that he is dating the Lord of Demon's mistress, the demons will continue to follow them, and he vows to kill every last one.

Gameplay

Shadows of the Damned is a psychological horror game. The player controls Garcia, moving him through the environments. Garcia's sidekick, Johnson, is ever-present, acting normally as a torch for light or quick melee attacks, but can become a weapon when needed. Johnson can take three forms: a pistol, a shotgun, and automatic rifle, all which are upgraded into more powerful forms either by finding blue gems left after boss fights that add extra abilities, or through slotting of red gems, found in the environment or purchasable from Christopher, to improve damage, reload speed, or ammo capacity. Garcia's health bar can also be extended using red gems. Health is restored by imbibing alcohol that can be found in the game's levels, or purchasable from Christopher or vending machines using white gems, the form of currency in the demon world.

Johnson also can fire a special "light bullet", which can be used to both stun enemies and is a primary mechanic of the game's "darkness" puzzles. If Garcia enters an area covered by darkness, he will momentary be safe but soon the darkness will drain his health until he leaves or dissipates it. This most often can be done by firing a light bullet at a goat's head in the area, but often finding this goat requires completing other puzzles, such as opening a series of locked doors. Other ways of dispelling the darkness included killing demons that are spewing it, or using fireworks to temporarily remove it. In some puzzles, the solution can only be completed while Garcia is within the darkness. Demons that spawn from the darkness often will be shrouded by it even when the darkness is dispelled, preventing Garcia from damaging them until struck with a light bullet. There are numerous boss fights that combine several aspects of the gameplay, including darkness, to be defeated. Certain levels are based on mini-games, such as the use of a sidescroller in some chapters.

Characters

Garcia Hotspur
A Mexican demon hunter who chases the demon Fleming into the underworld to rescue his girlfriend Paula. He has extensive tattoos all over his torso, arms, and back. He wears a leather jacket which changes color slightly depending on which weapon he uses. Voiced by Steven Blum.
Johnson
A former demon that assists Garcia. Johnson can transform into a variety of skeletally-themed objects to assist Garcia, including projectile weapons, a torch, and a motorcycle. Voiced by Greg Ellis.
Paula
Garcia's mysterious girlfriend who is later revealed to be a former demon slayer called the Unbreakable Huntress who was turned into a demon after she was repeatedly killed by Fleming due to him admiring her refusal to surrender. Garcia found her lying peacefully in a dumpster behind a supermarket after she escaped from Fleming. She commits suicide by hanging herself, however is somehow still alive. She is then kidnapped by Fleming at the beginning of the game, leading Garcia to rescue her and slowly learn of Paula's demonic nature. Voiced by Julianne Buescher.
Fleming
The lord of demons in charge of the underworld. He is extremely strong, large, and boasts of his apparent invincibility. He enjoys opera. He is seemingly killed by Garcia, but returns in the epilogue to warn Garcia that he will continue to send his demonic servants after Paula. Voiced by Paul Mercier.
Christopher
A half-demon redneck. He likes eating white gems and will trade them with Garcia for helpful items. Voiced by Cam Clarke.

Development

The game's history can be traced back to 2005, when Goichi Suda and Shinji Mikami (creator of the Resident Evil series) became good friends while working together on Killer7. Suda wanted to make a survival horror game exclusively for the PlayStation 3. With his first horror title Michigan: Report From Hell receiving decent sales in Japan by 2006, Suda immediately began working on Kurayami (Japanese for 'Darkness') in his spare time. It was at one time thought to be called "Closer". However, EA later confirmed that name had been abandoned for another title.[4] By the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2006, a publisher for Kurayami had not yet been established.[5] In 2008, Suda presented the game's concept to EA Games, who agreed to license the Unreal Engine 3 and to publish the game to a worldwide audience. Shinji Mikami was then invited to executive-produce the project. Suda wanted to announce the game at E3 2009, but was not allowed to do so, due to a media silence agreement between Grasshopper Manufacture and EA Games. That December, Akira Yamaoka (sound designer for the Silent Hill series) left Konami after finishing his work on Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and joined Grasshopper Manufacture because he enjoyed the latter's game No More Heroes. Yamaoka began work as the sound designer for the game. The newly titled Shadows of the Damned was finally unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show in 2010 as an action game.

Reception

[hide] Reception Aggregate scores Aggregator Score GameRankings 80%[6] Metacritic 77 / 100 (PS3)[7]
76 / 100 (X360)[8] GameStats 8.0 / 10[9] Review scores Publication Score 1UP.com C+[10] Computer and Video Games 8.1/10[6] Eurogamer 7/10[11] Famitsu 32/40[12] Game Informer 9.25/10[13] GamePro 4/5 stars[6] Game Revolution B+[6] GamesMaster 90%[6] GameSpot 8.5/10[14] GameSpy 4/5 stars[15] GamesRadar 9/10[16] GamesTM 8/10[6] GameTrailers 6.7/10[17] GameZone 8.5/10[18] IGN 7/10[19] Official Xbox Magazine 8/10[20] X-Play 4/5 stars[21][22] Destructoid 8.5/10[23] Giant Bomb 4/5 stars[24] Joystiq 4/5 stars[25] Awards Entity Award GameSpot Best Music[26] GameSpot Best Sound Design[26]

Shadows of the Damned has received mostly positive reviews, with average aggregate scores of 80% at GameRankings,[6] 77 out of 100 on Metacritic,[7][8] and 8.0 out of 10 at GameStats.[9] Joystiq awarded the title a 4 out of 5, noting that Shadows of the Damned is a silly and over-the-top adventure, but is a trip worth taking. The Official Xbox Magazine gave it an 8 out of 10, praising the combat, boss battles, weapon upgrades and humour, but criticizing the linearity and the slow start. Game Informer awarded the title a 9.25 out of 10. Stating that "Shadows of the Damned is unapologetically adolescent, but instead of trying to be cutely ironic and wink at players, the humor comes off as genuine, playful, and fun." IGN awarded the title with a 7 out of 10, criticizing the game for not appealing to all audiences. Eurogamer gave the title a 7 out of 10, noting that it lacks the polish of a typical Shinji Mikami title.

Destructoid praised and awarded the title an 8.5 out of 10, saying "This crackbrained horror romp takes camp to a new extreme and wants you, the player, to have nothing but fun the entire time."[23] Gamespot gave the title an 8.5 out of 10. Praising sound design, challenging and terrifying bosses, varied gameplay, clever use of darkness but criticizing that there is no new game+ function and stiff animation. GameZone gave the game an 8.5 out of 10, and states that "To a much simpler degree, Shadows of the Damned is an amazing experience that anyone with a sense of humor and an affinity for rich games should get their hands on ASAP."[18]

References

  1. ^ "GDC 11 Shadows of the Damned, Alice get release dates". destructoid.com. Retrieved 2012-08-16. Text " publisher" ignored (help)
  2. ^ "Shadows of the Damned gets a two week delay". gamersbook.com. Retrieved 2012-08-16. Text " publisher" ignored (help)
  3. ^ Brian Ashcraft (September 15, 2010). "First Shadows Of The Damned Screens And Concept Art". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  4. ^ Nicholas Gasse (September 9, 2010). "EA's Suda51/Mikami title to be debuted soon". Jolt[[{{subst:DATE}}|{{subst:DATE}}]] [disambiguation needed]. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  5. ^ Robinson, Andy (May 22, 2006). "Suda 51: Contact established". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Shadows of the Damned". GameRankings. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/shadows-of-the-damned
  8. ^ a b http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/shadows-of-the-damned
  9. ^ a b "Shadows of the Damned". GameStats. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  10. ^ http://www.1up.com/reviews/shadows-of-the-damned-review
  11. ^ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-06-21...he-damned-review?page=2
  12. ^ Gifford, Kevin (2011-09-14). "Japan Review Check: Dark Souls - Plus: How did Shadows of the Damned manage over there?". 1UP.com. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  13. ^ http://www.gameinformer.com/games/shadows_of...-plays-like-heaven.aspx
  14. ^ http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/action/shado...review.html?tag=topslot;thumb;1
  15. ^ http://xbox360.gamespy.com/xbox-360/suda51-h...-project/1178112p1.html
  16. ^ http://www.gamesradar.com/xbox360/shadows-of...0/g-2010091510537547008
  17. ^ http://www.gametrailers.com/game/shadows-of-the-damned/13828
  18. ^ a b http://xbox.gamezone.com/reviews/item/shadows_of_the_damned
  19. ^ http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/117/1177708p2.html
  20. ^ http://www.oxmonline.com/article/reviews/xbox-360/s-z/shadows-damned
  21. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZYetyksx3E
  22. ^ http://www.g4tv.com/games/ps3/64493/shadows-of-the-damned/
  23. ^ a b http://www.destructoid.com/review-shadows-of-the-damned-204206.phtml
  24. ^ http://www.giantbomb.com/shadows-of-the-damned/61-32684/reviews/
  25. ^ http://www.joystiq.com/2011/06/21/shadows-of-the-damned-review/
  26. ^ a b "GameSpot's Best of 2011 Special Achievements". GameSpot. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
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Details

ESRB:  M
Number of Players:  1
Publisher:  EA Games
Developer:  Grasshopper St
Console:  PS3/Xbox360
Genre:  Action Adventure
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