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Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms

By drcoolio34505-11-2014
BloodyFanGirl (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)
Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms

The Defence

Games Farm
Games Farm
Action, Role Playing
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Code i5 3.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce 560
AMD equivalent
6 GB
5 GB

Take Pokémon, replace Red with the lord of evil Diablo, and the game you've made is Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms. If you're at all curious how that would turn out, you need Shadows in your life, and if not, look into it anyways, because the game is a criminally underhyped hack-and-slash title.

Right off that bat you should know that there's a lot more Diablo in Shadows than there is Pokémon. A dark fantasy setting filled with demons and dungeons to crawl through, a class based leveling system, an isometric camera angle, and loot that pops out of corpses, Shadows has it all, but the difference between Diablo and Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms is all in who you play as.

Instead of a blank sheet character, you play as a Devourer, a demon that can gather souls and transform into them. Without spoiling too much, near the beginning of the game you are summoned by a mage who tells you that there is a mutual threat that would end you, and basically everything good about life if you don't team up to stop it. The sucky thing about demons though is that they can only exist in the spirit world, and need a host if they ever hope to interact with anything physical. So following in the footsteps of legendary Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum, you pick your starting host, a barbarian, a ranger, or a mage, to possess and cooperate with to put an end to the threat.

Mummies and fire never did make a good combination.

Mummies and fire never did make a good combination.

From that point onward the game is filled with finding other Pokém-I mean souls to possess, dungeon crawling, and using your souls to take down enemies. Shadows might be real time unlike Pokémon, but the same principle of weaknesses applies. Slow moving enemies are easily taken care of with ranged souls while some other enemies are better taken care of by getting up-close and putting a sword through their skull. You can switch forms at will, and your souls can die without consequence, just be careful if you're left with nobody but the Devourer, because if he dies it's game over, and Shadows isn't generous with its auto-saves.

Being a demon does have some advantages though. Like I mentioned earlier, Demons don't exist in our realm, but the spirit realm. This means a couple things, but most importantly that the enemies you fight as one of your physical forms won't be there in the spirit realm. The same thing applies to the environment around you; some environmental hazards like rubble might block your path in the physical world, but as a demon in the spirit world that rubble might not exist or if it does you can just float over it.

There are a few issues that you can't just float over though, like gameplay problems. Shadows combat, while fun, can boil down to running around the room waiting for cooldown times to finish, especially with bosses or when facing hordes of enemies. While it makes the combat more dynamic and interactive when it forces you to run around the room or dodge projectiles as they're coming at you, it can also feel like that encounter has overstayed it's welcome when you're forced to resort to these hit-and-run tactics instead of facing the enemy head on. Speaking of running, that’s what most of the sidequests are, running back and forth from point A and point B to collect item C. Fetch quests aren’t fun, but luckily most of the boring quests were left to be sidequests and don’t get in the way of the main story.

The good ol' ask a neighbor for the location of a griffin egg line.

The good ol' ask a neighbor for the location of a griffin egg line.

All in all, Shadows makes for a great game that uses all the hack-and-slash elements that were in games like Diablo or Neverwinter Nights to good effect while adding in enough innovation through the party system, realm switching, and soul capturing to keep things fresh and interesting. Shadows is a hidden gem that should be a must-buy for anyone who appreciates Diablo-esque hack-and-slashers and doesn't mind a little innovation sprinkled on the classic formula.

Shadows is planning for a PC exclusive release on November 13. I’d recommend Shadows to any Diablo fan, anyone looking for more hack-and-slash gameplay, and anyone looking for a new IP that, with some luck, will hopefully blossom into its own series.

Comments (3)
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Posts: 3290

We didn't mean new as in newly released. Rather new as in an IP you haven't tried yet, and thus new to you. Sorry for any confusion

Posts: 1

Uhm, but it is NOT new IP. It is a sequel to 2004 game Kult: Heretic Kingdoms (sometimes known as Inquisition: Heretic Kingdoms). It is set in the vry same universe and from what I've seen it even features some of the Kult's locations, characters or storylines.

Posts: 3290

You know, I actually keep seeing this in suggested games and stuff. It's on my wishlist, but I'm still undecided so...this helps.

A lot