Shadows: Awakening Preview
Shadows: Awakening is an isometric real time tactical action RPG that combines both Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms book 1 and book 2 into one new game, with enhanced graphics (using Unity), enhanced gameplay and a better performance. And indeed the game does look a lot better from their previous game which was made using the Ogre 3D engine.
The road to this game has been challenging. The developers from Games Farm released together with publisher bitcomposer, Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms ahead of its time. This created quite a debate amongst the fans, but the intention was that the missing parts of the game, book 2, would follow shortly after that. That didn't happen. Bitcomposer went out of business and Games Farm was unable to complete the rest of the game as they did not have the license. Now that those licensing issues have been solved, Kalypso Media is bringing this new game to the market. Those players who were promised to get book 2 for free, will indeed get Shadows: Awakening for free.
The key feature of Shadows: Awakening remains unchanged, which is the Shadow Realm, a parallel universe, where you will be able to switch to instantaneous. You are playing as a demon, a Devourer, who can steal the souls of living beings. These souls, the demon can use in the living world to create a party to play with. At any time you can switch to the Shadow Realm and in that Shadow Realm there is a time stop, which means you can change your party configuration, the position of your party, their equipment and whatnot. After that you can switch back again and attack who or whatever you are attacking at the moment. This now goes a lot more fluent than in its predecessor.
There are a total of 15 unique devoured souls to choose from, where each of them has a minimum of 6 active skills out of a total of 90 skills. To overcome some of the more stronger opponents you will need to carefully select which party members and their skills you should use. If that is not enough there are also summoning spells to summon creatures to fight for you and spells that change the alignment of your opponents, so they will fight for you as well.
At the start of the game we got to select to play with one of three available characters. Each with their own background story and personal quest. The main quest is partially intertwined with this personal quest, but for the large part it will not change on a new play through with a different character, only the personal quest is really different obviously. There is Evia, 500 years old, who is on a quest to find out what happened to her family and to retrieve some heirloom from her father. The other was a barbarian king, who was murdered by his son and is now on a quest to find him and finally there is Jasker, who feels he has a duty to his clan and wants to help them. You can side with two other souls to form a party.
The game is not only about combat, but also has puzzle elements. These have also been improved compared to the original. Sometimes you need to use both realms in order to solve some of these puzzles, or to get hints from the shadow realm to be able to solve a puzzle in the living world.
Loot has also been changed. In the original game there was a bit too much of it and they are now trying to have loot available in a more reasonable way. The loot is partly random with the unique items being placed in fixed positions.
With the right talents of your characters it will be possible for players to brew their own potions or craft items, which could however not be presented however as it was not part of the demo.
The game is fully playable with a controller, but there will be some differences as the controller does not allow for the level of accuracy as a keyboard and mouse does. The UI differs completely between controller and keyboard/mouse control.
As mentioned the game looks a lot better than before and according to Games Farm is a lot better as well. It is also finally a complete game, so if you liked its predecessor there is more to like with this game.
Here is the announcement trailer:
And a B-roll of the game showing some of the content as it was shown at Gamescom.