Oh boy, did I hate the classic Shadow Of The Beast.
But not in a “F**K THIS, I’M THROWING IT OUT THE WINDOW” kind of way.
I find it funny, because I feel as though I should remember it for its music like everyone else but nope! Not me.
For me it was that unrelenting feeling of not succeeding at doing ANYTHING in Shadow Of The Beast that I remember;
?? Run right
?? Try to punch things
?? Lose 8 health
?? Climb down the well
?? Need a key
?? Fail more
Oh lord, that game…
But somehow because of this very thing, it made Shadow Of The Beast a very memorable title for me in a way that I would positively endorse it for anyone who asked if they should check it out.
So when the first gameplay video for the title was shown at E3 2015, I was on-board for seeing where this title was going with such a small team working on it.
You Look Good For An Amiga Game
Built off Unreal Engine 4, SOTB on Playstation 4 is GORGEOUS.
It’s kind of incredible to see this old game reinvented for the current generation of consoles and retaining so much of its aesthetic.
With audio compiled in Audiokinetic Wwise, it recreates this wonderful experience of running through worlds that your imagination no doubt scaled into something more “real” previously, with this current release making it even more real.
The first time you run through the grass plains of Karamoon with that rearrangement on the classic track ‘Welcome‘, you’ll go “Holy crap, this is BEAUTIFUL…”
SOTB: The Wrath Of Aarborn
This new Aarborn is a full-HD machine!
Gone is the world of jump, punch and random energy blasts during some boss fights!
This Aarbon is more akin to the Playstation character Kratos from God Of War.
With attack on square, stun on triangle, throw on circle and jump on the ‘X’ button, he is built to do so much more.
Block on R1 and counter on L1 means he is literally here to tear down armies. Combining these shoulder buttons sees you activating a Quick-Time-Event in the form of a Rage meter, that has Aarborn shredding enemies into slithers.
Attaching alternate moves via R2 and a combination of either square or triangle sees him take the power of his foes while the touch pad activates a screen-eating ‘Wrath’ attack.
And if that’s not enough, the right analog stick is an evasive roll.
This isn’t a game of “DAMN! I’ve been hit!”.
This is a game of “How’d I get hit…”
When the map loaded for the first time, I thought “Woah…this game is big.”
And while it may not play out that way, the scope of that ties into the ‘Wisdom Of Shadows’ menu, where the Mana you earn from combat in-game can be used to purchase a treasure-trove of extras.
Items such as the ability to understand the language spoken in-game by non-playable characters is an ingenious option, pointing out the games reliance on visual and audio narrative to dictate the story to players, it is widened in berth by other extras such as the ability to play the relentless original Amiga version OR watch the original game be completed by better players (funnily enough, as I watched it I thought “Holy shit, this looks so easy…”).
It’s in such things that it gives the game longevity through multiple playthroughs.
Oh…that’s if the leaderboards where you compete with friends doesn’t do that…
While the platforming can be sluggish at times, I find myself forgiving it simply because the jumping animation is rendered like that of the original. With such a small team having worked to create this, I find it impressive that they’ve done so much to simply evoke the spirit of its predecessor.
And because of this, I find myself swearing at the screen due to how much I find myself enjoying it.