Both on the stage of the conference and then in the huge stand set up at the fair, the Paris Games Week of Playstation was not only dedicated to great titles, but it also managed to dedicate space to some independent exclusives. Alongside the area dedicated to Star Wars Battlefront and right next to some stations dedicated to internal titles such as Alienation and Gravity Rush Remastered, there was also a place Shadow of the Beast, presented at last year's Gamescom and seen not even an hour before on the stage of the event: we certainly couldn't hold back and miss the opportunity to try the title of Heavy Spectrum Entertainment Labs, also taking the opportunity to exchange a couple of hot impressions with the CEO of the studio Matt Birch.
The old man who advancesShadow of the Beast is a homage to old arcade titles, and does nothing to hide it
Shadow of the Beast, as perhaps some of the most seasoned players will already know, is not actually an unpublished Intellectual Property but poses as a remake of the homonymous title released in 1989 (and the progenitor of a trilogy). The incipit of this version exclusively for Playstation 4 should follow its footsteps and structure, putting the player in the (two-dimensional) shoes of Aarbron, kidnapped as a child by an evil charmer who made him "the shadow of the beast". Aarbron, however, during the events shown in the first level of the experience (the one tested by us for the occasion) manages to rebel against his master and therefore decides to hunt him down to get revenge.
The title, as we will soon discover when we go to discuss the gameplay, is a tribute to old school arcade titles, and as far as we have been able to observe so far it dogmatically respects this philosophy also on the narrative front: the focus is on purely playful aspects, with which Shadow of the Beast tries to impress anyone on the other side of the screen.
Let out the beastEasy to learn, hard to master
Shadow of the Beast is a perfect exponent of the so-called "Bushnell's law”: Easy to learn, difficult to master. The basic gameplay in fact does not offer anything particularly complex, boasting two buttons for the attack (one dedicated to stun shots while the other to more lethal actions), a button for the parry, the possibility of jumping with the X button and dodge with the right analog stick. However, ideas that have undoubtedly met with our applause are grafted onto this simple structure: after filling the appropriate bar it is possible to enter a sort of berserk mode, where, however, rather than receiving a simple upgrade, it is possible to eliminate the enemies in one shot, but only by pressing the action keys with the right timing. A moment (more or less) too long and here the combo will stop, "condemning" the player to have to refill the bar. Another interesting aspect is the health management system, where in essence the classic health bar gives way to a more spartan (and more practical) indicator that directly indicates how many hits it is still possible to suffer before ending up in game over. Despite having tried everything at the beginner difficulty, the playful skeleton of the title seemed to us to belong to a certain category of titles, where more than the intricate combos the reflexes of those who hold the pad in hand are rewarded and in any case the only true and undisputed master is the score and the challenge is definitely not lacking.
There is also some more platform phase
However, a certain exploratory component borrowed from the platform video game is not lacking, thanks to some bonuses (for example we came across a seal) hidden in certain points of the map. It is too early to say how important these moments will be in the economy of the title, as it is in general too early to give an all-round judgment on the product: basically we could only test the skeleton firsthand, finding it in any case very solid and promising. if you are subject to the charm of the arcade.
The beauty and the BeastThe animations are splendid (and really raw)
From a visual point of view, while actually presenting itself as a horizontal scrolling title, Shadow of the Beast seemed pretty fit to us, especially with regard to the animations of the various enemies, especially when they pass away. The protagonist's violence was therefore undoubtedly (forgive the pun) well rendered on the screen, justifying its appellation of beast. Also on the technical front in the time available to us we have not noticed anything particularly out of place, and we hope to be able to say the same thing as soon as the title is available.
Comment If you are among those die-hard diehards who appreciate a certain more "old school" video game genre, you will surely do yourself a favor by keeping an eye on Shadow of the Beast: few frills (even if from the visual aspect you did not go for it. nothing to spare) and a lot of satisfaction when you manage to ring several hit combo during the Blood Mode. For our part, we certainly want to see ourselves more clearly, starting from the excellent impression we had during the Parisian fair. Pros and cons ✓ Few frills, lots of satisfactions
✓ The challenge seems not to be missing
✓ Visually inspired x To evaluate the actual depth of the whole