s hadow’s awak­en­ing

Switch be­tween realms in this Di­ablo-like ac­tion-RPG Daniella Lu­cas

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If you’ve been suf­fer­ing from a se­vere lack of loot and have caught your­self think­ing about floods of mon­sters to de­stroy, then we have some­thing for you. Set in two di­men­sions, the shadow realm and the mor­tal plane, you play as The Devourer—a de­mon sum­moned to con­sume the souls of long-dead he­roes so he can use them in pup­pets. While The Devourer ex­ists in the shadow realm full of hor­rors your thralls ex­ist in the mor­tal one—you’ll need to switch be­tween the two to over­come ob­sta­cles and see hid­den souls on your jour­ney. Will you van­quish the evil threat­en­ing the world or plunge it into dark­ness?

Shadow’s Awak­en­ing is part of the Heretics fan­tasy uni­verse, but this is its first time on Xbox, and you won’t need to have played pre­vi­ous games to be able to en­joy this. It’s very Di­ablo- like in that you go around ex­plor­ing deep dun­geons and tak­ing on quests as a char­ac­ter that gets more pow­er­ful over time while find­ing new loot. There is one ma­jor twist though, as you’re ac­tu­ally a de­mon con­trol­ling and re­cruit­ing mor­tals like pup­pets.

As a de­mon you ex­ist in one dark realm that dif­fers slightly to the mor­tal one where your hero ex­ists, and you’re able to switch be­tween the two with a sim­ple but­ton press. This is im­por­tant, as some­times a blocked path in the mor­tal realm will have a way through in the shadow one—you con­stantly need to switch be­tween the two to progress.

Pup­pet mas­ter

There are cur­rently four main he­roes you can posses from the start, and each has a dif­fer­ent story path de­pend­ing on their his­tory as well as their own skill sets. Even­tu­ally you will come across other party mem­bers who will join your cause and add their own skills to the mix. You might find your­self in a dun­geon with se­cret paths that only skills/party mem­bers can un­lock, giv­ing you a rea­son to come back later to un­cover what’s be­hind them.

There’s also a lot of choice when it comes to quests—do you choose to obey a quest word for word, or maybe by switch­ing to the shadow realm you’ll find ev­ery­thing isn’t as it seems and fol­low a dif­fer­ent path. In the demo we saw this demon­strated with a quest where a man asks you to bury his wife, as he’s not strong enough to do so, but if you switch to the shadow realm you can talk to her soul, and dis­cover what re­ally went on.

Com­bat also re­quires you to keep your wits about you—your he­roes are far stronger than The Devourer, but some­times they’ll be pro­tected by shields that can only be taken down in the shadow realm first be­fore you at­tack them prop­erly. Shift­ing to that side is a huge risk as the en­e­mies in that realm also like to flood and over­whelm you—it’ll take some deft switch­ing to make the most of your fight­ing skills. You won’t be fight­ing all of the time though, there are also hub cities full of quests to ex­plore, loot to find, and mys­ter­ies to un­cover.

It all comes to­gether to form an in­trigu­ing twist on the genre with the op­por­tu­nity for plenty of re­playa­bil­ity thanks to dif­fer­ing choices you can make. How­ever the ver­sion we saw did have a few ma­jor bugs, but there’s still another four months to go to get ev­ery­thing straight­ened out be­fore re­lease. If they man­age to squash those is­sues then this unas­sum­ing ac­tion-RPG will have a lot of po­ten­tial.

“There are hub cities full of quests, loot to find, and mys­ter­ies to un­cover”

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