s hadow’s awakening
Switch between realms in this Diablo-like action-RPG Daniella Lucas
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.
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”