Shadows 2: Perfidia – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror Game
Developer: MrCiastku
Publisher: IceTorch Interactive
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Shadows 2: Perfidia – Review

Site Score
3.0
Good: Manages to build atmosphere through limited soundscape
Bad: Graphics look like a 90s browser game
User Score
5.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Is there a better month to dive into a spooky game than October? Days are getting shorter, as the magical evening of Halloween draws closer, and there are plenty of scary games out there to choose from. Shadows 2: Perficia is one of them. Billed as a horror game, Shadows 2 might just be what you’re looking for if you want to be scared stiff, provided you can get over the gruesome graphics.

Story

As you start the game, you can choose one of two characters, each with their own storyline. The first character, Michael, was a security guard at an unnamed office complex but decided to retire at the age of 42 years old. The other character is his co-worker, Joe, aged 26. After choosing one of these characters, an on-screen monologue explains that the game takes place on the day of Michael’s retirement party. Right after the party, Michael has to pick up his belongings and go home, while Joe still has a late shift. When the power goes out, strange things start to happen: Shadow ghosts appear and they are out to get you. The story for both characters is different, and you’ll discover more of it as you expand the journal for each character. The journal pages are the only way to follow the story though. There are no cutscenes or the like.

Graphics

If there’s one thing that will turn people off of Shadows 2, it’s the way it looks, provided you can actually see what’s going on on the screen. The game attempts to cover up how bad the assets look by making everything dark but fails to fully hide its shortcomings. Many games prove that graphics aren’t everything, but the way Shadows 2 looks just isn’t acceptable in 2019. Everything looks like an early 90s browser game, with simplistic assets and rough textures. There’s a lot of repetition here, and many items are just copied and pasted over and over again. This also means that you might get lost, as every corridor looks and feels exactly the same. This might be an intentional attempt to disorient the player, but it feels just like lazy design. The assets used also don’t stick to a single design style, making things feel thrown together from random 3D objects. It wouldn’t be surprising if a lot of these are simply cheap 3D models that weren’t designed specifically for this game, but were sourced through various stock websites.

Sound

There is as little sound as possible in the game, but what is there is used to great effect, especially when wearing headphones. There’s no music to be found here and the resulting silence means that every sound you hear amplifies the feeling of dread and claustrophobia you are intended to experience. For the most part, you’ll be left alone with your own footsteps and strange sounds in the distance. These sounds also serve as somewhat of a guide, drawing you in the direction of where you need to be, although the game sometimes deliberately misleads you with this.

Gameplay

There are 10 floors in the office complex that is the setting of this survival horror game, and while each floor gets more complicated than the previous one, the basic concept remains the same: Each floor has several items scattered around the various rooms. For the most part, the items are used in relatively easy puzzles. You move around darkened rooms, and although you have your trusty flashlight, battery power is limited and collecting extra batteries is the key to make sure you can see your surroundings. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your own sanity. As the events unfold, your heart begins to race and you reach a state of panic. You can either drink soda to calm down or close your eyes. Should you close your eyes, you can’t see the shadow ghosts coming, however, so there is a risk associated with that.

Speaking of shadow ghosts, they are the enemies in this game, and sadly, they just don’t work. They’ll suddenly pop out and start to chase you. It shouldn’t be surprising that there is no combat system against the shadow ghosts: if they manage to grab you, it’s game over. This entire mechanic is built around cheap jump scares but after a while you start to recognize the patterns, and by the third or fourth floor, it just becomes something you as the player shrug at. For all the shortcomings with the graphics, the game does manage to build up tension in the first half-hour or so, before you get used to it, so it’s a shame that the one thing the game sets out to do, being scary, devolves into a nuisance roughly one third into a run. More variety in the way the shadow ghosts interact with you would have been a welcome change.

Of course, the game isn’t just about avoiding these pesky spooks. You still need to solve the puzzles and reach the elevator to clear the floor. Admittedly, there are a few clever twists here and there and although your goal is the same on each floor, the way you get to the elevator isn’t just variants of the same puzzle. There’s a floor where the task is as simple as finding a set of keys and using them to open doors but another, more challenging floor has you perform more gruesome tasks, such as cutting open a human corpse that got stuck in a toilet.

The game feels unfinished at times, with clunky controls. Hitboxes are also all over the place: doors might be opened from halfway across the room, while a key that should be within reach requires you to practically move on top of it. Playing through the game takes roughly two hours per storyline, although apart from the individual stories for each character, there is little difference. There are collectibles on the floors as well, but these aren’t very well hidden and you’ll just come across most of them the first time you play through a level. As a result, there is little reason to replay the game once you finish it.

Conclusion

There is potential in the concept of Shadows 2, but unfortunately, the game never really reaches what it aims for. It feels rushed and unfinished, mostly due to the awful graphics and the repetitive jump scare mechanics of the shadow ghosts. If you manage to get over the way the game looks, the first half hour manages to capture the scary atmosphere but ultimately, Shadows 2 fails to deliver on its premise.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Shadows 2: Perfidia - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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