In our latest review, Nathan from Indie Game HQ takes a look at DeRail Games’ interactive narrative RPG, Shadow of the Game.
GAME NAME: Shadow of the Game
DEVELOPER(S): DeRail Games
PUBLISHER(S): DeRail Games
GENRE(S): RPG, Narrative, Puzzle
RELEASE DATE(S): Dec. 6, 2012
We would like to thank DeRail Games for giving us the opportunity to review their latest title. For more, please check out Shadow of the Game’s website.
About Shadow of the Game
One of the strongest guilds in a fictive MMORPG is embarking on the last expansion’s final raid to become the highest ranking guild in game. The event is so tremendous that even the MMO’s lead developers at Gizzard are watching the raid on live-stream. Things start to slowly fall apart when the guild’s outcast “Cookie” makes his return sporting an illegal race and bringing power-grinded companions. Friendships are put to the test, internships are on the line, and the gamers are forced to take action in the “real world”.
- Multi-branching story
- Interactive dialogue
- Puzzle based combat
- Original soundtrack and artwork included
As someone who loves classic style RPG’s I was very excited to start playing Shadow of the Game.
Using standard WASD movements and Spacebar to interact with objects and NPC’s, the controls are simple and easy to use.
SOTG is considered to be a game within a game. Inside of SOTG, there is a game, created by a company called Gizzard. If you hadn’t guessed the game is an MMORPG. Get it? Blizzard.. Gizzard.. MMO? Anyway, this may seem confusing, but I’m doing my best to explain.
Throughout SOTG, you transfer back and forth between the “real world” and playing “The Game”. In some ways this blurs the line between reality and fantasy, which is what DeRail seemed to be going for. You’re constantly hopping to different playable characters, whether in the MMO or in the real world, as to not get bored.
I have to say my favorite thing about Shadow of the Game is the branching story line. The main branching point happens during the final raid of the in-game games’ guild. In addition to that, there are other numerous decisions for the player to make throughout the story. It will take more than one playthrough to experience all that SOTG has to offer.
I do have a few things that really bothered me. The lesser reason for score loss in the gameplay category was the tedious space bar pressing getting through all that dialogue, not to mention a decent bit being misspelled. DeRail has stated that Shadow of the Game is a narrative, but still thought it was worth a mention.
Now onto the major score loss for SOTG. I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story and how everything came together in the end, but I did not enjoy the very crude type of humor (and crude is putting it lightly). Some of the dialogue plays off immature jokes and many mentions of partaking in smoking marijuana. There are numerous people and object that you have the option to interact with sexually, and SOTG does not hold back on the “F bombs”.
I understand using humorous tones in a game to lighten the mood and create a fun experience, but there’s a fine line between humor and immaturity. This, sadly, disappointed me and dropped the gameplay score dramatically.
The audio in Shadow of the Game is, for lack of a better word, epic. From rock guitars to orchestras, the music is perfectly placed throughout.
During intense fight scenes you’ll hear rocking riffs, for the creepier moments your ears will shiver at the screeching strings.
The sound placement in Shadow of the Game was, in my opinion, absolutely awesome. Strategically placed music never hurts.
When first going into Shadow of the Game, I was reminded of classic RPG’s by the top down view, limited animations on the characters, and the pixelated scenery.
At times, there are things in the world that look like they don’t fit the rest of the game. It appeared that some of the objects and scenery were maybe free to use assets. This may not be the case, but it bugged me nonetheless.
No big spoiler, but compared to the rest of the game, the ending cut-scene is rendered completely in 3D graphics. I was not, in any way, expecting this. I was completely taken aback, in a good way.
I would also like to mention that there are hand drawn elf breasts. Yeah. This game was definitely not intended for children.
Down to the Nitty Gritty
Overall, Shadow of the Game is a semi-decent tribute to classic RPG’s. Sporting the top down view, great music, and an almost good story.
After playing, I’ve come to the conclusion that this game may portray teen characters, but is not meant for a younger audience. SOTG features adult language, gratuitous amounts of drug use, and small bits of nudity.
I’m giving Shadow of the Game a 6.7 out of 10. Sadly, the overuse of the “sometimes funny, but usually lacking, humor” really brought down what could have been a really good game.
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