Shadow of Destiny Review
By Jimmy Goldstein |
In a surprise move, Konami wowed the PC gaming community earlier this year with news that Shadow of Destiny, along with a slew of other console hits, will be making the transition to our system of choice. Shadow of Destiny is the first of these titles to see release and if this is a sign of things to come then we're in good hands. The game features 10 chapters in total with a mystery to be solved in each one. It also brings with it an exciting (albeit a bit confusing) story of time travel, romance, and a sassy main character with the name of Eike Kusch (how cool is that?). As Eike, you're going to get the opportunity to go back in time and stop your own murder. Along the way you'll meet a plethora of interesting characters that help create a fun and believable world. So how does the PC port of this sleeper hit fare? Read on and find out if this game has a place in your Destiny.
Shadow of Destiny is an adventure game in every essence of the word. You won't be shooting, dodging, strafing, or using quick time combos here. The game is a straightforward adventure game minus the static backgrounds and spectacular voice acting that most PC adventure gamers are used to. What it does bring with it however, is a living, breathing 3D world. Getting Eike around the screen is fairly simple and should be a breeze to get comfortable with. Just make sure you have a game pad in hand as this game is not a very keyboard-friendly game.
Shadow of Destiny's fascinating tale is unveiled with the very effective utilization of in-game cut scenes. A few may feel that the heavy use of cut scenes is a bit redundant, but within an hour of playing the game they'll realize that this is where the game actually excels. The experience that one attains from the game can be best described as that of a fun suspense flick with gamer participation thrown in for good measure. The puzzles aren't very difficult and advanced adventure gamers might find them to be a bit too direct and sometimes degrading to their big-brained nature. The majority of gamers will find the puzzles to be just right and logical (that's right folks, a logical adventure game). Most of the puzzles are pretty much comprised of using a certain item in the right place at the right time. There are no item combination puzzles here that might have assisted in making it a bit more challenging.
The game is actually fairly short in length from beginning to end (an average of 6 hours). But also take into account that there are 5 completely different endings with each ending stripping away a piece of a larger puzzle. Best of all, in order to get the final ending you'll have to attain all the endings. This is "Replay Value" at its best folks.
Shadow of Destiny features some astounding polygonal characters and animation. Playing this game in 800x600 with full detail is a sight to behold. Just take a look at the images provided with this review and try to conceptualize them animated with unnerving detail. The characters are comprised of a huge amount of polygons that help in turn to create very believable facial expressions and character movements.
However, with every positive there's bound to be a negative. The game will suffer on lower end systems and anything lower than a PIII 700 and a 32MB video card will yield unimpressive and choppy frame rates. However, the game does offer lower resolutions and draw distances for those with lower end systems. Just count yourselves warned if you have a system that does not meet or exceed the above-mentioned requirements.
Background textures also seem to have suffered in the porting process. What looked brilliant on a Playstation 2 looks disappointingly stale on a monitor (thanks in turn to the clarity of monitors). Blurry, muddy, and sometimes unrecognizable textures cover the game's otherwise brilliant world. Bit of a let down considering how amazing the characters and their textures look.
What did you think of Shadow of Destiny?
The sound is very clear and audible compression is minimal at best. Quite a feat considering the game originally appeared in DVD format and is now on a single CD-ROM. The music is a bit soap opera in its presentation, but then again the game is essentially just that. The sound effects are appropriate and help enhance the feel of the game. The voice acting, as mentioned earlier, ranges from good to just plain silly. Eike delivers his lines with a believable charisma that fits him like a charm. On the other hand you have the idiotic prepubescent delivery given to the Hugo character (you haven't heard "whiny" until you hear this one). Overall, I feel that the game's acting is fun and achieves the desired level of drama.
Be aware that even on high-end systems the game's audio seems to fall off just a bit during the longer in-game cut scenes. This will end up throwing all the lip-synched animations off by a bit at certain points in the game. This doesn't degrade too much from the gaming experience, although I felt like I was watching a dubbed film at times.