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Old 08-07-2005, 02:21 PM   #1
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Remember that part in the movie ďGroundhogs DayĒ when Bill Murray kept trying to kill himself so that he wouldnít have to live the same day over and over again, but he just kept waking up in the same day? Imagine that instead of killing himself, he wanted to prevent his death from happening. Combine that scene with the ďBack to the FutureĒ movies and youíd have a similar premise to that of Shadow of Destiny, a great adventure game youíve probably never played.

Developed and published by Konami, you play the role of the androgynous Eike Kusch (pronounced Ike) who, after being stabbed by an unknown assassin, is given a device that will allow him to travel though time, in order to prevent his death, from a red-eyed creature known as Homunculus. But as youíll learn though the game, changing your destiny isnít an easy thing to do.

Things get complicated when, in a hurry to switch times in order to escape yet another death, Eike accidentally transports Dana, a waitress in a local cafť, back 400 years into the past with him, and then loses track of her.

From the outside, Shadow of Destiny doesnít appear to be an adventure game. It looks like it could be just another Silent Hill or Resident Evil clone, but itís an adventure game in every sense of the word. You walk around talking to people and collecting items, all in an attempt to change the past and the future. Instead of puzzles to solve like a normal adventure, you have lives to change, and itís up to you whether itís for the better or the worse.

Through the gameís eight chapters, you are given multiple opportunities to change your fate, as well as the fates of other people. You even have an influence on the look of the town in which the game takes place. Everything you do in the past has an impact on the future.

The story in Shadow of Destiny is beyond all words. It is a fascinating and intriguing tale which is woven based on the decisions you make within the game. It is so engaging in fact, that I played through it in two days straight, hardly taking a break. I was completely pulled into the game and wanted to find out who was trying to murder me and why. What did Homunculus have to gain from me staying alive? So many questions to be answered. The game has more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

***Spoiler***

Itís quite funny to see yourself get killed over and over and over again, and you will, as staying alive is quite the trial and error. For example, at one point in the game, Eike gets pushed off of a tower and killed, so in order to prevent it, he must travel back in time to the night before and tie an old rope to the railing. While it did keep him from falling at first, the rope was so old that it broke and he died anyway. Turns out, I was supposed to go back 100 years first and get the rope when it was new and go back to the night before to tie it off, then back to the present where he was to be pushed.

***End spoiler***

The game also has those clever little time traveling tricks that will keep you grinning from ear to ear. After looking through an old book, you get a picture that was taken in 1902 of a man and his two children in front of their house. Later in the game, you have to travel back to that time and talk to the man in the picture, who, after receiving some good advice from you, insists that you join him in the picture. When you go back to the present, you look at the picture, and sure enough, there you are. Itís those little details that keep Shadow of Destiny fun and interesting, as if trying to avoid your death wasnít fun enough.

Graphically, the game is a mixed bag, but what can you expect from an early PS2 game that has been given no graphical enhancements? Character models are awesome, though, as with most Japanese made games, many of the male characters look like hot women. Looking at Eike, youíd swear he was a hot lady talking with a manís voice with a loaf of bread attched back of her head. I mean come on, it took me half way though the game to realize that Homunculus wasnít a girl, though looking at him, youíd swear he was! While it doesnít affect the game that much, it will bring out a few chuckles.

Compared to the character models, the outdoor environments are lacking, but only a little. Theyíre a little muddy and flat, but are still pretty impressive considering when the game was released, and in some lights, downright sexy. They just seem a little outdated by todayís standards. The game could use some antialiasing as well. I wonder if there actually wasnít anyone trying to kill Eike, but that he had just been getting impaled on all of the jaggies that plague Shadow of Destiny. Indoor environments are impressive and almost as nice as the character models. Overall, the art direction in the game is amazing. I had to push my jaw up so many times, I thought my teeth were going to break.

The sound in Shadow of Destiny is almost perfect as well. The voice work isnít the best, but itís hardly the worst ever. The music is where the sound department really shines. There isnít too much of it, but when itís there, it perfectly fits the mood of whatever is happening on the screen and increases the lure of the story.

The biggest problems I had with shadow of destiny were the controls and camera. The controls arenít unmanageable, but they can be a pain, especially when you first start. Once you get used to them, theyíre a little better, but still awkward at times. Outside, youíre given control of the camera and can rotate it at will, which is pretty nice, but inside, you donít have any control, and itís usually fixed in the strangest places. Suddenly, forward is no longer forward, but sideways. The camera will change, and sideways isnít forwards anymore, but itís backwards. All of this makes navigating and finding clues indoors annoying, but hardly impossible.

Another problem I had with the game was that while there is gamepad support, it doesnít let you map keys, so your gamepad is at the mercy of whatever configuration the developers chose, and as consequence, my right thumbstick wasnít supported. I used the keyboard and mouse, but something tells me if you can get a gamepad to work, it would be worth it.

There is also a great lack of options when it comes to the graphic settings. You only get to choose from two resolutions and only a few other graphical tweaks. If your computer isnít at least midlevel at this point, thereís not a lot of scaling down you can do, but since itís a straight port of an old PS2 game, most people should be able to play it. Plus, if you own a PS2, you could just get it for that.

Considering it only took me two days to play though, some might consider Shadow of Destiny short, but theyíd be wrong. While it does take a small amount of time to play through and beat, the game has four different endings, two of which have different variations, resulting in an actual six endings. Also, there are many different paths and ways you can beat the game, thus prolonging the life the game on your hard drive. The amount of combinations that exist in Shadow of Destiny are almost endless, giving it a high replay value unusual to most adventure games.

At the time of writing this review, I have gotten four out of six endings, and Iím pleased with all of them. Some are sad, some are happy and some are hilarious and ironic. At the end of the game, you get an ďExtrasĒ option at the main menu and selecting it lets you replay any of the ending videos youíve gotten. You can also view a percentage for the amount of things youíve accomplished per chapter. Itís somewhat depressing to see that youíve only completed less than a quarter of things to do. It also makes it almost impossible to get 100% when you canít see your progress while youíre playing.

But thatís just a reminder that there are tons of things to do in shadow of destiny. Iíve read somewhere that if you get 100% on all chapters, you get a bonus quest that has two different endings, which even extends the replay value that much further.

Shadow of Destiny is the very definition of a sleeper hit. I can honestly say I was greatly surprised by this game, and itís probably one of the best adventures Iíve played this year. Iíll be the first to admit most games that come out of Japan arenít my cup of tea, but this one game has proven all of my preconceived notions wrong. A future version of myself must have traveled back in time and whispered in my ear to play this game and you should definitely do the same. Dying in a game has never been so fun.

I give Shadow of Destiny 8 Ĺ wounds out of 10.

Last edited by SakSquash; 08-07-2005 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:21 PM   #2
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Very entertaining review there, Temp. I love it when sarcasm can be used even in a positive review. Did you write those captions for screenshots, too? Was that an A-Ha 80's music video reference on the second one?

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Old 08-07-2005, 05:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artwking4
Very entertaining review there, Temp. I love it when sarcasm can be used even in a positive review. Did you write those captions for screenshots, too? Was that an A-Ha 80's music video reference on the second one?

Hahah thanks. A game could never be too good to escape my sarcasm. As for the second picture, guess you'll never know
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by temporaryscars
As for the second picture, guess you'll never know
That's going to bother me all night. I mean, if it's not A-Ha, I don't really want anyone thinking that I was thinking about A-Ha without proper justification. It would be scandalous!

Anyway, I haven't played the game yet, but it's probably 3rd in line. So, uh.. soon. Sooooooon...
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artwking4
That's going to bother me all night. I mean, if it's not A-Ha, I don't really want anyone thinking that I was thinking about A-Ha without proper justification. It would be scandalous!

Anyway, I haven't played the game yet, but it's probably 3rd in line. So, uh.. soon. Sooooooon...
Trust me, you'll love it. It's a great story, and it has quite a bit of humor in it and is well worth the money you pay.
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Old 08-07-2005, 06:15 PM   #6
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Always wanted to play this one. ROFTL, your comments beneath those screenshots are pure gold.
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Old 08-07-2005, 06:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by samIamsad
Always wanted to play this one. ROFTL, your comments beneath those screenshots are pure gold.
Thanks brah! You should def. check this one out. I bumped it to the head of my "games to play" list.
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Old 08-31-2005, 12:21 AM   #8
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Nice review.
This game is definetely a hidden gem.
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