Shadwen is just disappointing
Just disappointing cause Shadwen has nothing special or interesting going for itself like FrozenByte’s other games. But what the heck is Shadwen you might ask? Well, it’s a 3rd person stealth “action” game where you play as the titular lady assassin, Shadwen.
There’s not much story and frankly I couldn’t care less even if there was. Your job is to assassinate the king, the why, I don’t know. Along your journey to reach the top of the castle, you save this little, maybe orphan, girl name I forgot. So you’re “stuck” with this little girl throughout the entire game and she is a key component to the gameplay. What I mean is that you have to carve out a safe path for her before she starts moving. No, don’t worry it’s not an escort type game where you have to worry about her wellbeing or whatnot, she can take care of herself.
So you are presented with this choice, you can either assassinate every guard or distract them so the little girl can reach and open the doors for you to progress through the game. I however decided to murder everyone on my path and I found it surprisingly satisfying. I say surprisingly cause the gameplay kinda sucks, traversing sucks, stealth is OK, I guess, and the grappling hook mechanic is broken and utter rubbish. Now to be honest, I got my hands on Shadwen as soon as I finished Uncharted 4 and we all know the rope/grappling hook mechanic there was fu*king stellar along with everything else, so my expectations were kinda high and very unrealistic taking in consideration the indie status of Shadwen.
Anyway, I liked stabbing the guard in the back or jump stab them even though it was the same two or three animations every time. And maybe that is cause the game was really easy. See every mission consists in two or three “large” areas with guards patrolling, think the predator scenarios of the Batman Arkham games. But unlike the Batman games, in Shadwen you do not have the extensive arsenal of gadgets or moves Batman has. You have a couple of rudimentary gadgets you can craft like a mine or a sticky bomb, but how the scenarios or encounters are set up in the game do not allow you to use these items creatively even though it makes total sense in your mind to just stick a bomb on a box and push said box on top of a group of enemy to kill them, nope, it doesn’t work.
The only item I used was a distraction ball thingy that rolled around and well, distracted the guards so I could stab them, but even that wasn’t really necessary. There is this gimmick in the game, where time moves only when you move. On top of this, there is no fail state, if a guard sees you you can just rewind time back and try again and again as many time as you want. The AI is pretty stupid, so let’s just say it. So you can just run around stab the same three guards in the back or jump on top of them AC style and three to four hours later you are done with the game. That’s it, that’s all of what Shadwen has to offer which is kinda disappointing to me knowing what these devs have crafted before.
Yes we can argue that you can try and play the game without killing the guards, just distracting them, and well, I can give it to you that it might be more of a challenge, but nobody ain’t got time for that. I finished the game in one sitting and I didn’t want to start all over again, go through the same boring, very dark and extremely uninspiring copy pasted environments, I just couldn’t. And as much as it pains me to say so, this was not what I was expecting from the amazing guys at Frozenbyte and I can’t really recommend the game to anyone. Thanks for reading. Also we don’t do review scores anymore from now on.