Shadows of the Damned First Impressions
Shadows of the Damned is one big, long, juicy dick joke. Wait, what?
I’m sorry, it’s just that its pottymouth crass humor is infectious. Recent public outcry of vulgar games would have you think that we’ve all ‘grown up’ and can’t take a good inappropriate joke anymore, but the critical reception of Shadows of the Damned has shown us that this isn’t the case. Shadows of the Damned may just be the most juvenile thing I’ve played since Bulletstorm, but damn does the game put a smile on my face.
Let’s put it this way: Shadows of the Damned is if you took Adventure Time and made it punk and inappropriate. It has the same type of random nonsensical humor delivered with a joyous, confident attitude. In that sense, Shadows of the Damned feels rejuvenating in that it requires a distinct suspension of disbelief, one kind that allows you to buy into its weird non sequitur world and its eccentric rules. The real world need not apply to Garcia Fucking Hotspur. He finds his girlfriends in dumpsters behind the Dime-A-Dozen supermarkets and he saves his games via one-eyed pooping bats. Don’t try to make sense of it pendejo, just go with it.
If Vanquish was an exersize in action and feeling, Shadows of the Damned is an exercise in style. Which isn’t to say its gameplay is lacking, but the real star of the show is the absurdity of the demon world, of Garcia’s life. So much so that, even though underneath the hood Shadows of the Damned does nothing special–those who have played Resident Evil 4 will feel right at home with SOTD–the leather jacket that Shinji Mikami and Suda51 put on those mechanics makes it seem fresh anyway, and that’s a feat onto itself. I will, however, quickly make note of Johnson, Garcia’s gun and obvious dick metaphor. The weight and pop of Johnson’s shots feels rhythmic and grounded; just plain shooting him feels good in the Gears of War cadence kind of way. Uh, let’s not think about the fact that I just said it feels good and that Johnson is a dick metaphor. That never happened? That never happened.
It’s not all undead and strawberries in Shadows of the Damned thus far, though. The back of the box says that it’s a ‘twisted, psychological action thriller.’ I’ve yet to see any of the ‘psychological’ parts to the game–there’s a brief flash of it at the beginning, when you’re first discovering Paula’s abduction, but after that, the closest thing is the appearance of Paula comically running through alleys and corners. I wonder if her and Alice, Alan Wake’s wife, are friends? I’d like to think that weird marionettes like them could get along, share stories of what they’ve put their significant other through, maybe laugh about it in a creepy, ‘who the fuck animated me’ kind of way? Oh, tangents.
Anyway, normally this might’ve bothered me if I gave a rat’s ass about Paula (or if the game was as serious as Alan Wake tried to be), but I don’t. I’m in it for the ride, and I suspect that Garcia is, too, considering that we never really get a sense (so far) of why he’s going through hell for this woman. So, this other part of the back of the box I will concede: this is ‘one hell of a trip’ so far.