Today is a bank holiday for some of us in France, so you're in for a treat. Because Blim is available in the afternoon, we will be live to explain to you what we thought of Shadow of the Beast on PS4. In the next 30 minutes, you can check out our verdict and direct feed videos inside. Just know that we won't be allowed to show you other levels during the livestream, as we are limited to the first three. That being said, considering there are only 7 of them total, we probably would not have shown more anyway. Update: Livestream replay added.
Shadow of the Beast has its share of qualities,like its art style and the brutality of its world and gameplay. Matt Birch's love for the original orginal game is obvious, even though his studio (Heavy Spectrum) did not just copy/paste the different levels that could be found in the Amiga or Genesis version almost 30 years ago. Sadly, the overall experience is not as satisfying as we hoped it would be, despite the two ways you can approach gameplay. Those who won't have the patience to learn all the combat mechanics and timings will be able to rely heavily on button mashing in most situations, but the shortness of the game will somehow break the spell a little. On the other hand, for those who truly want to master the main character's abilities, get the highest scores and manage to beat the different waves of enemies without getting hit, it will most probably become quite frustrating and disappointing to have only 7 levels to choose from to play over and over again.
The same goes with all the content that can be unlocked thanks to the points you earn when completing a level. It's nice to be able to play the original game, to listen to David Whittaker's soundtrack, etc., but to buy everything, you will need to play the 7 same levels many times over - the last one only being the final boss fight, which is by the way another tribute to an iconic game of the eighties. In the end, Shadow of the Beast never manages to be fully convincing, another reason being that it's sometimes very hard to time blocking and countering properly, unless it's just us. A polarizing game to say the least, which can be extremely fun to play and frustrating at the same time, a game we will mostly recommend to those who don't mind playing the same levels all the time to perfect their skills and unlock all the content. At only 15€, this remake could really have shown, but it will have to remain in the shadow of its own potential. Something which can also be said about the original game after all, because as impressively gorgeous as it was, sublime, it also made most players of the end of the eighties quite frustrated in the end.
On the plus side
+ The art style and the visuals overall
+ The original soundtrack is pretty cool
+ Some effort on the game's background and story
+ Bestial and brutal
+ Some boss fights
+ 60 fps in (almost) every case
+ The two layers of gameplay
+ A game for completionists and scoring fans
+ A tribute to fans by fans
+ Some of the unlockable bonuses
On the downside
- The first boss is cumbersome
- 7 levels is not much for scoring addicts to sink their teeth into
- Short if all you intend to do is complete the game once
- The weight & inertia of the main character in platforming sequences
- Timings aren't always very clear
- Sometimes hard to see what's going on in combat
- Loading times are loooooooong
- The basic endings, shorter than a mini skirt from the sixties
- A Let's Play of the original game among the bonuses, really ?