I'm all for bringing back games from the past and Shadow Man Remastered is one that I didn't expect but it's here and that's quite cool.
I remember back when Shadow Man released as it was advertised in all of the gaming magazines that I read but it scared me because the guy on the cover had his ribcage sticking out and he was holding a skull. Now, I think that's totally radical so I guess I grew up. Anyway, this brand new remaster of it for current consoles does an excellent job of modernizing the visuals with a widescreen presentation and smooth frame rate while leaving the core experience intact. When I started playing it, I couldn't see a darn thing so I shot my guns everywhere in the hopes of lighting up the corridors for a brief moment with every blast. However, I soon discovered the gamma correction setting and after cranking that sucker up all the way, it became a much easier to navigate game. No more squinting for me! v1d30chumz 34-231-247-88
With that out of the way, Shadow Man Remastered stars a fellow named Michael LeRoi but he's no ordinary bloke as he has the ability to travel between the land of the living and the land of the dead. He's on a mission to recover 120 Dark Souls before an evil entity known as Legion does. Along the journey, you'll meet interesting characters who range from comic relief to nefarious and the bosses are particularly memorable with 5 serial killers who double as Legion's henchmen being the stand-outs. I enjoyed the voice acting and the cutscenes are edited to keep conversations sharp and informative which is something that I wish I could say about more modern games.
Another aspect of Shadow Man Remastered that I wish I could say about more games nowadays is that it features a striking game world that a ton of attention to detail went into while maintaining a pitch-perfect atmosphere from start to finish. The developers clearly had a vision and saw it through while fleshing out the world with plenty of subtle details. It's unique and immersive stuff for sure.
When it comes to gameplay, Shadow Man Remastered is what you would expect from a late '90s action adventure game as you traverse 3D environments and shoot at an assortment of demonic enemies. With that in mind, the controls definitely have not aged well as you have to line jumps up perfectly and even though there's some automation to Michael's aiming, you'll still miss plenty of foes that you shoot at which can be annoying. You'll also dodge with expert timing which would negate damage in any modern game but here, you'll still suffer if you get hit in mid-dodge. The controls aren't completely terrible, though; they just take a long time to get used to and even after you get comfortable with them for the most part, you'll still regularly get snagged by one form of clunkiness or another.
On the plus side, I thoroughly enjoyed Shadow Man Remastered's open-ended campaign that provides very little guidance. That's right; I actually appreciate when games don't treat me like an idiot and hold my hand until the end credits roll. This makes exploring its intricate and massive environments a treat, especially when you unlock fast-travel points, discover secrets, and enhance your powers. Speaking of which, Michael has a wide array of weapons to unlock and he'll also get more powerful at certain Dark Souls thresholds so watching his capabilities expand is super-rewarding. With that in mind, it's very easy to get lost as there's no useful map so you'll often reach points where you wander around aimlessly without making any progress. It's the sort of game where following a guide is necessary at times.
Back to the controls; you really have to be careful no matter what you're doing or else you may perish due to some accidental slip-up. For example, if you're not cautious while grabbing ledges, you may jump backwards to your death instead of lift yourself over the ledge. Meanwhile, whenever enemies take a swipe at you and knock you into a death pit, it's hard not to want to throw your controller. With all of that in mind, there's a certain addictive quality to Shadow Man Remastered that I think is due to its captivating game world where it's hard to quit playing no matter how frustrated you are as you'll constantly want to see what scenarios you'll discover next.
Shadow Man Remastered is a tough game to pin down because it features a brilliant game world that remains as immersive as it is sinister but it's also full of old-school baggage which makes it difficult to wholeheartedly enjoy in contemporary times.
- + Unique and striking game world that a lot of love has clearly gone into
- + Enjoyable open-ended campaign
- + Enhancements make progression rewarding
- - Controls are pretty clunky for the most part
- - Some moments are maddening
- - It's exceptionally easy to get lost