Shadows 2: Perfidia
Developed By: MrCiastku and Ice Torch Interactive
Published By: Ultimate Games
Category: Survival Horror
Release Date: 08.06.2019
Horror games are something that I truly enjoy watching others play. I spent lots of time in the Markiplier-era of horror YouTube, and think back fondly on watching him scream like a man-child. However, playing these games myself is an anxiety-inducing mess where a grown man becomes a small child in less time than it took to type this paragraph. I am bad at horror games, because I am always terrified during the playthrough. I never settle in and start to predict as most do, and thus this game was another sweaty experience for me. With that said, the game has its flaws, and for most normal gamers you will find some lulls to the scares as is common once the initial fear passes. Shadows 2: Perfidia is a mix between a classic like Amnesia: The Dark Descent; Unity engine and everything, along with the escape room puzzle solving of a little horror title called Saw. That sounds like the combination of a lifetime, and let me tell you: it’s okay.
This game offers to alternative paths to take on this journey of darkness. You can play through the game as either Michael or Joe, and each route offers a few differences and an all new story for both. Overall, you won’t find a ton of world changing difference as the basic gameplay loop is identical, and the puzzles and scares are the same as well, but the changes come in the form of layout changes in the office building and the story behind these two fellas. Both are security guards for the building, bringing some Five Nights at Freddy’s vibes, and each is trying to escape from the shadow monsters that call this random office building their home. This office must be seriously important, or on a burial ground of some sort, because otherwise it doesn’t really make sense why this place would have such intense things happening. It gets pretty gory.
Progressing through the game is pretty simple. You have puzzles that you must solve as you try to escape the building by taking the elevator down floor by floor. You have 10 floors to get through, and each one gets more intense with the happenings and goriness. Puzzles are not something that will offer a ton of challenge, as “puzzle” is being used quite loosely here. Most of the time you are just finding keys throughout the rooms while avoiding jump scares. You do have the occasional number puzzle, but beyond that you are just walking around looking for items. You also have some rather horrifying acts you must commit at times in order to find keys. Remember I brought up Saw earlier? I’ll leave it at that.
The scares in this one are creepy to say the least and the game uses its atmospheric fear well. Nothing is going to come out at you from left field, though. You have the basics: screams and moans, footsteps, doors rattling, door knobs turning, etc. Beyond that you are just avoiding the actual physical shadow monsters that come running after you from time to time. The mechanic for survival here is anxiety-based for the protagonist. Much like in Amnesia or Layers of Fear where witnessing the activity or gruesome scenes causes the character to have a bit of a breakdown. If you see too much too quickly you will have to start over. For this you close your eyes and allow your character to chill out. This never seemed cheap or was a mechanic that felt like it was out to get you, but it also isn’t a new mechanic and doesn’t really make any large strides from the games that have done it previously.
Cheap mechanics are in place here, however, which really influence how you need to play the game. I call it cheap, but I would also say playing in the way the devs are trying to force you makes for a scarier experience, but most sane humans will want to do the opposite. I am talking about the notorious flashlight with batteries that die mechanic. You find batteries as you wander around, and boy do you not want to run out. The game is already super dark, but having no more juice in your torch makes for an experience in crouching and patting the floor while searching everywhere for another battery to get you by. In order to remedy this you just need to hurry yourself along, which goes against all human instincts in these situations. Nonetheless, rushing through to the endpoints makes the jump scares hit home better, and makes the experience more enjoyable from a player friendly perspective.
One other major negative to having to rush through in order to play with the mechanics is the fact that the game isn’t very long as it is. You have a few hours here between the two playthroughs and not a lot of reason to revisit once you have done that. The puzzles aren’t that interesting, and re-experiencing scares doesn’t really make sense unless you haven’t played for quite some time. Thus a short game becomes shorter in order to ensure you don’t have a bad time.
As I mentioned, the office building is pitch black for a large portion of the game. This is fine, based on your night guard persona, but it is hard to navigate when you run out of battery. You also have a graphics level that doesn’t help itself out much from this point of view. You can re-enter areas fairly frequently without noticing if you aren’t paying attention as the assets are reused quite a lot. You have a lot of the same types of furniture, carpets, walls, and the like, which would match the story, but feels like a cookie cutter experience outside of the more weird things that happen around you.
Shadows 2: Perfidia is a game that has been made before. You have tons of Unity engine examples of titles that have created most of the mechanics that you will see in this game. With that said, it still is a fun game if you are just simply looking to get a good scare. Puzzles are simple, but don’t hinder the scares, and the atmosphere that has been created is truly eerie throughout. Most experienced in the horror genre will probably find the scares fall off pretty quickly, and the game becomes more weird than terrifying, but anyone like me who is a scaredy cat will be thoroughly frightened regardless. Super realism isn’t the name of this horror title, as it is just trying to get you with a few quick jump scares. A decent title overall.
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*The Switch Effect was provided a review code for this game*