Author’s Note: This review was originally published on August 24th, 2007. It was around this time that I started messing with the idea of using “witty” taglines for each section.
My first PlayStation 2 game was Ephemeral Fantasia, a highly underrated RPG that will never get the attention it deserves. Besides the incredible journey it held, there was another thing that I remembered about the game: the instruction manual. On the back of it, you saw a preview for a game called Shadow of Destiny. This game, like EF, was released back in 2002. Now, I finally had the chance to play it. It has an interesting concept, but Shadow of Destiny suffers from being unable to stand the test of time.
Killing Time, Literally
Shadow of Destiny takes place in a small European town. Our hero, Eike Kush, has just finished a relaxing afternoon at the local coffee parlor. Out of nowhere, a shadowy figure stabs Eike in the back. Eike perishes, but wakes up in a distorted area. A mysterious voice informs him that Eike can use a time traveling device called the Digi Pad to go back in time, and make sure he stays alive. Why was he given a second chance at life? Who is this mysterious voice? These questions will slowly be revealed to you.
I really enjoyed the story. It adds a new twist on a rather cliche topic: time travel. While there are plenty of loop holes and questions that do not get answered, it was still interesting to see the true purpose of Eike’s reason of life. The bad thing about the plot are the characters. An interesting story is wrapped around flat, uninspired characters. Eike himself may develop, but the rest of the cast leaves something to be desired.
The Non-Action Action Game
The game play of SoD looks as though it could be an action/adventure game. This is partially true, but there is absolutely no fighting. The game plays out more like a puzzle quest. Shadow of Destiny is divided into chapters. At certain points in the later chapters, you can trigger certain events that will determine which of the multiple endings you’ll see. However, from the start of the game, you basically do the same things. Eike will get killed, then get revived and it is up to you to foil the murderer so he cannot strike twice. You do this by using the Digi Pad, as well as other key items you find, and going back in time. By doing certain things in the past, you can effect the present and ultimately make it so you survive until the next fated hour strikes. If you are you stuck you can go to a fortune teller for hints, or you can perish in order to have the mysterious voice guide you. Regardless, you have a certain time given to you before the fated hour of Eike’s death. If you are in a different time period for too long, Eike will get caught in a time loop and you receive the game over screen. The game play was interesting, but it was also lackluster. I understand that this is a game based more on thinking than anything else, but they could have at least made the puzzles a bit more challenging. Traveling through time was fun, yet also redundant. Often times, you’d have to go back and forth between eras only to find a certain item or person.
Besides running through time, there are plenty of townsfolk to talk with. Usually, they can provide hints for you. If not, they still have interesting things to say. Also, it should be mentioned that the Digi Pad does not come with free use. It uses energy and Eike can find these energy particles laying about the city. Finally, each chapter can be played in various ways. As I said, there are multiple endings for the entire game, and there are also multiple endings to the chapters.
An Old Look At Europe
Remember how I said that this game was released back around 2002? Well, the graphics are proof of that. They’re not bad, but they’re old. The town looks nice, with some well made buildings and objects. The characters are a different story. All of the characters lack the detail and body language that other 3D games have today. However, I give the developers an A for effort. They tried, and for the time it was probably a graphical masterpiece. It’s just by today’s standards, as well as my standards, the graphics need work.
Eike, You Just Got Murdered! Act Like It!
The music that plays in this game is few and far between. Other than the events, the music playing while you run around adds little to the experience. Then again, it gives the game a more realistic feel and adds in a bit of a spooky undertone. What got me was the voice acting. The entire game is voiced, which is somewhat impressive. However, I do not care when a game was made, because no voice acting should be this bad. It was almost as bad as Thousand Arms! All characters sound as though they are bored. But, come on, you’re solving a murder mystery via time travel! Get some character!
Time And Time Again…
The game is very short, lasting only two hours. However, there are various endings and ways to accomplish your goals. You also are able to skip over any scenes you have already watched. Some will play it over to get all of the endings. I only watched a few endings, and then grew tired of it. The game as a whole lacked the staying power to keep me coming back. On paper, the game sounds good. On the console, the game was unable to hold out against some of the more current video games. Still, I recommend at least renting it. Shadow of Destiny, for the time, was a fun game. When talking about the current time, it’s not so fun.