I don’t know what it is about horror games that draw me to them like a drunk guy to a taco bell at 2 am. I think it comes from a deep-seated feeling that I love the idea of getting scared by entertainment. The problem I have is that it is very hard to scare me, including via random jump scares, as it really takes a lot to make physically jump. That being said, I like to get my hands on as many horror related things as possible, from games to movies and everything in-between. When my editor received Shadows 2: Perfidia, he knew that this was a game which would be right up my alley.
I went into this with a little bit of hesitation and an open mind as its not the most graphically advanced game I had ever seen when it comes to the genre. However, I’m glad that I played this on my Nintendo Switch as the smaller screen helped hide some of the imperfections whilst also amplified the initial horror aspect due to the screen being rather close to my face, rather than simply playing it on my TV in the distance. The question is, was this indie horror game enough to raise my heart rate and blood pressure? Let’s take a look…
The story of Shadows 2: Perfidia changes slightly based upon which character you decide to play as. You have the choice of either Michael or Joe, each starting in a different location but the plot of the game is essentially the same. The office building where both protagonists work has just had a leaving party for Michael, where the guys drank a few beers, ate a semi-dry cake and scoffed some half-melted ice cream from the local grocery store. They had a great time! It is the end of the night and as either Michael or Joe, you are getting ready to leave and go home when shenanigans start to happen.
Initially, the spooks and scares aren’t that bad, you’ll hear noises which sounds like footsteps as they creep up to you and stop as you turn around to see if anyone has been following you. However, this doesn’t last long as you’ll soon begin to see ghostly apparitions in your peripheral vision and hear some rather horrific noises all around you. As with games such as >Observer_, Outlast, and Layers of Fear 2, you can’t ‘fight’ the strange creatures which are out for your blood, instead, you must invade their advances and literally run circles around them as you try your hardest to get out of the building alive. It doesn’t take long for the tomfoolery to escalate to something much more insidious than it initially appears to be.
The goal of the game is as simple as simple can be. You’re in a high rise tower and all you need to do is escape the building. Sounds simple, right? Of course not! Each floor needs to be explored so that you can find the key to the elevator which allows you to descend one floor – who designed this elevator? Between you and those keys are shadow monsters and other ghostly jumpscare jerks that want you to die. Also, the more you play, the more your character will start to lose their mind (which can be felt by the vibrations of your controller), but if you close your eyes or drink an energy drink then you’ll find your composure and you can continue your journey – if only everything in life could be resolved by grabbing a can of Red Bull or Monster Energy!
The problem is though, you can close your eyes all day but if a monster is running towards you, you need to make like a banana and split! Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there, but relaxing every once in a while does help you stabilise your heart rate and reduce your insanity. There isn’t any Ghostbusters backpacks or holy water to aid your defence, your only means of safety is to hide as quickly as you can.
I mentioned above that I’m very hard to spook, I can usually play through a horror-themed game and not jump once, even though some of the imagery may creep me out at times. However, despite being a small indie title, Shadows 2: Perfidia caught me off guard a number of times with its well-timed jump scares and ‘run like hell’ moments. Although, one of the negatives I have for the game is that it all feels very repetitive as you descend between the various floors. Don’t get me wrong, I know that in a real office building, each floor is usually identical in design, but I would have loved a more psychological horror aspect where the further you descend, the more fantastical and twisted the floors became within your troubled mind. Even playing as the alternative character didn’t really seem to change much of the gameplay or the layouts you’ll be working your way through.
Shadows 2: Perfidia was an interesting game to play because there was a lot of good things which I really enjoyed, yet there was a number of negative aspects as well. You can clearly see that the developers wanted to make an interesting and scary game, which I feel was accomplished perfectly as they managed to make me jump a few times even though I’m almost immune to jump scares at this point! The graphics do feel a bit dated, although the small screen of the Switch does help to hide this a little, and although the enemies terrify you as you’re being chased, they do look rather funny if you see a still image of them.
If you’re looking for photo-realism, Next-Gen visuals and an amazingly deep story, Shadows 2: Perfidia isn’t the game you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking for a rather simplistic game which will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to avoid the freakish beings who want to see you dead, all whilst running around a pitch-black office building with a rather silly elevator procedure, then check it out today! But be warned, it may make you jump when you’re least expecting it…