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Exploring the Vicious Combat in Shadow of the Beast

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Exploring the Vicious Combat in Shadow of the Beast

Hi everyone, I’m so grateful to have the chance to write this blog post, as I get to talk about a subject close to my heart — gameplay!

I recently got a chance to sit down with James Hawkins, XDev executive producer at Sony, and record us playing a bit of the game as we discuss some of the gameplay design.

Exploring the Vicious Combat in Shadow of the Beast

Our game has quite a few different facets to the experience, from platforming and puzzles to the intricacies of combat. We want players to have a varied challenge — after all, learning and mastering the skills to beat the game are a large part of the fun.

Of course, we appreciate that some players want to enjoy the world and would prefer to be able to take a slightly more laid-back approach, so we’ve added a beginner option to make that possible too — but to see anything beyond the most basic ending you’ll have to really sink your teeth into the game!

One key area as you progress through the game is the Wisdom of Shadows that allows you to buy upgrades, new special moves, and talismans that can be equipped to enable new strategies. To access these items you’ll need to hunt down secrets hidden throughout the levels to unlock them, and then purchase them with Mana gained through demonstrating your skills in the game — primarily by scoring well in combat!

The heart of combat is simple: enemies come in from the left or right and you have to defeat them. Most of your attacks will destroy them with one hit. It’s straightforward to understand but the depth in the formula quickly becomes apparent as different enemies respond differently to your various attacks, and have different methods and timing of their own attacks — not to mention getting faster as they approach.

Shadow of the Beast on PS4Shadow of the Beast on PS4

As you go deeper into the levels you’ll have to start watching enemies very closely to defeat them unscathed, and once multiple types of enemies are mixed together you’ll really have to stay on your toes! Keep in mind that your moves take time to execute, so once enemies start getting a little faster you’ll have to think about the enemy coming at you from behind while you’re executing your move on the enemy in front. Once things get even more hectic you’ll need to start planning for the enemies behind the enemies you’re attacking!

Luckily you have a huge range of options available to you: basic attacks, counters, stun, throws, special attacks, evades, dodge rolls, the Wrath of Aarbron, Rage Chains, and — most importantly –the oft-overlooked but oh-so-important block button! When you master them, many of these moves have “perfect windows” in their timing as well that can grab you extra points.

The combo multiplier in particular is critical — it is applied to every kill so if you can get a really big multiplier then this can reward you with massive scores. But be super-careful — taking damage (or using a Rage Chain) will reset your combo multiplier back to one. Scoring big starts with not getting hit, and for that reason the most fundamental skill is learning to block effectively.

It’s so nice to talk about the game design! I hope it will prove helpful for players who decide to pick up Shadow of the Beast, and particularly anyone who decides to unlock all the different endings and aim for Platinum ranks in all the fights on Beast mode!

Shadow of the Beast Theme

Please be sure to pre-order your copy of Shadow of the Beast today in order to secure your limited edition dynamic Theme featuring a brand new original creature designed by acclaimed artist Roger Dean! Roger was the creator of the cover art for the original Shadow of the Beast game and its sequel, so it’s a massive honor to have him revisit the universe with our game.

Thanks again for your interest — it is genuinely appreciated.

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21 Comments

  • ZombieRollz

    This video sold me on the game. I wasn’t too sure if this was a combat only game, since that is what I usually see when I see gameplay, but it is good to see that puzzles, exploring, and story are a big part too. Also it’s good that you broke down the combat. I see that it will require some technique, which is really cool!

  • TrueAssassin86x

    Got my pre-order in as soon as it want live i cant wait for and for only 20.00$ Its a steal. My May well be busy and all with Uncharted 4, This and Mirrors Edge Catalyst but it will be well worth it :) i was really to pay the full sixty but twenty dollars was a nice surprise

  • Can’t wait to rack up the kill points.

  • This is one of the reasons I bought a PS4 at launch. Really excited to finally get my hands on it.

    • Mark O'Connor
      Mark O'Connor

      Not long now, pre-ordering is the first step, also nets you the Roger Dean created dynamic theme for free!!

  • I really hope there is a remix, reimagining, or at least homage to the incredible music of the original game. At the time, it was absolutely mind-blowing, and that soundtrack has haunted my memory for all these many years since playing the original SotB.

  • Oh alright, I will pre-order it. Was gonna just wait until release, but if I can get a Dynamic Theme out of it I might as well.

    The game looks beautiful and the combat satisfying, I’m in. Really appreciate that the enemies vary from level to level.

    • Mark O'Connor
      Mark O'Connor

      We have really put a lot of effort into the enemies and each have slightly different strategies on how to defeat them and more importantly how to get the best score. We think this helps the game feel fresh and keeps the player on their toes, having to think one or two moves ahead in order to stay on top….can’t wait for you all to check this out!!!

  • CrusaderForever

    Easy D1 buy for me. I played the original version on the Atari Lynx and thought it was good. This however looks like it’s going to be spectacular. I learned a lot about the game from that video. It has cemented my purchasing decision in your favor! Thanks for all the hard work. Can’t wait to play it. Uncharted 4 and Shadow of the Beast round out my May!

  • Definitely interested in this. There’re so many things in May I can’t promise I’ll get around to it right away… but definitely interested.

    Shadow Complex. Uncharted 4. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. Grand Kingdom beta. TMNT…

    and June is even worse…

    Gotta say though… I much prefer the problem of too many exciting games to play over the problem we had last year when there were virtually none!

  • So excited for this game. I preordered it instantly when I saw it in the psn store. The free theme that comes with it is so freaking cool.

  • This is going to be a day one but for sure! The gameplay looks like a lot of fun and I’ve been anticipating this for a long time.

  • Can you imagine if this game was made gow 3d style

  • please tell me there is a way to turn off the HUD! all those numbers flying around looks ugly and distracting.. i was all in for this game until i saw these numbers and words during combat. 1st i thought its a challenge mode but now i realize i was Wrong, Please tell me we can turn all the distracting stuff off and im in for a pre-order along a few friends. Cant wait for this and Alienation

    • Mark O'Connor
      Mark O'Connor

      Yes, there are 3 settings for the HUD overlay, so players can choose exactly what levels of information they want to see.

  • SuperiorRocket

    I’m really excited for this, I will pre-order. Are you guys using Unreal Engine?

  • Any news on the music? The original game have some really haunting music.

  • andymortalkomba1

    I’m COMPLETLY late in saying this comment. Anyways.

    Right when Shadow of the Beast became live in the PSN store I went and IMMEDIATLY pre-ordered it for just $20.00.

    I got my PS4 theme and it looks very awesome!! The background music sounds adventurous and shadowy ( ;) ) . And I even got supper surprised that the theme has video game animation!

    There are parts in the theme where the big robot, squid mustaches (don’t know the name of those, sorry…) would chase the enemies and would sniff the screen while looking at you.

    The game will be available for pre-downloading in May 15, 2016. Which will be a Sunday.

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