EGX 2022, a convention as lively as a bear on a rampage. The lights and sounds of games being played filled the air with a sense of excitement. It was like last night at the circus; standing in the middle of it, I felt like the circus master. I took my seat at an unassuming game, Shadows of Doubt, surrounded by vines that crept up the sides of the booth like… vines.– Me (trying to be a film-noir PI)
Ok, now I’ve got the ‘PI monologue’ out of my system, I can say that one of the most jaw-droppingly detailed games I got my hands on was Shadows of Doubt. From ColePowered Games and published by Fireshine Games comes a detective stealth game like nothing I’ve played before.
In a sci-fi noir city that could be ripped from the pages of Frank Miller, you embark on an assignment to catch a serial killer. By any means necessary. The game is set in a fictional, hyper-industrialised 1980s city where the police outsource work. You take the role of one of these outsourced contractors in an assignment to catch a killer.
Shadows of Doubt Gameplay
What makes this game stand out is how much you can explore. It’s literally everything. Every building, every room, every NPC, pretty much every single item. It’s astonishing. The game has a main storyline and many side-quests that can earn you extra cash. This cash comes in handy for buying new gear, upgrading your office and apartment, and more. As I traversed through the city, which is totally free-roam, I found myself in shops, other people’s homes, and on the streets. I felt like a real noir private detective and almost broke into one of those ‘the rain beat down on the sidewalk’ monologues.
You can break into buildings, hack computers, and steal items all as part of your investigation. Just be sure to be stealthy and don’t get caught or you’ll find yourself under attack! As you find clues, and build up your investigation, notes and details are added to your journal as a ‘murder board’, and files of clues start to lead you to new areas, new paths of investigation, and new suspects to talk to.
If this wasn’t impressive enough, every single NPC has a life. They have apartments, jobs, routines, favourite things to do and places to go, and people to interact with. Their lives will continue without you, when you uncover this information, it will play into the secrets of this dark and stormy city. With a blend of procedural generation and hand-crafted design, I have never experienced a world so genuinely alive. Because of this, every game experience should feel unique, but not so totally random. This is open world simulation at the next level.
With elements of RPG, you can level up your skills and become more proficient in stealth techniques. The game played well when I got used to the controls and I was able to navigate the world, journal, and menus easily.
Shadows of Doubt has Atmosphere…
Graphically, the art style reminds me of older FPS and RPG games, and I didn’t have a problem with this. The atmosphere is really developed though in the sound effects and music. Blending a perfect film-noir soundtrack with sounds of a city, and rain, you could immerse yourself fully.
My gameplay session went well… until I accidentally stole something and ended up having to kill two citizens that retaliated. I’ll need to work on my stealth skills before jumping back in!
Release and Availability
With no firm release date, I hope it’s not a long wait for Shadows of Doubt. The game will be available on PC, and you can wishlist it on Steam now!