WARNING: The following review contains images depicting gore that may not suitable for children and/or sensitive individuals!
How far would you go for those you love? What would you be willing to bargain? When nothing is clear, clarity usually can be found hiding in the most traumatic events. In Shame Legacy, you'll learn that nothing and no-one can be trusted.
Will you find what you've been searching for? Or will you end up condemning yourself?
Background & Gameplay
Shame Legacy is an interesting first-person survival-horror game developed by the minds behind Fairyship Games and Revenant Games, and published by Destructive Creations. The game follows the horrific adventure of William, who's desperately searching for his missing daughter. On the way, he'll have to stand against villagers, puzzles and even a demon trying to stop and kill him.
The story begins with William arriving to a strange, yet somehow familiar village where he is greeted by a priest. Confused and suffering from a nasty case of amnesia, he decides to listen to what the priest is telling him and goes off on an exploratory mission to find his missing girl but it won't be long before he himself gets found by the villagers and a really angry demonic presence that seems to have it out for him. What can this mean? Who brought his daughter here? And... what the hell happened in this village to make everyone so upset?
As you run, walk or crawl around the village, you'd encounter letters that will help you understand what exactly is going on around you. The game is heavily influenced by your decision to stealth all the way through or try to be hardcore and run all around the place. But trust me, there are moments when you will have no option but to stealth the heck out of a specific area because, as luck has it, if enemies see you and begin to chase you, you get very annoying and frustrating panic attacks. If you happen to get a panic attack, the enemies will hear your labored breath and it will be game over before you even realize it.
Of course, the game offers you a way to cure your attacks and go back to normal but... there is no real inventory to store these potions and have them handy whenever you need it. As with similar horror games, you will encounter some puzzles that even I, as a Silent Hill and Resident Evil veteran found interesting. The puzzles aren't particularly difficult but more entertaining than anything else. As you progressed, you get a handy cane that will help you unlock doors towards new areas.
I have to admit, the controls for Shame Legacy are something else. I come from being a console gamer switching to pc and I couldn't stand playing with a controller, mostly because during chase scenes you have to be dodging, doing quick-time events, and moving the camera all at the same time. So I'm honestly dumbfounded to know how different the game controls would be for console users.
Not everything is negative though, the game clearly has some interesting ways to get the player involved. Something I loved about the controls was how you'd get to take quick peeks from your hiding places. You'd have to actually move your mouse slightly to take peeks, which I found ingenious. Besides that, controls on keyboard were the basic combinations commonly used in most games.
Early on, you learn that mostly always you'll have two options, to stealth or to run. If you chose to run, be sure you have alternatives and places to hide without villagers following you. You get one chance to fight off a villager but will be left with a panic attack afterwards. These attacks also blur your field of vision, making it harder for you to see your surroundings clearly. If another villager gets you before you're able to drink the potion, it's game over. However, if you're being chased by the demon, your only option is to run in order to escape him.
-Choose how you play. Again, something great in this game is that you have options to be as quiet or loud as you want to be. Or course, being loud comes with serious consequences.
-Puzzles. I applaud that the puzzles had different aspects to them and weren't always the same thing. I also applaud that the difficulty would increase slightly from one puzzle to the next. However, they aren't complex and can be completed without a lot of struggle.
-Great use of sound. Sound is a huge plus in this game and it plays both ways. The sound you, as the character, make and the the sound of the villagers moving around. Paying attention to sound cues is a life saver, literally.
-Too short. Considering you don't die and have to repeat an area, the game is rather short. There's even an achievement for finishing it in under 2 hours. I do understand that this may be because they do expect players to have to repeat areas which can extend gameplay drastically but it left me feeling I needed something more out of the game.
-Anti-climactic ending. After all the running, I felt like the ending didn't give me all the answers I was actually looking for. Everything in the ending felt pressured, pushed somehow to fit a tight schedule. I wanted options, I wanted action, I wanted horror... which wasn't there.
-Just 1 ending. To top it all, you'd think that maybe it's because you got the bad ending for missing something... then you discover that there's actually only one ending so there's no way to do things differently, to change the outcome. So, don't get your hopes up.
(On a scale of 1-5, being 5 the absolute best)
There's so much for me to say about Shame Legacy... where do I even begin? The game did some good things but I felt like it missed out on a lot of opportunities. First and foremost, the graphics confused me. While you had the amazing scenery and a great design for the villagers, you also encountered moments with regular people that looked completely off, like the priest and certain memories. And no, it wasn't because my graphics were on a low setting, in fact everything was on Ultra but it seemed that more effort was just put on the enemies and atmosphere than on other aspects.
Second, the fear factor was missing for me. Dead by Daylight was far scarier than this. Why? I honestly believe that what killed the horror was repetition. You're facing enemies with similar attack patterns that always end up in your face so you get used to it and trust me, it gets old quickly. Even after the game incorporates what I call wailers, that are just damned souls that yell if they see you, the gameplay doesn't change much. Also, tries at jumpscares are mostly predictable or even missed altogether due to the tension of having to run away/hide.
Third, why wasn't inventory a thing? I mean inventory as in having the ability to grab multiple potions and have them available whenever you actually needed them. No, because you had to suffer thru the panic attacks until you located a potion around the area you were currently in and pray no-one saw you quickly after you took it. Sure, I know the game is all about surviving but it felt so frustrating having to run around the same area 4-5 times because someone would grab you or a wailer would scream. I really think not being able to hold on to potions was a miss.
Fourth, as I previously mentioned, you can only defend yourself once against a villager. Once you do, you'll get a panic attack which if you don't cure, and another villager attacks you, will kill you instantly, no chance of defending yourself a second time. So... why wasn't William allowed a weapon of sorts? To leave the player with no option but to stealth and try their best not to get caught. Come on devs, I wanted to bash some heads with a pipe or a bat. Give me a fighting chance here!
Last but not any less important, and this one contains spoilers so skip it if you don't want to know... It REALLY threw me off that there was no final fight or anything similar to it. What kept me going all the time in this game was my perceived idea that I'd finally get a fight at the end of the road and confront William's demons. Imagine my surprise when everything happened as a cinematic and I had no active part in it? I was angry and frustrated beyond belief.
Would I recommend it? If you don't mind a flat story and a repetitive gameplay, sure. If you want to try and test your stealth skills, then by all means give this game a try. If you're the type of person who plays horror games on mute, then I wouldn't recommend it since sound is a must. However, to those hardcore horror freaks like me, the game may just feel like it's missing the mark. In the end, the decision to try it is entirely up to you. Will you help William uncover the mysteries that haunt him or would you let the demon win once again?
For more information, you can also visit the official page here