When it comes to action / adventure titles that not only focus on exploration and puzzle solving, but also shooting up an enemy or two, games like Ubisoft’s Tomb Raider series and Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series come to mind. In what is Gameloft‘s most ambitious title to date, Shadow Guardian takes much of its inspiration from these two games while promising to have its own flavor and style to distinguish itself from the competition.
Shadow Guardian has players assuming the role of Jason Cole, which sounds an awful lot like Nathan Drake, as he’s caught in a bad situation. Jason has been captured and is being interrogated. Through the interrogation process, you’ll play through Jason’s story leading up to his capture. The story revolves around two statues that give whoever possesses them unlimited power which Jason is searching for in order to keep them away from Novick, who only wants the power for evil.
The demo began in the 3rd level of the game where we find Jason Cole navigating through a temple by jumping and climbing from location to location. The climbing mechanics look smooth and easy to maneuver from spot to spot. While climbing, it is possible for enemies to attack Jason, so it’s best to dispose of them before maneuvering through the temple. Climbing is assisted with points that protrude from the walls that show the player the path needed in order to progress through the level.
Gameloft states Shadow Guardian is 45% exploration with the rest dedicated to action, so the following level that was demoed showed off how Jason is able to handle himself against a number of adversaries. During combat, Jason is able to take cover, which is vital since Jason can be taken out easily if he is left out in the open. You’ll be able to shoot while taking cover or aim your weapon in order to have a more accurate shot. Jason’s arsenal will include 15 different weapons that he’ll come across through his adventure. Sometimes you’ll need to take down an enemy with your bare hands, which thankfully is as easy as shooting. When you melee attack an enemy, you’ll be given a QTE (quick time event) in order to combat your opponent. If you’re successful, you’ll be able to execute the enemy in over a dozen types on animations depending on your enemy and what kind of weapon they’re carrying.
As I mentioned earlier, Shadow Guardian is Gameloft’s most ambitious title to date. The game is based on a completely new engine that was based off the engine used for Avatar, except the game has 4x more polygons and Jason has over 600 animations. Gameloft says the game should take approximately 4 hours to complete with a number of achievements that require multiple playthroughs which should lengthen the game’s replay value. The game certainly has a lot going for it with it being inspired by Indiana Jones, Uncharted, and Tomb Raider as well as how crisp and detailed the game looks, and hopefully Gameloft delivers on a great exploration gaming experience when Shadow Guardian is released later this month.