Shadows 2: Perfidia (Switch) Review
Some of the graphical gimmicks are creative and cool, adding a lot to the atmosphere.
The rumble feature adds a lot to the game’s best jump scares.
Touchy controls lead to a lot of frustrating deaths.
The graphics are so dark that it’s almost totally unplayable in handheld mode.
Have you ever wished that heading downstairs after an office party involved more jump scares and cryptically written notes? Shadows 2: Perfidia, a new survival horror game for Nintendo Switch, might be the game of your dreams. In this game, it’s your job to guide one of two characters through an office building haunted by a supernatural killer. There’s no combat, so survival becomes a matter of running, hiding, and managing your flashlight batteries. This can get tedious, but just as often, the atmosphere and cool set-pieces keep things moving forward.
The limitations of Shadows 2: Perfedia are quickly evident. The graphics aren’t just dark. They make the game almost unplayable. Even with the brightness cranked to its highest level and your character equipped with a light, it’s extremely difficult to see anything in handheld mode in anything but pitch darkness. Docked mode is doable, but it’s still disappointing to lose one of the system’s modes of play to bad lighting. The graphics themselves are also so generic that exploring the office building, at least at first, is very disorienting. The floor layouts don’t change, which makes it easier to get along as you go, but sucks a lot of the fun out of exploration.
The graphics aren’t the game’s only problem. If you get caught by a monster while closing a door, you can also trigger a bug that can’t be fixed without closing and reopening the game. Hit detection is also frustratingly touchy. Grabbing an item or dealing with a door takes a lot of fiddling with the control stick, finding the exact point at which you’re able to interact with the item. Since some doors and furniture need to be moved with split second precision, this gets frustrating quickly.
Despite these issues, this game is not unenjoyable. It does an excellent job of maintaining a creepy atmosphere, thanks to some creepy sound design and good use of the Switch’s rumble feature. There are some genuinely cool set-pieces, too, with your character filming the office on camcorders, using drones, and brandishing a glowing green glowstick. These scenes don’t always make sense within the already sparse story, but they’re enough to keep the game playable and interesting.
There’s only a few hours worth of gameplay here. The story is split between two characters, Joe and Michael, with Joe’s story being an upgraded version of the original release of Shadows 2. Michael’s story is more complex, with a new office layout, some voice acting, and improved graphics. The extra complexity isn’t necessarily an improvement. Dying on the last moment of a floor forces you to redo it from the start. In Joe’s story, the floors are brief enough that this isn’t much bother, but as the game gets more involved, redoing them gets tedious and frustrating, especially when the poor controls are causing your deaths. There are some secret items to collect, too, adding a bit to the game’s value.
It’s hard to say that this is a totally successful game. The game paralyzing bugs and near inability to play in handheld mode are irritating enough without the tedium of redoing entire levels because of a split-second mistake. There is also no option to invert the Y viewing axis which is pretty terrible for a 2019 game. Still, there’s enough interesting elements about this game that it stays playable through its worst moments. Shadows 2: Perfidia is difficult to recommend, but it’s at least rarely boring.
By: Allison Bates