I never give up an opportunity to check out new and upcoming horror games, especially survival ones, as it’s my favorite genre of all time. Fortunately, my prayers were answered by indie developers Fairyship Games and Revenant Games with their latest project, Shame Legacy. This first-person survival horror game promised a captivating blend of stealth and puzzle mechanics, which sounded perfect to me. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize just how disappointing the overall game turned out to be, leaving me feeling the weight of its shameful legacy.
In the current landscape of survival horror games, it has become a common occurrence for them to rely on clichéd narratives that involve amnesia and some form of malevolent entity. Unfortunately, Shame Legacy does very little to deviate from this formula.
The game thrusts you into the role of a man named William, who awakens in a 19th-century cultist village with no memory of his past. As he attempts to unravel the mysteries surrounding his situation, he finds himself relentlessly pursued by a fiery demonic figure and tormented by possessed villagers. Although the story takes its time to develop, even when it reaches its core, there is nothing particularly remarkable about it. Throughout the game, you’ll likely find yourself struggling to comprehend the events unfolding, leaving you uncertain about what exactly is happening.
One of the most frustrating aspects of Shame Legacy lies in its poorly designed gameplay loop. Essentially, the game can be described as a combination of a walking simulator, stealth, and puzzle-solving segments. However, it is the stealth portions that are particularly problematic. The mechanics heavily rely on crawling and hiding, which quickly becomes tiresome and repetitive.
The game introduces a noise mechanic, where crouching, walking, or sprinting generates sound that can attract demented villagers to your location. If you happen to be spotted, you have no chance of outrunning the enemies, resulting in certain death most of the time. There is a specific item in the game that grants you a one-time opportunity to defend yourself through a strangely implemented quick-time event sequence. However, after executing this defense once, you inexplicably enter a panic attack mode, rendering you defenseless if caught again, unless you find medicine to calm yourself down.
While I understand the intention behind this mechanic, it fails to work effectively in this context. Your pursuer quickly recovers from the encounter and resumes the chase, making it nearly impossible to find a moment of respite. As a result, the mechanic becomes more frustrating than engaging, undermining the overall gameplay experience.
“Shame Legacy includes mandatory chase sequences that ultimately feel pointless and predictable.”
The AI pathing in Shame Legacy is abysmal, leading to constant frustration as even the slightest mistake can result in being spotted. The game provides hiding spots such as sheds and boxes, but they prove practically useless since the game prevents you from entering them once you have alerted the villagers. Furthermore, these hiding spots are conveniently located in areas where enemies never roam, rendering them ineffective.
To compound matters, the lack of a manual save feature forces you to endure a cycle of dying and reloading old autosaves repeatedly. It feels as if the game deliberately tries to increase annoyance by incorporating nearly invisible sound traps that alert enemies, along with a special type of crucified enemy that serves the same purpose. These elements only serve to heighten the already infuriating experience.
Adding to the frustration, the game includes mandatory chase sequences that ultimately feel pointless and predictable. The motivation behind why a monster is pursuing you remains unclear, leaving you to simply accept the need to run away without a proper explanation.
Puzzle-solving is arguably the most enjoyable aspect of this game, as it presents some truly mind-bending challenges. However, even in this regard, most of the puzzles end up being convoluted and unnecessarily confusing. Many of them involve scouring your immediate surroundings for clues to unlock doors or activate statues. It often becomes a game of trial and error, exacerbated by the fact that important elements blend into the environment without clear visual cues.
This lack of highlighting objects and items of interest means you’re left searching every nook and cranny to progress. I encountered this grievance early on when I found a box of matches with no apparent use until I painstakingly searched the entire area multiple times to discover a spider web to set ablaze.
“The game is truly a shame.”
I’ve always questioned why certain games command a higher price on consoles compared to PC, as I fail to see any justification for Shame Legacy costing a whole $10 more on PS5 than on Steam. Is it due to improved performance on consoles or additional content? As this is not the case in this instance.
I cannot speak for the PC performance, but on PlayStation 5, Shame Legacy runs below average, plagued by excessively long load times and frequent screen tearing. Furthermore, it offers no additional content compared to its PC counterpart. It’s also important to note that the game lacks accessibility and difficulty options.
In terms of visuals, the game falls short as well, with many environmental assets and characters appearing static and blurry. Considering the game only provides around 2-3 hours of content, charging US$35 / AU$52.95 seems exorbitant for an experience of this quality.
While Shame Legacy is not completely unplayable, it undeniably falls short and proves to be a letdown due to its frustrating mechanics, lack of content, subpar performance, and high price tag. If you find yourself yearning for a survival horror game and the premise of Shame Legacy holds some allure, my recommendation would be to exercise patience and wait for several patches and a substantial discount. Even with the addressed pain points, this game remains a cliché and bad horror experience. It’s truly a shame.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PlayStation 5, code was provided by the Publisher.
Shame Legacy Review
Shame Legacy is a bad survival horror experience filled with frustrating mechanics, bad performance, and a scary price tag.