STAFF REVIEW of Shapeshifting Detective, The (Xbox One)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018.
by Kirsten Naughton

Shapeshifting Detective, The Box art Ever since I reviewed 'The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker' back in June, I was hooked to the idea of a full motion murder mystery video game. D'Avekki Studios proved that they can deliver a fantastic experience for those looking for a great story and characters that you'll remember for months. To this day, I'll recommend anything attached to D'Avekki Studios.

Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing their newest game 'The Shapeshifting Detective'. Trust me when I say you're not going to be disappointed. As you may know, I am a firm believer in not spoiling the main story. Of course the story is one of the key elements of the game, but I'll give you a very small portion just to give you an idea.

You are a detective named “Sam”, and you've been hired to find out who killed a young lady in August. While on your journey, you meet several people within a guesthouse you're staying at. Simply, you must question and figure out who the murderer is. There's one really cool feature that throws a 'twist' into the gameplay though, and it is one of the highlights of the game. It relates to your character, and I feel it is one of the highlights of The Shapeshifting Detective. This ability will make it a little bit easier to find the murderer.

So, what is this ability? Well, Sam can 'shapeshift' into anyone that they've met during your time playing the game. All you have to do is go to your room in the guesthouse and choose the character you want to change into. Now, there are some benefits and risks to this ability.

One benefit in being able to shapeshift into other characters is that you really do learn what other characters actually feel. As Sam, you may only be able to get some small information out of the person you're questioning, but then question them as their best friend and ask a similar question and you may get a different answer completely. I wish I had the shapeshifting ability sometimes!

The only real negative of having such an awesome ability is that you can't let the characters know you're actually Sam while you are 'shapeshited' into someone else. You must do everything in your power to keep your cover. The game's actors have once again outdid themselves. I am thrilled that Aislinn De'Ath was in The Shapeshifting Detective, and she is easily my favourite. She, along with her fellow actors, portrayed their characters flawlessly.

I feel like the actors in The Shapeshifting Detective are the core of the gameplay, as they were in Doctor Dekker. This time around though, I felt a range emotions that I didn't feel in Doctor Dekker. I felt scared when the cut scenes played, as they had me sitting at the edge of my bed with my heart racing a little because I didn't know what was happening next. I felt like a true detective when I had to go back and forth to different characters asking follow up questions trying to get the truth.

I feel the reason I felt so many emotions was because of the many environments provided while playing, as it's a pretty fast paced game, especially when you progress to the next chapter. You also get a variety of different scenes and places to visit. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were so many different rooms where the game played out. It was great to see that the gameplay wasn't limited to a single room the whole time.

The opening scenes to the new chapters are usually pretty intense. Radio August usually comes up and gives a live update. Every actor puts their heart and soul into their performances and you won't get bored listening to them because they don't miss a beat.

The gameplay is pretty similar to Doctor Dekker except for the main menus, as they have a different layout, and there's what I call a “travel” menu where you can go visit other places. As I said earlier, you can choose to go to your room and shapeshift into another character, or stay as Sam. You ask characters questions in the hopes of opening up more of the story, but you have to be careful what you say. If you ask the wrong question, or upset the character, it may end the conversation all together. While you need your information, it's important to do it strategically.

You should learn what the characters do and don't like, switch to other characters, ask questions, and find out different things that you wouldn't learn if you were someone else that questioned them. It's all about who you can get to talk. That's the main reason why I love The Shapeshifting Detective. I love finding out what secrets the characters are keeping. I love learning about them and what they think of one another. They all have their own personalities that you can learn rather quickly what kind of person they will be.

Overall, The Shapeshifting Detective is well worth its price. I feel like I've said this before, but the actors, the story, and the gameplay are the key elements. Without one, the others would suffer. D'Avekki Studios and Wales Interactive should be proud. Once again, they have blown me away, and now I'm sitting here wondering when the next game is coming. I don't usually get attached to games, but when studios make a genuine effort in hiring quality actors, creating an outstanding environment, and think about the player's experience, I can't ignore that. The Shapeshifting Detective has several avenues in regards to how the story could end. I've already played a few times to see this!

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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