Review – Shame Legacy

In a year where our resident horror game reviewer has aptly named “the quintessential revival of the genre’s relevance”, with phenomenal titles like the remakes of Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space, as well as promising upcoming titles like Layers of Fear and Amnesia: The Bunker, Shame Legacy was destined to be compared unfavorably to them. Between the pedigree of its publisher, somewhat quiet pre-launch buzz, and the high standards set by other games released over the past five months, odds weren’t in its favor. I was delighted to find out that Shame Legacy was not a hot pile of garbage, however, though that doesn’t mean it particularly wowed me, either. It just ended up being massively alright.

Shame Legacy stealth

Bog-standard stealth, with the occasional chance to fend off against ONE assailant with your pimp cane.

Shame Legacy follows a familiar pattern seen in most mid-tier horror games. You wake up with no recollection of where you are, or why you are in said place to begin with, but everybody and their mother want to kill you, from mad cultists, to a priest who looked like the male version of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady from SNL, to a demon made out of pure fire who screams at you with the same voice acting chops as a dad pretending to be monster running after his kids. You are constantly talking to yourself, complaining about the situation you’re in. In short, your classic amnesiac horror protagonist trope, stuck in a somewhat uninteresting, but far from terrible plot.

What was bothering me was the fact that the game was constantly reminding me of another loathsome horror game released years ago: Outlast 2. That game may have had excellent graphics and presentation, but as a horror game, or a game itself, it was loathsome. It was terrible. Furthermore, it was released alongside Resident Evil VII, which shared a similar setting, but allowed you to actually fend off against enemies, making the experience way scarier as a result. I was afraid (but not in the ideal manner for a horror game) that Shame Legacy was going to be a fully-fledged Outlast clone. A walking simulator with some stealth and annoying, unbeatable enemies. That wasn’t the case. There were some good ideas thrown into the mix, though not enough to make it stand out.

Shame Legacy

First and foremost, you need some URGENT pedicure. Like, jeez.

Sure, for the most part, you are still forced to sneak past a bunch of cultists who seemingly have abnormal levels of strength and stamina whenever they get a hold of you (either that or your character is just one frail son of a b****), but you will eventually get a hold of a staff, which looks more like a pimp cane than anything else, which can be used as a defensive mechanism. You can not, however, use it to attack enemies. All you can do is partake on a small QTE if you get caught whilst wielding said cane. You will be able to defeat ONE enemy, at the cost of giving you a panic attack. If you cannot find a vial of medicine, your next encounter will be fatal. There’s not a lot of logic behind it, but it gives you an opportunity to get away with one mistake, making the game a little bit less frustrating.

Shame Legacy gore

“It’s a bit uncomfortable at first, but it does wonders to your back”

Shame Legacy comes alive whenever it gives you a puzzle to solve. It’s not a lot, but the sole fact it gives players an opportunity to test their brains with simple but inventive puzzles instead of having to sneak past some lunatics already makes it less annoying than a lot of its peers. Sadly, the game is short and devoid of replayability, so once you solve the handful of puzzles thrown at you, that’s mostly it.

One thing that equally impressed me and disappointed me about Shame Legacy was its presentation. Games like this usually suffer with poor visuals and framerates, but that wasn’t exactly the case. Sure, the fact the game is stuck at a 30fps cap on PS5 was annoying, but the visuals were… decent. Not PS5 decent, but decent nonetheless, with the occasional gruesome imagery. What was also gruesome were its sound effects, with people being tortured in the background, adding a layer of discomfort and intrigue… if no one was talking nearby, as the voice acting itself was actually quite bad.

Shame Legacy priest

“Could it be… SATAN?”

Shame Legacy might possibly be one of the most “okay” horror games I’ve played in a while. There’s nothing about it that’s bad. It’s glitch-free, it controls well enough, it has one or two neat ideas. At the same time, nothing about it impressed me, be it its underwhelming plot, 30fps cap, or an overall lack of innovation. It’s just… there. A game worth a look if you’re into horror, but not one to expect a lot from. If anything, the best thing I can say about it is that it didn’t infuriate me or gross me out like Outlast 2 did.

Graphics: 6.0

The visuals aren’t particularly impressive for the standards of the PS5, nor does the game even dare to run at more than 30fps, but it’s decent enough. The gruesome imagery sure is impactful.

Gameplay: 7.0

The usual stealth-based survival horror gameplay loop. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it at least gives you the occasional chance to fend off against enemies.

Sound: 5.5

Even if the sounds of people getting tortured in the distance help create a sensation of intrigue and discomfort, the voice acting is far from ideal for a game taking itself so seriously.

Fun Factor: 6.0

Not an interesting story, nor particularly scary. The best thing I can say about it is that it did not infuriate me like Outlast 2 did. It’s inoffensive.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Shame Legacy is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and PC.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of Shame Legacy was provided by the publisher.