Shadow Of The Guild – Assassin’s Greed

Water is the source of life. Protect it by slashing some throats, notably the Emperor's in Shadow of the Guild for PC.

A little bit Strider, some Ninja GaidenPrince of Persia, and illustrations similar to the upcoming Hauma on Steam, Shadow of the Guild is in good company. At least when it comes to these comparisons. But does it play like any of those games? No.

It’s unarguably one of the hardest games I’ve played this year, and that’s down to the controls. Our hero floats with their jumps and intermittently hacks and occasionally slashes. Convinced this was lag, the DualSense was swapped out for an 8BitDo wired controller, and the same thing occurred. Coincidence? Who knows. Regardless, it spoiled the experience.

But what’s Shadow of the Guild about? It’s a side-scrolling action game where you play an assassin. Based around the Rain Merchants Guild in a world where water is a sought-after commodity, Emperor Gethro is rustling some feathers and pissed off the leader of the guild. So, they send out a spy. An elite one named Yaràn Malak (you), and your job is to kill the emperor.

Shadow of the Guild Review - Grease Lighting
Grease Lighting. Source: Steam

Shadow Of The Guild Review

The training section, which I had to complete three times as the game would not save, showcases the mechanics. Yaràn can jump, use a standard attack, throw impromptu pointy things, cast electrical magic, and fire a grappling hook. The concept is good, but due to the floatiness of the platforming, it took a bit of time to get used to. It was better than Ninja Gaiden, though – I’ve never been a fan of that.

On that note, Yaràn can also wall climb and propel himself onto another wall, ascending great heights. A pattern I noted, initially thought to be an isolated controller incident, was the number of times an action would lock – be it stuck in a shield position or, in the climbing sense, he’d keep climbing and wouldn’t jump to the other side when positioning him. Hmm… this is troublesome.

After the induction, it was time to get started and immediately, you’re introduced to Shadow of the Guild’s assassination techniques. These are surprisingly easy and terribly satisfying to perform. They’re referred to in training but, in practice, are much better. On a controller, pressing RT when hidden will perform an insta-kill, but instead of a gratuitous animation, it’s a gratuitous animatic and pretty darn sadistic. It was a high point. However, the rest of the combat and platforming action was frustrating on my part, and perhaps a game I’ll have to revisit and update this review accordingly.

An Acquired Taste

The game offers a good variety, and the artwork throughout is unique – mixing up sketch-like setpieces and cinematics galore and is rich in lore. There’s also the option to progress with three different assassin builds based on your preferences. Regrettably, this isn’t a game I’ve enjoyed. Reviews are always subjective, but let’s be objective: there are a lot of good points about Shadow of the Guild by Guild Studio and Bonus Stage Publishing

The mechanics will cater to action fans – hence the references at the start, plus there’s an intriguing story if that’s your bag. Despite the comparisons, the gameplay couldn’t hold my attention – notably because of the response times and lack of appeal based on my tastes. By all means, check out the reviews on Steam, as they’re all positive, but I’m afraid I have to pass on this one for the time being.