Shadows of the Damned is a very stylish action/adventure horror title,developed by Grasshopper(who also developed the No More Heroes games)and just like with No More Heroes,Shadows of the Damned(which I'll refer to as SoTD)has a very mature style and strong sexual references plus nudity and lots of coarse language and lots of gore.

The gameplay works in much like a 3rd person shooter,with some creative weapon designs and the weapons are purposely made to be overpowered,which means even somebody who isn't good at shooting/action games(such as myself)would have no trouble beating the game on easy or normal difficulty.But,even though the weapons are overpowered,they're very fun to use because they're unique.For example,the handgun can shoot explosives that detonate when they're shot and these explosives can stick to enemies or the ground and you can kill/greatly damage large numbers of enemies that are within the blast radius from an explosive's detonation.The shotgun can shoot multiple shotgun blasts at once or can shoot grenades,and the automatic weapon has a lock-on ability and can shoot missles.But the handgun,shotgun and automatic weapon can still be used in a traditional way and will be used in a traditional way earlier on in the game before these weapons get their high powered upgrades.But the game can be challenging on hard or satanic difficulties.

Another unique gameplay element SoTD has is called the 'darkness' which is a shroud the drains the life of your character after he's been inside the darkness for a certain amount of time.You can make the darkness shrouds go away by shooting gold-colored goat heads that are in certain places but when you're being attacked by many enemies,it isn't as easy as it sounds,especially since some enemies can climb walls and can spray darkness onto the goat heads to make the darkness shroud return and once enemies have been inside the darkness,they're invulnerable to attacks until you shoot them with your lightshot weapon first(it basically sets the enemies on fire and it removes the layer of darkness that enemies have on their bodies after they've been inside the darkness and that layer of darkness is like armor for them).So basically,when you have multiple enemies with a layer of darkness around their bodies attacking you're trying to shoot them with your lightshot and the enemies are moving around and your lightshot cannot be shot rapidly until it's upgraded and you're trying to shoot enemies off the walls who keep deactivating the goat heads to make the darkness come back and plus you need to kill these enemies while keeping the darkness away,it can make the gameplay quite intense.

Also,sometimes you'll need to travel through the darkness and find a path through it so you can get to an area where there's no darkness or you will need to destroy orbs to unlock doors and those orbs can only be damaged when you're inside the darkness and you'll need to manage your darkness meter(a meter that gets depleted when you're in the darkness and once it's depleted you start losing health)because there will be times you'll need to travel through areas where there's darkness and search for orbs or rooms and you'll need to find or know where rooms that don't have darkness are so you can go there are replenish your darkness meter.

The darkness makes boss fights more intense as some bosses can only be harmed when you're in the darkness,and bosses have weak spots and they'll sometimes make it hard for you to shoot their weak spots or will make you withstand many waves of attacks/enemies before they give you the chance to damage their weak spot,which might only be able to be damaged from inside the darkness and sometimes you might need to gamble and stay in the darkness after your darkness meter expires and keep your health up with alcohol(which are the game's healing items)or you can try to shoot the goat head to remove the darkness temporarily but have to withstand attack waves and avoid lots of enemies before/after you shoot the goat head.

What makes the gameplay fun isn't just because of it's unique style,but also because it never felt repetitive.Besides shooting enemies,you can use melee attacks such as using your weapon like a baseball bat and you can instantly kill enemies with a successful fully charged up swing but you'll need to be careful with the timing because if you swing your weapon a little bit too early or too late,you will be left vulnerable to enemy attacks.You can also stun enemies by shooting them with your lightshot and then you can perform a variety of melee attacks by pressing square on your stunned enemy,and some of the attacks will result in your character(named Garcia)grabbing an enemy and headbutting them to pieces or he will rip the arms off the enemy(which kills them)or he can stomp on enemies that crawl on the ground or that have their leads shot off.Also,the fact your get to kill lots and lots of demons and tear them to bits or blow them to pieces and see lots of blood is fun.Also,the different attack styles of the demons stops the gameplay feeling repetitive,because besides the typical demons that run towards you or whom try to sneak up on you in the dark and slash at you with their claws,some demons used ranged attacks,some enemies are heavily armored and you'll need to blast through their armor first,some demons need to be shot in their vulnerable spot on their back which is very hard to do unless you shoot them with the lightshot first and some demons are covered with spikes and are heavily armored and roll around very fast and you need to find a way to get them to lay on their back to expose their weak spot on their belly(such as detonating an explosive or making them roll into certain hard objects(which involves using carefully time rolls yourself)and some demons move so fast you can't shoot/melee attack them until they're right in front of you.

The game has no inbuilt cover mechanics so you'll need to be innovative in how you use environmental objects as cover and your health doesn't regenerate unlike with most other modern 3rd person shooters.You can also perform a roll to dodge enemy attacks and sometimes you'll need to be very quick with perform the roll move when bosses speed up their attacks or when you're surrounded by many enemies.

The weapons in the game automatically get upgraded but you can upgrade certain other weapon stats such as reload time,damage,ammo capacity,as well as upgrading your max health,the reload speed and firing rate of the lightshot and you do so by finding or buying red gems.

The gameplay also has puzzles such as the orb puzzles and trying to find where the orbs are or where you need to go when you're surrounding by darkness,and trying to find certain objects such as fruit or brains and trying to find which doors they are used for.

The gameplay has some annoying flaws such as it's controls occasionally being unresponsive which can result in enemies getting in cheap hits on you.The controls are responsive about 90% of the time,but the 10% of the time they aren't can result in you losing lots of health if you're playing the game on the harder difficulties.

It's worth noting,the game doesn't have a New Game+ option,so your completed game stats don't carry over to your next playthrough,which can be looked at as a good thing or a bad thing because it does keep the game challenging when you have to start the game with weak stats on the harder difficulties.Also,the trophies for beating the games on various difficulties don't stack,so if you beat the game on hard,you don't get a trophy for beating the game on normal and easy which is kinds annoying.

The game should take you around 8-10 hours to beat on easy or medium difficulty if you know where to go and what you are doing and how to beat the bosses efficiently but on hard difficulty,boss battles can last for over 30 minutes and can be very tough.

As for the game's story,is quite simple,you play as a Mexican demon hunter named Garcia Hotspur and the Lord of the Demon's named Flemming has decided to kidnap Garcia's girlfriend(named Paula)as payback for Garcia slaying many of Flemming's fellow demons,and not only that,Flemming constantly kills,then resurrects and then kills Paula again over and over to make her suffer and Garcia has to travel to the underworld to rescue Paula.The story does have a clever twist and I did find Garcia to be a likable character,because even though he's macho,it's a likable kind of macho,because of his Mexican accent and his references to Mexican food,sex,violence and his crazy lifestyle.

Johnson is another character who is with Garcia during Garcia's entire journey to the underworld and Johnson is basically a talking gun that Garcia uses and Johnson starts off with the abilities of a handgun and shotgun and later learns the abilities of an automatic weapon plus all the other weapon abilities I've mentioned above.Johnson is quite funny,because of his British accent and goofish charm and he is very perverted and when he becomes aroused by women he can become a very powerful weapon known as a 'big boner' which causes his barrel to become very long...

Paula is an attractive lady and the history between Paula and Garcia is quite unique and funny in how they met and fell in love and Garcia will tell Johnson about it during certain parts of the game.

The graphics for the game have a nice clean look to them and often the atmosphere the game will be darkish but it has some nice natural surroundings too as well as environments that look like they belong to red-light style districts or towns surrounded by a morbid atmosphere or in castles etc.The is some psychological disturbing things to see in the game,and I don't want to spoil them for you.However,the animation for Garcia is a bit stiff and when he runs it looks like his back is hunched too much.And like I said you'll see lots of blood and heads getting blown off and sexually suggestive surroundings and nudity.Also,sometimes if you land headshots on enemies you'll see slow motion footage of the head of your enemy being blown up and it's shown in a comic type of way,which is typical of Grasshopper.

The voice acting for the game is quite good and represents Garcia's Mexican charm and Johnson's perverted mind well and the music suits the environments and what is happening the game quite well.

Overall,SoTD is a fantastic game and it could have been even better but it was let down a bit by some of it's unresponsive gameplay mechanics,but it's entertaining characters and it's style make this game a winner.