During Sony's unbelievably kick-butt GamesCom 2013 press conference, which they live-streamed for the public, the company threw out more news about exclusives, exclusive content and exclusive games than anyone can recount off the top of their head (which is why we have a post recounting the details right here). One of those exclusives for the PlayStation brand, and more explicitly, the PlayStation 4, is the re-imagining of the 16-bit classic Shadow of the Beast.
The original Shadow of the Beast for consoles (including that not-so-reliable Amiga), had players don the role of a beast and... you know, to be honest there wasn't much of a story. A friend of my lent me the game back in the day (yeah, something that wouldn't have been possible had the Xbox One kept its old policies without going through some license-disabling hoop jumping) and the side-scroller basically consisted of running around, finding keys, fighting Jove knows what, all while using some rather rudimentary fighting skills.
To be quite honest, I hated the original Shadow of the Beast on the Sega Genesis and I don't know if I hated Shadow of the Beast 3 more or less on the Amiga. The games just weren't designed very well and a lot of that had to do with the fact that better platformers were out at the time, which offered much better and more satisfying challenges, such as Robocop vs Terminator or just about any and everything else on the SNES.
Anyway, Sony reached deep into the back pockets of the bygone years of gaming to bring up this little gem (for some). Thankfully, the remake looks sparkling and sleek and gives a much more dynamic air of character and atmosphere to the world, something that was sorely missing in the original game (viz., did it take place in the future? Was it the past? Was it an alternate realm? Why was everything trying to kill you?).
The new game seems a lot closer to the likes of Demon's Crest – except it's set within the Shadow of the Beast lore – and that's definitely a good thing. We see that the beast has some special powers to bring about some deadly specters and he still has his hand-to-hand melee attacks.
I'm just thoroughly shocked that a lot of the design mechanics are consistent to the way they were in the older game, right down to the design of the beast himself. That's some impressive work right there.
For everyone complaining that the Xbox One has more first-party exclusives than the PlayStation 4, Sony at least came back out of the gates firing with enough games from the lower-end of the indie tier to the upper echelons of the AAA bracket. The company clearly has a vision for the PlayStation brand moving forward and I don't think they've ever been as focused as a brand until now. Heck, I'm going to venture out and say that the PS4 will be Sony's definitive game console for the ages and it seems to far surpass what the PSX, PS2 and PS3 were aiming to achieve within their life-cycles.
While there isn't much else known about Shadow of the Beast for the PS4 at the moment, and the trailer is in CG, as noted on Dual Shockers, at least we know that the company has a serious plan for more than just indies on the PS4.