Reviewed By: Daniel Labinski
Off the top of the head, virtually everyone can picture the setting for the classic Japanese kaiju film; a smokey, combat torn cityscape, swelling with the desperate cries of civilians fleeing from two titanic figures squaring off on the dust that was once their home. Granzella, also known for developing the latest installment of the survival action-adventure Disaster Report 4: Summer of Memories coming early this year, drops you into the gamut as the insignificant human on the stage that is the great Kaiju battle in their successor title City Shrouded In Shadow (Kyoei Toshi).
This title hasn’t gotten much exposure outside of Japan due to the heavy licensing problems they’ve had with the numerous franchises represented in this title, stifling any chance of a localization to North America, let alone an Asian title with english subtitles. City Shrouded In Shadow brings all the heavy hitters from the likes of Ultraman, Godzilla, Patlabor, Gamera, and Neon Genesis Evangelion and have them duke it out with their respective counterparts within the fictional locale that is Ichi City. As these beasts are duking it out, and at some points recreating iconic battle scenes throughout the stages, your character, either male or female protagonist Ken Misaki or Miharu Matsuhara (given you don’t change their default names names), are the ones who take charge in trying to escape the delapitading streets or the deadly confines of buildings about to fall and bury you in their rubble.
Before I give my actual first impressions of gameplay, I admit that I have no learning in the written Japanese language that is Hiragana, Katakana, or Kanji, so I pretty much went into this game blind of written dialogue. That being said, being given visual cues in voice acting, no matter the language, in such fight or flight situations can be deciphered universally as “Holy Shit!”, “Run!”, and with a helpful point up to the sky, “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!”. The only inconvenience with the language barrier comes around when your given multiple choice prompts, which in my case, I would just randomly pick an option. If you’d wish to immerse yourself into the plot building decisions, you can easily look up translations for the game across the various internets with ease. In my case, I ran through it like the baka gaijin I am.
My experience started off better than expected, given very little resistance breaking through any difficulties set up by a foreign language. Prompts were easy to follow and interpret, occasional tutorial screens made sense when they came up, and body language pretty much made universal sense. Controls are solid. There isn’t much object interaction first hand and the game pretty much revolves around jogging/running for your life through and around obstacles which is metered with a stamina bar visible in the top left of your UI, and reaction timing is important and well taken care of. You’re given a map in the lower corner for guidance, not sure for what, besides that it tracks your footpath so you don’t get caught up in the city streets, which at times can actually become pretty useful in the labyrinth of city streets in the middle of devastation. Visually and graphically, City Shrouded In Shadow almost has me reminiscing of the Earth Defense Force franchise. Not too impressive for a PS4 title, but it holds up where details are needed. Nothing is spared when it comes to the colossal monsters and heroes at their grand scales and nice little things like your character’s jacket burning away when taking fire damage.
Aesthetics aside, City Shrouded In Shadow presents an excellent experience for Kaiju fans of all franchises alike who want to experience the famous fight from a new perspective, but hopefully not one from the underside of some monsters foot. If you want to give survival a shot, you can have it imported from online shops such as PlayAsia, but in my case, I was able to nab a copy from Ebay. And while it’s still lacking localization, Granzella will be bringing games to North America with their next installment of Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows this Spring.
Rating : B
-Great fan service for monster fans!
-All in Japanese, no subtitles!
-Not very aesthetically pleasing