March 4, 2024
The bittersweet swansong of Mimimi Games will be two DLC for Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. Does Zagan's Ritual live up to the fantastic original game? The Finger Guns Review:

Not one but two DLC on the same day, as the swansong to the great Mimimi Games? That’s the definition of bittersweet. Shadow Gambit The Cursed Crew was already their greatest game and scored impeccably here at Finger Guns, but now we have new reasons to go back and sample it all over again – Yuki’s Wish and Zagan’s Ritual DLC packs.

Each DLC comes with one new character, one new island, and a handful of chunky missions in a story-rich new chapter. You will need to have the base game and to have progressed to at least Act 2 (basically after you have three crewmates already). At that point, you can access either DLC as part of the story, or start them at any time, or just do everything post-game like I did. Gameplay is unchanged from the main game, as are graphics, voices, controls, and sound. I’ll be sticking to talking about the new characters, abilities, islands, and stories and making a judgment on whether these are worthy additions to what is already a ten-out-of-ten game.

I’m going to handle each DLC separately so if you are looking to learn about Yuki’s Wish follow the link.

Zagan’s Ritual

With Yuki’s wish being a callback to Shadow Tactics, a small part of me hoped that Zagan’s Ritual, the second of the two DLCs, would turn out to be a Desperados III callback. Alas, this is not the case, presumably because those characters are not Mimimi’s to do with as they will. Instead, Zagan’s Ritual continues and expands on the story of Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, introducing in Zagan a fallen apostate Prognosticar, one of the elites of the Inquisition, who are the main antagonists of the game. Zagan doesn’t much care for his former comrades, and would rather throw in with the Red Marley and crew to further his strange aims.

Zagan comes with a set of powers not wholly removed from the Prognosticars you face at the climaxes of a fair number of levels. He can rend soul energy from those he kills, refilling his health, which is certainly useful. But its the other two powers that are most interesting. Like a dark overlord, he can reach out with soul energy through walls to kill or hold enemy inquisition blind and hostage. This costs him health, which is why his general kills replenish it. His last is a passive attack that triggers when he’s sighted in an enemy viewcone – the enemy is hit with soul energy and Zagan gets a few seconds to reach them and finish the job.

Another interesting aspect of his Inquisition abilities is his soul powers leave guards where they are, catatonic and staring into the abyss, but very visible. However, this seems a normal and unremarkable state for the Inquisition and other guards don’t bat an eyelid – in fact they seem quite happy their colleagues are attuning the Maiden’s Fire. It means that, like Yuki, he’s quite capable of being a one-man army, unless the odds and viewcones really stack up.

We don’t want too many spoilers for a seven or so hour DLC now, so I’m going to keep the synopsis brief. Zagan reaches out to the Red Marley for help in his dark experiments, promising to share his findings and powers along the way. He has his own island within the Timeless Isles, which is a huge maze-like mansion that he has populated with undead skeletons. He and the crew leave when the Inquisition show up to arrest their erstwhile ex-colleague and take a trip around multiple islands you’ll know from the base games, collecting tomes, tools, and unwilling victims needed for his great experiment. Like with Yuki’s Wish you’ll revisit Zagan’s island a number of times in the handful of missions.

All the while Zagan’s banter and arrogance end up revealing much about the origins of the Inquisition’s Mainden’s Fire powers and answering a few questions left open in the base game. This one feels more like a continuation of the game than Yuki’s Wish does, because it sticks to the narrative and expands it. I’ll say no more on the story except that it does fall into the same trap as Yuki’s in that it revolves around revisiting existing islands a fair bit, possibly too much for my liking, and probably could have been a little shorter, without losing its punch.  

Zagan’s Island, like Yuki’s is large and multi-part, stretching across four different areas. It’s a strange and derelict mansion edifice, half fallen into the sea and covered in mazelike ladders, doors, and rooftops. It is trickier than Yuki’s Dragon Island, but where this one excels in its level design gameplay-wise, providing many unique areas and situations, it doesn’t hold a candle to how beautiful Dragon’s Dream is. I also found this one harder overall, and there were multiple points moving in on the Inquisition that have commandeered his island, where I tore my hair out trying to find that tiny chink in overlapping viewcones, or had to make my way deep into enemy territory to find that one guard who wasn’t overlooked to start the chain reaction of clearing the map.

Zagan’s Ritual is more the continuation of the base game. However I didn’t find Zagan to be sympathetic in any way, so he isn’t as compelling a character as the other cursed crew all became, or Yuki. He is too aloof, and too much still a bad guy, to really enjoy using him. It was different using the soul powers of the enemy, but I generally found he had less utility and took too long to commit to kills, and I gravitated back to favourites, or to Yuki.

I rated the original game a full 10/10 as I could think of little I hadn’t enjoyed, and certainly nothing worth docking points over. However in a shorter six to seven hour dive, spending a large amount of time with an unlikable character and in more dark, sinister areas, I found myself not enjoying this as much as the base game. It’s still the same deftly put-together stealth tactics glory, but in a shorter timeframe, things you enjoyed less loom larger.

More Shadow Gambit is more than enough reason to dive back in, but Zagan’s Ritual expands the base game’s story with a substantial seven+ hours of extra content and answers a number of questions from the original game. And of course, playing as one of the bad guys makes it a lot of fun.

Shadow Gambit: Zagan’s Ritual is available now on PC (review platform), PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

Developer: Mimimi Games
Publisher: Mimimi Games

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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