Shadow Lords Impressions Thread

Figured we could probably use a thread like this with the semi-release of the new mode (if this is too similar to the feedback thread, please just merge it mods :thumbsup:). Overall, I like a lot about Shadow Lords, including the variety, presentation, and the bits of lore and story that are present. From my short play last night, here are some of my thoughts.

  1. The mode seems strangely easy, until it’s not. I was rekting all enemies in all scenarios, and doing a good job managing my health across all characters (shout-outs to the vamprire bat!), and basically hit a point where I was just like “meh, I’ll definitely beat this first try.” Then I got cocky, put a Ram guardian on my Jago (I was feeling too cheap to feed the vampire guardian and equipped a full instinct consumable for healing purposes instead) and went for the biggest reward I could get on day 7 or 8. The computer blocked and shadow countered everything, and basically negated my Ram entirely because the bloody computer doesn’t do combos :unamused: It quickly went downhill from there, but basically, the mode’s “Power Levels” seem to serve a useful primary purpose of forcing you to expend items in the war room to buff your defense and damage, as you simply die to stray hits otherwise.

  2. I’m actually really enjoying the story cutscenes they’ve included. Was pretty sad to see most characters only have one of those specific to them, as they’re pretty well done.

  3. The dossier items are cool as well. Only thing is I’m pretty sure I’ll never see them all - you collect them from fighting that mimic, and there are a TON of dossiers to collect across the cast. Getting them all seems like it would take a while because…

  4. Shadow Lords is kind of a slow mode. The amount of fights per hour that you can have isn’t super high, just due to all the crafting, menu selections, and load times in between everything (at least on X1).

  5. The pre and post-mission choice things are a lot of fun. I’m finding that exercising generally good judgment (no, I don’t want to eat the strange plant growing out of purple soil) with a dash of daring (yes, I will play dice with the skeletal captain of a ghost ship) makes for generally positive results. I’m having fun with these, and look forward to that little window popping up :slight_smile:

  6. I know the ultimate wish/goal is to integrate shadow AI’s into the mode, and I just want to say that I think this is the BIGGEST improvement the mode could possibly make. Even if the shadow AI’s can’t properly make use of every buff that exists in the mode, it would be a VAST improvement to the way the mode plays. The Killer Instinct AI is just, not good for the most part. There are some things the AI always blocks, some things the AI never blocks, and aside from Omen, almost every single enemy seems to drop any combo they manage to start (challenging difficulty). My Ram guardian is functionally useless, because the CPU just drops all its combos after opener anyway, and even when I lose it’s more because of insane first hit damage wracking up. The sooner the team manages to integrate shadow AI into Shadow Lords, the better. The modifiers and lore and random choices are all fantastic, but if the fights themselves aren’t fun, then what’s the point?

So those are my initial impressions of Shadow Lords, after about 2 hours or so of play. True to their word, I certainly did not beat Gargos on my first attempt, and in fact couldn’t even get past Omen due to my miserly hoarding of consumables :joy: Definitely seeing the potential for the mode in terms of replayability though, and if they can find a way to incorporate shadow AI’s into the mode in a timely fashion I could actually see myself putting some significant time into it. Without shadow AI’s though, I don’t think I’ll do more than grind my way to some of the story content that I’m particularly interested in.

All in all, good job IG. Looking forward to making it to Gargos today and (hopefully) beating him, and seeing what the future holds for this mode. :smile:

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Actually, my experience is a little different than that.

The AI are basically free to any sort of abusive technique you can come up with if their power is 1-3. 4-5 is where things completely change and start getting just plain stupid. The enemies start throwing out more moves in neutral making them harder to pin down, they do a ton of damage, and they shadow counter you. The nightmare that goes along with these levels is the “Fury” buff, which increases the potential damage all hits deal. Basically, one chance break combos equal your entire lifebar, and you’re just PRAYING for the enemy to do opener ender so you can break out easy. Not the mention the AI is programed to t-bag you sometimes (f*** you TJ). Do NOT tackle red or skull level minions without guardians, because you WILL need them.

Guardians and consumables certainly help, and I’ve gotten quite a bit of use out of the bat guardian especially. Reason why bat is so useful is because it’s one of the more cost effective ways of healing your units, because skipping a day can have consequences. Though some of the consumables can absolutely break a fight if you know what you’re doing (especially the ones that give you unblockable attacks).

I’ve already played on both Normal and Challenging, and I can see the difference easily. The red missions creep up on you way faster in Challenging and the AI is a little more restless. I found myself actually having to deploy units and settle with a 78% chance of success because of the sheer amount of red and skull missions. So yeah, keep that in mind.

The Gargos fight was actually easier than I expected. On my Normal run, I bodied him using Maya alone and he barely landed a hit on me and never summoned minions. This was with all Omens defeated. Then I fought him again on Challenging when he had two buffs, and while he was definitely more active and uncontrollable, I still managed to beat him with Maya alone (though I was in danger). I know it may be too soon to ask you guys to buff what’s supposed to be a cheap boss. But maybe consider programming the AI to actually explode when he gets knocked down during instinct? That’s like 50% damage free if I land one heavy on him. And the fact that he has a potential buff that gives him double instinct makes me a little more anxious about this.

Overall, I had quite a bit of fun exploring the missions, especially when I was presented with an option that one of the characters on my team could take advantage of. I have not come across any extra cutscenes yet though, although Glacius can pair with anyone right from the start so maybe that’s why. It is a little disappointing though that the dossiers are just the character backstories from before S3 launch, but I guess that’s the price for me to pay when I frequent the forums.

One thing I wish for is that unlockables outside Shadow Lords besides Astral Plane would have a more clear indication of how to get them. I have no idea how to unlock the mimic skins or anything else for that matter. And while secret unlocks can be cool, I personally would like to see something that clues me in, even slightly.

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Can one of you tell me if you get the Astral Plane stage from Normal or challenging difficulty?

Seems like the mode will be right up my alley from what I’m hearing from you guys though :sunglasses:

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I unlocked the stage on normal difficulty.

The mode is solid, but the AI was a joke on normal. I can also see it getting a bit repetitive, but overall, I enjoyed my first run through. Looking forward to trying it on challenging.

EDIT: Also, I feel like unlocking all of the characters at the end to create your own team kind of removes some of the fun from the mode. I enjoyed trying to find my mains and recruit them, but that’s just me.

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Yeah, I was afraid of this, although it’s not surprising. It’s hard to imagine anything being faster than survival. I normally play on X1 but I might use my PC for SL just to take advantage of the SSD.

Anyway thanks for sharing your experience.

Wait early access is out!?? and I didn’t get in ;…(

Haha that’s because the unlockable Mimic skins aren’t in there …yet.

The mode as it stands now will be very different than the one that you play on the official launch. So much more stuff. :slight_smile:

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Yeap, we’re still tuning EVERYTHING, including tuning, buffs, etc in the mode, so experiences will vary, especially at launch. You’re playing very much a work in progress. The mode will change and evolve. You have no idea what’s in store! Glad you like the Bat. He’s getting an all new HUD

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Well damn lol

At least I got Astral Plane :slight_smile:

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For the record, I support the idea that the green guardians shouldn’t need to be fed. Don’t feel the need to take my killer guardians into every fight, and it’d be nice to have a “cheap” option to take along for some of the easier fights out there.

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I hear you. One thing you might notice is that the price to feed Guardians scales with tier. So feeding Green Guardians is very cheap when compared to say, a Killer one.

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My only complain with this mode, is that I do not yet have it. That is all.

Kappa

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I’m really enjoying my first play through on challenging. More so, the character banter than anything else. Tusk has the hots for kim wu lol. I really enjoy seeing the personalities. i guess, to me, the personalities matter a bit more than backstory. This is really cool. I’m looking forward to the evolving product and the unlockables.

I wonder if our progress will retroactively award us the unlockables. I could go all achievement hunter right now if i knew this to be the case.

Tl;dr: is good

Tusk has the hots for kim wu lol. I really enjoy seeing the personalities

If this is cannon, I’m drop-kicking one of the writers.

I’m looking at you @developers

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Most of it will. There will be more achievements when the mode rolls out.

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Will our current save (as in items, guardians,etc) be wiped on launch day?

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yeah was just wondering the same thing. I’ve been checking the forum and twitters all week for a confirmation that the early access has been distributed, but I will take this thread as confirmation.

So, 30 years old woman from his Novella was too young, eh?

Cant’ wait to try this mode out. Thanks for providing feedback on it, guys! I hope there’s a good amount of story woven in to this mode, not just big scenes, which I assumed would be few and far between, but little snippets of info and what not that make you feel like you’re progressing through the story itself and not just winning matches on the way to the last match.

Also loving the idea of post match decisions. I don’t know much about that yet, but it sounds like there’s a solid amount of variety to keep us on our toes and looking for something different around each proverbial corner. Definitely down for that!

[spoiler]I’m salty. The only husbando she’d better have is Jago yo.

Tusk should fall for Maya if anyone.[/spoiler]