Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew from Mimimi Games is an outstanding stealth tactical RPG and the last hurrah from the studio on PS5. Check out our Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew review!
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew from Mimimi Games is an outstanding stealth tactical RPG and the last hurrah from the studio on PlayStation 5. I got to review Desperados III on PlayStation 4 back in 2020, so I was definitely eager to try out Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. It’s unfortunate that this is the last release from the studio since it’s a solid experience on PlayStation 5 with a lot to offer. The studio is even going out with a bang by giving us not one but two DLC expansions that bring even more content to a solid package – more on those in a bit.
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is set during the Golden Age of Piracy in an alternate universe in which supernatural entities walk amongst mortals. Unfortunately, the Inquisition is not too happy about this and seeks to burn every soul as they hunt down all cursed pirates. And since you’re one of the aforementioned cursed pirates, you’ll have to go on a quest as Afia Monicato, who must locate the Black Pearls needed to bring back her dead crewmates. Each one of them will have different skills for you to use, as well as a specific personality that will add to the overall storytelling.
You can play the game in one of four difficulty settings, or you can customize your journey by setting specific values for the different parameters. The first difficulty setting is Explorer. By choosing this one, guards will react a bit slower and will be less aggressive. Your crewmates will also have more health, making it a good option for those of you looking for an easier time. Next up is Pirate, which could be considered the standard difficulty option that offers a balanced adventure that won’t feel overwhelming.
The next one is Legend, and it’s here that things start to get a bit dicey. Legend is suited for gamers who have more experience with stealth games such as this one since guards will quickly react to anything that is out of place, and your crewmates will have less health. The last option is Cursed, which will test your skills in full. Guards will have lightning-fast reflexes, crewmates will have almost no health, and you’ll be severely punished for any missteps made along the way.
You’ll get to learn the basics during your first mission. You’ll control your character with the left analog stick as you use the right one to rotate the camera and zoom in and out as needed in order for you to get a better look at things. You’ll first be taking control of Afia, who can kill enemies with her dagger once she’s within striking distance of her target. This is done easily by pressing the Circle button to make your character crouch. This will make less noise as you move closer and closer to an enemy so that you can then press the Square button to strike.
Since this is a stealth RPG, I suggest that you then carry the body and dump it, say, within a tall bush that will make it harder for another enemy to spot the corpse. Just press the X button to carry the body and then press the Circle button to drop it. If an enemy is only unconscious and not dead, You’ll first have to tie them up. While doing all of this, keep an eye on an enemy’s viewcone, which will represent the general area in which an enemy is looking. Any of your crewmates that fall within the viewcone will be spotted and detected. Something to keep in mind is that when taking on a stage that is set during the night, you will be able to safely crouch through the part of the viewcone that has stripes over it.
Your crewmates will have special skills that you can use to speed things up. For example, Afia has the Blink skill, which allows her to move closer to a target instantly and strike. By pressing and holding down the L1 button, you can then move the cursor over a guard and press the Square button to jump in for the kill. Another very useful skill is Time Freeze, which can be used to, well, freeze an enemy for a short moment… which is usually long enough for you to rush in and stab a target.
A very useful ability that you will certainly need to exploit is memories. You can capture a memory at any time by pressing the Touchpad on the DualSense. You can then unleash a memory by pausing things and selecting the one you wish to activate. Taking a memory right before you try to complete a rather tricky segment will end up being crucial for your odds of survival. Failing, learning from your mistakes, and then giving it another go will very much be part of the gameplay loop for Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew.
Using all of these will keep enemies from being able to activate an alarm. If a guard spots one of your crewmates or finds one of their own you’ve knocked unconscious or killed, they will immediately try to sound off the alarm. Once this happens, all of the other guards will rush to the red make to take on your crewmates. If you make a mistake and the alarm is triggered, then you’ll have to be quick and hide somewhere as fast as possible! The guards will then search for you at your last known position, and a timer will start a countdown. Manage to outsmart your opponents until the timer runs out, and guards will return to their position.
Your first mission will be to rescue the mighty Red Marley, a ship that has a soul of its own! It’s thanks to the Red Marley’s power that you’ll be able to use the power of memories. You’ll soon learn that the Red Marley can only create memories over an island-wide location and can only recall memories that are less than a day old. Once liberated, the Red Marley will serve as your base of operations. As you plan for your next mission, be sure to check with your crewmates so that you can take on their personal missions and learn more about their backstories – especially if you want to get all trophies in the game. More on trophies in a bit.
Since you’ll be controlling more than one crewmate at a time after the tutorial mission, you’ll need to consider moving all of them at the same time. You can switch between characters with the R1 button, or you can press and hold down the button and then select all characters so that they follow each other. Another handy option is activating Shadow Mode, which is done by pressing up on the D-Pad. When Shadow Mode is active, the action will be paused, and you’ll be able to plan one action per crewmate. Once you’re ready, press the Triangle button to carry out all planned actions and see if you’ve chosen wisely.
As for the trophies, Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you. The list includes 14 Bronze trophies, 5 Silver trophies, and 7 Gold trophies. There are trophies tied to completing each of the game’s story arcs, as well as trophies for the overall completion percentage you reach along the way. You’ll also get trophies for unlocking all crewmates, for finishing the personal stories for each of them, and for discovering all the islands. It’s not going to be a short journey, but it will definitely be a fun one!
And then we have the two DLC packs for Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. You can buy each of them for $14.99, and you’ll be able to access them after completing the second act in the game. There’s Yuki’s Wish, which will allow you to explore an exotic island and take on a new adventure with six missions to complete. It will allow you to see Yuki and Kuma from Mimimi Games’ Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, which was released on PlayStation 4 back in 2017. For this DLC, you’ll be exploring the Japanese island Dragon’s Dream, which has mysteriously popped up in the Lost Caribbean. You’ll be taking on six missions as you make the most of the abilities of all of your crewmates, including this new pair. This and the next DLC pack will become available after you complete the second act in the main story.
That one would be Zagan’s Ritual. By taking on this adventure, you’ll be able to add Zagan the Apostate to your crew. He’s a former high-ranking Prognosticar of the Inquisition who is always in search of more and more knowledge. His dark powers are not something that can scare your crewmates, what with them being a group of cursed undead. Along with a new character, we also get a new island to explore: Zagan’s Lair. It’s an Eldritch-nightmare-infused castle island that is shrouded in mystery and the occult. Zagan is on a mission to harness the full potential of the Maiden’s Fire, a deadly soul-consuming flame that the Inquisition uses against the Cursed.
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is an outstanding stealth tactical RPG and the last hurrah from Mimimi Games on PlayStation 5. It offers a solid gameplay loop with a ton of content to enjoy and a journey that can be as challenging as you want it to be. The studio decided to go out with a bang by giving us not one but two paid DLC expansions that add more content on top of it all, making them a must-buy along with the main game. Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is out on PlayStation 5 with a $39.99 price tag. You can also buy Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew Complete Edition for $69.99, which includes the base game and both DLC expansions, which will save you $5. You’ll also get the game’s soundtrack, the artbook, and the strategy guide in the process.
This Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Mimimi Games.