Nightdive Studios is at it again after resurrecting FPS classics like Turok and its sequel. and reintroducing gamers to so-called six degrees of freedom shooters like Forsaken, one of its latest projects, a remaster of the cult N64 action platformer hit Shadow Man, has made its way to Xbox consoles with support for Xbox One X enhancements.
Released on PC last April, Shadow Man Remastered is a retooling of the 1999 original featuring enhanced lighting, reworked textures, restored content, and support for 4K resolutions. The remaster currently boasts an overwhelmingly positive rating on Steam, and it’s now one of a select few Nightdive Studios-published games to be converted to console, with the Turok games, Forsaken, Doom 64, and Quake preceding it.
In keeping with Nightdive’s self-described modus operandi of returning forgotten gaming treasures from the depths, the studio has modernized the title’s visuals without fully overhauling them. The remaster makes use of per-pixel lighting, HD textures, and allows for twenty-first-century resolution options, but characters remain blocky and textures authentically murky, the Shadow Man lore remains as strange as it ever was, and the control scheme retains the slightly-off feel from which many early 3D games suffered.
That’s not to suggest that the developer hasn’t tweaked some of the game’s most poorly-aged aspects—that was a major point of emphasis during the lead-up to Shadow Man's release. Listed on the store page are a series of under-the-hood updates including improved enemy AI, the inclusion of a weapon wheel, and a new auto-targeting system. Despite the changes, the warts-and-all approach to gameplay remains, something fans of the offbeat fifth-generation platformer may well appreciate.
Of course, one of the main draws for returning fans has to be the restoration of content that was originally scrapped during the game’s initial development. With three new levels, two new weapons, and a slew of new enemies, Shadow Man Remastered undoubtedly represents the definitive way to play the decades-old game. Much like many of Nightdive Studios’ previous efforts, it feels like a love letter to a long-ignored piece of turn-of-the-century media.
Shadow Man Remastered is the exact sort of fare for which Nightdive Studios is known, but it’s far from their most attention-grabbing release. The studio has been teasing a ground-up rework of the original System Shock game for years, and reports suggest that the System Shock Remake will release at some point in 2022. The team did debut a short demo in 2020, and the remake still seems to be in active development, but it’s edging ever closer to vaporware territory as time goes on.
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