Shadow of Destiny

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Shadow of Destiny Game Poster Image
Intriguing mystery about your death with disturbing twists.
  • PSP
  • $29.99
  • 2010

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Whether this is a positive or negative may depend upon a parent's individual beliefs, but the main message one can take away from this game is that you can always change your fate. You don't need to accept what people tell you about yourself; the power to change things is yours.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eike is a good selfless role model. Despite the bizarre, life-threatening predicament he finds himself in, he always allows himself to be diverted from his quest if someone else needs help.

Ease of Play

Some kind of tutorial would have been nice. But there isn't any. Instead, you're just plopped into a story (one in which your character is killed in the first scene) and left to fend for yourself. Because of this, the game is much more difficult in the beginning, as you figure out how to play and what the game wants you to do. With some experience under your belt, later chapters can actually be easier to pass through.


Eike, the player-controlled protagonist, is killed repeatedly throughout the game. He is stabbed, burned, pushed off of a building, hit with a car, and more. Each time he dies, he is sent back in time to prevent his own murder.


Nothing beyond mild flirting.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One scene has Eike being run down by a drunk driver. Eike also carries a lighter, which he uses to meet some objectives in the game. When he adds the lighter to his inventory, he says, "I know smoking is bad, but this might come in handy..."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while Shadow of Destiny is an intriguing adventure tale, it is an incredibly dark story. It is hard to think of another game in which the hero is murdered again and again. The deaths are never too graphic (though there is some blood on occasion), but they can be quite shocking and often catch you by surprise. Parents should also be aware that despite the exciting premise, there is very little action in the game -- and what action there is takes place during cinematic scenes that are not controlled by the player. The game is far more cerebral than action-oriented.

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What's it about?

You play Eike, the seemingly doomed protagonist of SHADOW OF DESTINY, a man who is stabbed to death in the opening scene. After his murder, he is met by a being called Homonculus who offers him a chance to go back in time and prevent the attack that took his life. He takes the leap back and manages to keep the killer at bay -- for a half hour, at which point he is killed again, in a different way. Eike is destined to be murdered over and over unless he can discover the identity of his killer and put a stop to him (or her) once and for all. The time-hopping adventure even takes Eike all the way back to the 1500s, as he uncovers a centuries-old mystery that makes up his killer's motive.

Is it any good?

Shadow of Destiny's greatest strength is in its story. It's the kind of slowly-revealed, twisting plot that can really grab you and make you wonder how it will all end (and the game actually has 8 different endings). Playing the game is not as exciting as it seems it should be, though. Part of that is because of the lack of instruction. But a bigger part is the fact that through most of the game, it doesn't feel like there's all that much for you to do. Eike walks around town, looks at things, and talks to people. By doing those things in the correct way, you trigger cut scenes (sometimes very long cut scenes) and the story progresses. In reality there are multiiple ways to meet each objective, but this slow, quiet game often makes you feel like you're just watching a movie, waiting for the occasional chance to give some input.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of fate. Do you think people have the power to make their own destinies? Or is who we are and what we are to do all pre-set from birth?

  • Time travel is pivotal to the plot of the game. Families can ask each other  what they might change if they had a chance to go back in time and repeat some part of their lives.

Game details

  • Platforms: PSP
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release date: February 10, 2010
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB rating: T for Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Violence
  • Last updated: August 31, 2016

Our editors recommend

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