Shadows of Doubt is Deus Ex for incorrigible snoops, and you should drop what you’re doing and play the demo right now

As I reach the end of the 90-minute timed demo of Shadows of Doubt (opens in new tab), I still haven’t solved my first homicide case. Honestly, though, I’ve only got myself to blame. The problem with being a rule-bending cyber-noir PI with total freedom to snoop, it seems is that when you’re scouring a suspect’s apartment for clues or browsing through their hard drive, it’s easy to get distracted by the mundane details of their lives.

At one point, I break into the staffroom of a diner—apparently the last place my murder victim visited before turning up dead at home. Once inside, I locate the manager’s passcode, carelessly scribbled on a notepad, then rifle through the joint’s safe before logging into its computer to scan staff records and security tapes. The crucial clue I uncover here is that the victim met someone in the restaurant, and from the camera footage I even get an ID. But while I could simply leave at this point to chase my new lead, I spend a further five minutes sitting at the screen, sifting through emails, printing out the staff database and pulling every face from the recordings. Sure, it pays to be nosy as a detective, but perhaps not quite to this degree.

(Image credit: ColePowered Games)

My rigor here isn’t merely a matter of idle curiosity, though. Another reason I get caught up in such trivial pursuits is that the systems at work in Shadows of Doubt are so damned impressive. In a way, this is an indie Deus Ex, with the focus mainly on the quiet bits where you sneak through vents, shut down alarms and rummage through cupboards for safe codes. But at the same time, investigations are far more free form, with all kinds of possible routes leading from corpse to killer.

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