There's a lot to love in this game, especially if urban fantasy is something that you're into.
The art is very simply fantastic. You can tell that the artists both put a lot of careful detail in and the images look great. The layout and the image integration are also very seamless. I would say that this stands up very well against a White Wolf product, which it seems to directly compete with and whose DNA seems to be present in the game where production values are concerned. This is a great piece of design work and it flows seamlessly and has all kinds of great elements like graphic borders, smooth backgrounds and a very polished look from start to finish.
B. The Concept
The world is filled with the hidden secret things that scared you as a child, and perception very much is reality. You can follow it back to the magic of the darkness. The shadowside is a world coextant with the mundane realm of human beings- there's a New York and an LA and a Paris, but there is a mirror where the ghosts and gods live. I feel the delicious touch of white wolf yet again, it's as though the Hedge and the Shadow have been rolled into one creepy, marvelous place. And there are urban legends here and rules about how to proceed that save your life or seal your doom.
Human being being what they are, people form groups to harness and try to control the forces of the shadowside. It's is achieved through Heirogamy. What this means, in short, is that every character in the game is, in addition to being formidable personally, possessed by a ghost or other spiritual being. It's delicious because the living human has become the host element of a composite entity.
C. For Every Rose, a Thorn
On first glance, the World Turtle is intimidating. Lots of lines and lots of spots for numbers, but once you let the shock of the character sheet wear off, the simplicity if the math shows through.
Jacobs ladder is similarly intimidating. However, once again you can take some breaths, read the text, and realize that it's proper simple when you have a go at it. There's some simple addition and then you use a ruler to find a point along a linear function- the hard math is sorted already. Once you have that figure, you roll a d20 to see if you can hit it. I like that, it's pleasantly easy once you get over the shock of looking at the ladder, but you do have to get over that shock.
Don't let the intimidating charts dissuade you, after ten minutes parsing through them, they're quite simple.
It's a game well suited to your desire to explore those dark places in the world, where few tread, where the shadows slip away into an abyss that falls into the oblivions beyond beyond. You will not walk alone, and not everyone you meet will walk with you in friendship. I look forward to sitting down and playing, and you will as well.
[5 of 5 Stars!]