The infection of Hermielle's mind by the Plague of Madness and her struggles dealing with her past decisions are the plot of the story. The story is broken into four major fragments; The Reaper Wars, A Lone Light, Age of Atrocity, and Enter Darkness. In addition, the Cult of Nafaq expands their power and seeks to take control of Hermielle's mind. The Tome of Nafaq is collected by Trithaguous Certai while several opposing forces seek it for their own desires.
This was the first game to utilize the resource of Spectra.
Shadows of Her Past is the first full 3D game to take place in the world of Pylotha, the main setting for the Spectral Saga. The story is broken up into four reverse chronological fragments, each of which is told in chronological order. The player has access to nine of Hermielle's abilities which can be upgraded through a combination of different wands, staves, and Spectral-infused gems.
A primary new feature is the inclusion of a basic Spectra system. By collecting Spectra from defeated enemies and the environment, Hermielle's abilities and items can be upgraded. Spectra is controlled by the colors of the environment and those that inhabit it. In Shadows each ability only utilizes one color style of Spectra.
The story in Shadows of Her Past is told through four reverse chronological fragments, each told chronological. The order is The Reaper Wars, A Lone Light, Age of Atrocity, and Enter Darkness.
Fragment 1: The Reaper Wars
Hermielle, Queen of Lotte, awakens to find herself nearly half a century in the past on a war torn battlefield during the Reaper Wars. Immediately confusion occurs as Agranoth, one of Hermielle's allies, has vanished. Nafaq, Hermielle's former lover and long time ally, concludes that Agranoth must have been kidnapped by the Oar'atan Reapers during one of his scouting trips. Together, Hermielle and Nafaq find a way to infiltrate the fortifications of Bladespire, the Oar'atan capital city, through the labyrinth of tunnels that run beneath the city. At the end of the tunnels, the two find what appears to be a prisoner of war camp located within the molten core of Mount Mo'Bahl. Hermielle attempts to free Agranoth but is confronted by an image of a mysterious figure named Nathaniel. Caught off guard by the ambush and another disappearance of Agranoth, Hermielle retreats and begins to question her memories. On her way back to Kaepe, it is revealed that Ba'al Kal'ar, Tyrant of Bladespire, had used Agranoth as bait for a trap and launched a full counter-invasion on the small nation of Lotte. As Hermielle rushes to aid her nation, her memories begin to betray her as the Lottians turn against her. With Kaepe now in flames, Hermielle has no chance but to fight off both her old allies as well as the Reapers and prevent Ka'lar from summoning the San'tra Bella, the Fourth Specter.
Fragment 2: A Lone Light
With the collection of a chapter of the Tome of Nafaq, Hermielle's mind brings her back to the expulsion of the Dreaded Army of Noir. Nafaq and Adrian, Hermielle's other companion, immediately turn on her for the current situation that they find themselves in. Arguing that they must flee, the two run off ahead of Hermielle in search of a safe haven from Noir's Army. Hermielle attempts to catch up and finds herself in a long untouched landscape, away from the corruption that had destroyed her and her friends' homeland. It's not long before the serenity wears off though and Hermielle finds herself being ambushed by Dusk scouts and Cultists. Upon catching up to her companions, they are not as she once remembered them. The two Etera that stand before her appear cold and continue to throw the blame of the current events upon her, while defending the actions of Noir at Luminous Citadel.
Fragment 3: Age of Atrocity
Diving deeper into her memories, this time finds Hermielle thrown into a panicked environment. Total chaos emits as a massive crowd of fleeing Eteras run in the opposite direction. The city of Luminous and Luminous Citadel are under attack and found to be disappearing into a thick black fog. Hermielle is met by Dusks crawling out of the shadows of toppled structures. Inside, the once proud and pristine Luminous Citadel has become stained and blackened. Hermielle is greeted by Valdis, a once old friend, who has been given new life by the power of Tenebra. Frightened, Hermielle teleports away from the Citadel only to discover that Luminous has fallen to the Dusks, forcing her to flee back to the last Etera bastion and capital of Tor'bel, El'Narath. Upon her arrival, El'Narath is already under siege by the Dreaded Army. The Etera act out of fear and flee from Hermielle, as Nafaq, places the entire invasion upon Hermielle. Fearing her memories, Hermielle escapes and continues to question the legitimacy of her reality. When confronted by Etera, Hermielle's mind transforms them to Dusks and she annihilates anyone who stands her in way. Upon finally calming down, Valdis appears in front of her and welcomes her to the nightfall. Hermielle, now unsure of what is real anymore, flees El'Narath into the countryside. She is chased by Dusks and Valdis who corner her at an abandoned farm.
Fragment 4: Enter Darkness
Upon awakening, Hermielle at first feels relieved that it was all a dream as she is now within Luminous Citadel. Nafaq and Noir are walking alongside her as the trio head towards a meeting with other government officials. From the peace and serenity, come ambushes and explosions as the Demetera slaves begin an uprising for their freedom. As Hermielle seeks shelter, she stumbles upon a trapped Agranoth and recognizes this as the moment the two had met. Confident in her memory, she frees the Demetera, only to be caught by Etera guards who attempt to arrest her for treason. Fleeing the Eteran Guards, Hermielle realizes that Luminous begins to grow darker as Cultists ambush her. As the environment begins to twist, Nathaniel reappears only to reveal that she has been infected with the Plague of Madness and that in only a matter of minutes, her mind will destroy itself. With Hermielle's mind weakening the structure of the dream begins to crumble. Finally arriving at the Hall of Specters, Hermielle finds the events she once remembered inverted, as Noir is now defending those she once held dear. In a moment of self-realization, Hermielle turns the fragmented memory around, restoring it. Nathaniel reappears in time to possess the Memory of Noir in one last effort to prevent Hermielle from recovering from the Plague, risking his own life in the process.
Shadows of Her Past started out as a hack & slack dungeon crawling fighting game with aspects of a role-playing game. As development progressed, many of the ideas were scrapped as the scope was changed to offer a better story experience while still delivering the important elements required for the core gameplay.