Currently Playing: El Shaddai–Ascension of the Metatron (PS3)

This is not the El Shaddai congregation that a lot of Filipinos know. This on the other hand is the game by UTV Ignition Games. The first time I heard the title, I was bothered because I instantly thought of the congregation, but I did learn in my youth that it’s a Hebrew word meaning “God Almighty”, so the “El Shaddai” we know here in our country can’t own the words. Anyway, I got interested in the game when Kotaku showed a video of the game in one of their articles. I was amazed with what I saw because of the visual artistry of the game. As soon as I picked up the controller and played the game, it was hard to put the controller down.

The story was inspired from the apocryphal Book of Enoch. The book is not found on the Roman Catholic Bible, but the it does mention Enoch is some of the biblical books, so obviously that this book has been influential in some way. The story follows Enoch, a priest who is commanded to seek the fallen angels who are taking advantage of humankind. You are guided by one of God’s revered Archangel named Lucifel.

The visual presentation of the game is amazing. The graphics is not really impressive in terms of technicality, but the design is stunning. The lead development is Takeyasu Sawaki who is known for his works opn Devil May Cry and Okami. Based on what I see in the game, it looks like the art direction of Okami that went into overdrive in El Shaddai. Each level is totally different from each other, even color choices are simple mostly monochrome but amazing to look at. Each location gives you an impression of places that look big. Although somehow the layout of the maps are weird, but you also think that the places that you go to are not from Earth. What’s interesting about the game that it changes from a 3D platformer to a 2D platformer which gets interesting. At first when you get into 2D, it just tells the credits with different illustrations popping up at the background, later on it tells more of the story while you jump around areas while the background is a large stained glass art, then mid way in the game it feels like you’re playing Mario Brothers. Once in 3D, the visuals are so drastically different from each other that it won’t remind you much of the previous levels. One level looks like a forest made out of watercolor, one level looks like it’s painted on a rough canvas, another level looks like it came directly from the city in Final Fantasy 13, another looks like you’re in huge cathedral like structure (like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in the movies). The game’s visual direction is so unpredictable that the game feels more like a work of art, it’s amazing through and through.

The gameplay is pretty easy to get into. It is a 3D platformer. You basically run around a certain path, jump to platforms and fight. That’s pretty much the gist of it. The controls are easy enough, but there’s an added layer to it that makes the game so interesting. The basic thing is the ability to steal weapons. You can get 3 in the game on top of being able to punch and kick. You can pick up the Arch which is like a sword, Gale which is like a long range weapon and Veil which is more of a melee weapon. These weapons have some advantages and disadvantages depending on who you are fighting with. Some enemy bosses, you have to switch weapons along the way. You can’t keep all of them, you can only hold one at a time. Almost all the enemies you meet will have a weapon which you can steal, but there are also areas in the game that you can just pick them up. I like the idea that you can recover almost immediately after certain death, although it’s something you have to learn early on. It makes playing the game smooth that you just enjoy the gameplay and less frustration. If you don’t know how to recover, you’ll see the Game Over screen pretty early, but the recover system is pretty easy to pull off.

The game doesn’t have an interface where you can see your status, but there is a way to know Enoch’s armor status. The armor can be seen in full, but once it gets damaged, your character looses it slowly. There are 6 levels of damage that you can visually see. You’ll know when your character is weak especially when can only see Enoch’s pants instead of the white armor. You can get hearts which you get find through out the game to regenerate the armor. Another interesting note, once you use the recover system, the armor comes back in full.

Voice acting is pretty good too. Your character doesn’t speak though, but a lot of other characters will voice out through out the game. What I enjoyed about the audio is that the game keeps giving you information about the story. Because of this, it makes the world feel real even though you are in a place not of Earth. The music sounds epic, although not as memorable as a lot of games. It’s obvious that the music is not the focus of the game but the visual artistry.

I have nothing but praises about the game. You can finish the game easily in a day even, but the gameplay can offer so much more since I know I haven’t pulled of all the moves in the game. It would be nice that I can try it out later on. Once you finish the game, it will offer a new game mode which offers scores and a heads up display which is not seen on the first play through.

Would I buy it? Possibly. I’m on the borderline of getting a copy or renting it. What I like about the game is that it’s easy to get into and enjoy the visual styles. What’s making me hesitate is how short it is, and it won’t offer much after the initial play through except to play it again with scores and costume changes. But nonetheless, it’s a very good game and I highly recommend people to play this.

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11 Comments

  1. parang medyo violent yung game? or mali ako?

    Reply
    • It’s not as violent as most games. most games use blood as indicator of injury. this on the other hand, you and enemies loose armor.

      Reply
  2. I heard about El Shaddai, about Enoch. But this is one is 3D game of skill. This is I think a very interesting one for the craftsmanship is superb and grandiose.

    Reply
  3. nice graphics… haven’t tried the game though… i assume it isn’t an online game since you need to buy it… enjoy bro. Yahweh bless.

    Reply
  4. It really needs to improve it’s graphics and other visual effects. Not so impressive but have high potential!

    Reply
    • You have to see it in action. I wasn’t so impressed either when I saw the pictures. But when you play it, it’s where it shines. It’s pretty much an art piece than most games I’ve seen.

      Reply
  5. Not really a fan of fantasy games. Hehe

    Reply
    • To each his own. 😀 but yeah, in a sense this is a fantasy, because the idea is your doing your quest in a different plane in parallel to earth.

      Reply
  6. wow.. I love the graphics! I just wished that I have a PS3.. I’m a proud gamer and this one is really interesting! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Impressive. Skyrim and studying(sadly) is taking the bulk of my time at the moment. 😀

    Reply

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