Excerpt: You’re asleep, you’re dreaming. The night is cold and wet. It’s the early hours. You’re dreaming a dream no weirder than any other dream. You dream of giant blocks and grey shards swinging like pendulums. You dream of glass staircases, of bridges made out of water. You dream of ethereal women lusting after your every move. You dream of dying, you dream of darkness. El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is the escapist, the architect and the dreamer’s dream.
Conclusion: Through its boldly chosen subject matter, ravishing good looks and slick mechanics El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is without question a title that deserves to be played – the big question mark that hangs over it is whether you’ll engage with it enough to care or to want to come back for second helpings.
Conclusion: El Shaddai has its frustrations and annoyances making it something of an acquired taste, but if you can get a feel for the rhythm-based hack and slash gameplay, and if you find the game's eclectic and achingly beautiful art style as arresting as we did, then you'll be in for a divine treat that's unlike anything you've played before.
Excerpt: After delivering last year's cult classic Deadly Premonition , Ignition Entertainment had to be feeling the pressure to emulate the same level of intrigue among Xbox otaku. Knowing they couldn't rely on last year's formula - "so bad it's good" gameplay buffered by a bargain-bin price — they're aiming to impress in different ways with this debut effort from the company's Tokyo studio.
Pros: + Scores the A/V hat-trick with gorgeous art, a great orchestral score, and well-delivered dialogue., + Simple yet nuanced combat that doesn’t require menu-diving for re-equipping or leveling-up.
Cons: - Repetition sets in due to awkward pacing and lack of enemy variety., ? Why no Kinect integration to recognize snaps?
Excerpt: There’s an argument that likes to make the rounds every so often in video game magazines and internet discussions; are video games art? This debate has raged on and on almost since the inception of the medium and will always have people at each other’s throats and calling each other ‘noobs’ on forums. This review isn’t going to wade into this hot topic, but it might just skirt round the edges and nudge at it from time to time.
Conclusion: You could even show the photo album to your non-gaming friends, although they’d probably just point out that El Shaddai doesn’t look as appealing as an all-expenses-paid trip to the French Riviera. Typical non-gaming attitude.
Conclusion: El Shaddai could have been brilliant, it really could, and in patches it remains an absolute delight. With some beautiful visuals and sublime level design that constantly mixes things up – and a great soundtrack to boot – there’s certainly a lot to admire about the game. However, these things alone do not make for a great game, and sadly El Shaddai stretches itself too far and the repetition soon becomes tiresome.
Conclusion: With technology at the point it is, gamers expect more out of the title produced than ever before. If you’re looking for a visually stunning experience, then El Shaddai is for you. Gamers take on the role of Enoch, an Earthly Priest who is chosen to be a warrior charged with the task of returning seven Fallen Angels to the Higher Power. Basically, Enoch must prevent the next great flood, by returning The Fallen.
Conclusion: While not the most succinct title of 2011, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron at least appreciates the strength of simplicity in other respects. Led by Takeyasu Sawaki (character designer for Okami and Devil May Cry ), this 3D action adventure dispenses with the more complex controls and gritty realism of DMC. It even eschews the 3D occasionally, resembling a traditional platformer. It’s much more approachable than it sounds.