What would you think if I told you there was a game out there, that's a third person action game in the same vein as Devil May Cry but features both 2D and 3D platforming sections in addition to the combat. Pretty neat you say, but nothing that hasn’t been done before. Well what if I also told you the same game is heavily based on the book of Enoch from the Bible? Oh now I have your attention. El-Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron is an odd game to be sure, but is it actually fun to play?
The first thing you will notice when playing the game is the striking visuals. The game is presented in a unique washed out yet bright aesthetic that really needs to be seen. The floors and backgrounds blend into each other seamlessly (more on that in a bit). During the 2D sections the floors flow with an almost liquid feel to them and the color palette completely changes between the day and night cycles. This is really a great and unique looking game... well artistically.
The actual technical visuals so far appear to be sub-par, especially for a game running on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Now while the artistic approach does cover this up somewhat, the character models look like they would be better suited to the Wii’s hardware, which is a real shame when you take into account just how much work and creativity went into the art design for El-Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Also sometimes the art can get in the way of the gameplay; case in point, remember how I had mentioned that the floors and background blend together? (You should it’s one paragraph up), well this can make platforming over several holes in a row rather annoying since it’s hard to see where you can actually land.
The gameplay is very reminiscent to the Devil May Cry series of games (maybe that’s because the character designer for that series is leading the development of El-Shaddai). You take on enemies with one of three weapons; a curved sword, a multi-dart launcher and fists, these weapons have to first be stolen from foes and then purified. The combat is both a mix of traditional hack and slash gameplay and a ‘rock-paper-scissors’ mechanic where one weapon is good against one but weak against another. The player must also constantly purify his weapon or they will lose their strength.
I walk away from El-Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron sceptical but hopeful that the developers will be able to tighten up some of the loose strings before the game ships. The game does show some serious promise and is easily one of the most visually striking games to be found on the floor here at E3 and unlike most of the games being shown here you won’t have to wait very long to get your hands on it as El-Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron will launch on July 26th.
Stay tuned to gamrReview for more hands-on previews of all the big (and small) games here at E3 2011.