The Game You Will Never Play
It happens ever so often. A game that attempts to break new ground and release itself from the shackles of what a video game should be. I felt it when I played ICO for the first time, I bathed in it when I picked up my copy of REZ, and a smirked like a little school girl with a pocket full of Fruit Stripes gum when I held Patapon in my hands. I am naturally drawn to these games and they to me. I am not one who picks up a game because everyone else said it was the bees balls or even because a couple of gaming sites said it was avoidable or derivative. Every game deserves a fresh eye and that is what I had in mind when I picked up El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron.
I did not hear much about this game; whether that was from lack of a marketing budget for this game or from me simply not having much of a game budget recently, I do not know. In either case, I was glad to have picked it up. This…is a weirdo game and as a weirdo, I felt it was my duty to get my fingers dirty. The game is inspired by the Book of Enoch and has you, Enoch, go after a gang of fallen angels to purge them from this realm and their beetle armor. It quickly gets abnormal as the art style begins to take shape and the enemies present themselves. The art direction they took with the depictions of angels and the worlds you traverse through is truly amazing, if not unexpected and unique. All the while, you are accompanied on your missions with the ever cool “Let’s hit up some clubs” Lucifel. He pushes the narrative along as the story unfolds through interesting, side-scrolling interludes. Then, of course, there is the Nephilim (the product of Angels and Humans mating). Or what I like to refer to as happy condom babies. They are pretty central to the story.
The controls are responsive (for the most part) and the main quibbles I had with the game were the clunky loading screens and the Block button, which rarely seemed beneficial to use since every enemies’ attacks seem to stun you for using it. Weapons and gameplay are very simplistic, like Devil May Cry or my beloved REZ, and you will not see a health bar or any standard accoutrements bedazzled on your screen. You will live and learn and you will die like a chump on several of the first encounters with the fallen angels. At least I did. This game doesn’t lure you in with the eclectic story so much as keep you playing because of the enthralling sprawl of levels that were pieced together to create this realm. It truly is a gorgeous game and even had a few easy achievements to spare. If you’re into that kind of thing.
Games like this deserve to be played because of the simple fact that they are crafted with the intent of doing something different. Something that is not safe. You quickly get a peek of clever on your first death and a few more surprises sprinkled on top of this psychedelic muffin. If Onimusha was to drop acid, listen to a biblical scholar’s book on tape, and jump around on playground equipment, you would have this game. It was refreshing and strange all at the same time.
RECOMMEND: Those who enjoy new experiences and strange worlds.
DO NOT RECOMMEND: The A-hole hicks on Call of Duty who call everyone a fag.