Mixed or average reviews- based on 35 Ratings
Aug 16, 2011El Shaddai is, above all else, a prime example of how a video game can transcend its genre conventions to become a work of contemporary art. This game is both gorgeous and unique, with constantly shifting visuals that somehow straddle the line between surreal religious imagery and Tron-like aesthetics. For starters, you play as heaven's scribe, the namesake of the apocryphal Book of Enoch, as he hunts the fallen Grigori angels and delivers them to God before he decides to wipe out the planet with a great flood. The sheer boldness of not only referencing Judeo-Christian religion but also placing the game's story within the context of such a controversial text is commendable in this conservative age, and the integrity of the source material is maintained throughout. Strangely enough, though, Enoch (and his pal Lucifel) are both wearing Japanese name-brand Edwin jeans as a part of their holy garb. In fact, those jeans are all that are left on Enoch's body after sustaining enough damage, since the game uses no health bars or other UI elements on-screen and represents all pertinent stats through visual changes. As a result, there is no inventory management either. Power upgrades and weapon changes are all instantaneous, with Enoch steeling one of three weapon types from his foes (each carries its own pros and cons), and Fruits of Wisdom add to Enoch's latent abilities as they are gathered. The visceral combat actually feels like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta, which is appropriate since designer Takeyasu Sawaki originally worked on both DMC and Okami. The controls are simple, but intelligent use of the limited weaponry and rhythmic attack input add enough depth to keep things interesting. Also, the player's perspective will change between distant third-person, over-the-shoulder, and side-scrolling views, which not only makes the levels play in different ways but also makes optimal use of each stage's visuals. Side-scrolling stages may look flat, with cel-shaded platforms and parallax eye catches, while an over-the-shoulder view may be used while Enoch runs across a shadowed landscape towards a bright light that reveals the silhouettes of his enemies. It all comes together nicely, but if there is one criticism I could make about the visuals, it's the fact that El Shaddai still only uses 720p. While that resolution has become standard on even the greatest PS3 and XBox360 titles, the game uses such minimalism in its presentation that I think both systems could have handled true 1080p. The PS3's fans don't even come on during most of the 60 fps gameplay, so Ignition probably could've pushed the resolution higher and eliminated some of the game's jaggies. Some players may also find the combat to be a bit repetitive, but with its inherent depth and the addition of platforming, environmental puzzle solving, and even driving, things stay fresh through the ten or twelve hours of gameplay. It may not be the longest game in recent memory, but it warrants multiple playthroughs on various difficulty settings. Overall, I had a blast with El Shaddai, and its combination of visual flare and great story-telling places it firmly into Shadow of the Colossus territory. This could be an instant classic if enough people embrace its artistry. Oh, and as an added bonus, the game does allow you to switch between Japanese and English voiceovers, both of which are quite respectable. I would encourage all of you to give this one a shot.… Full Review »
Aug 16, 2011Wholeheartedly agree, El Shaddai goes beyond what many players will expect when they unwrap this game. While the art design and visuals go far beyond the average game, the gameplay is uneven, unbalanced, seemingly broken in places, particularly with the platform elements.
Imprecise jumping with a die-and-retry mechanic, locked-camera, and odd combat, El Shaddai might be one game that players either love or hate. For those gamers that thought that CATHERINE was a controller-hurling, puzzle-frustration, disguised as an anime, El Shaddai WILL evoke many religious assertions from players as they navigate the multivariable gameplay elements. Combat, platforming, puzzling beta-like inconsistencies all suggest that El Shaddai might've been rushed out the door. Or, more likely, El Shaddai (as a game) was envisioned beyond the contraints of the development team, whether money, time or talent.
It's not bad, just maddeningly frustrating in many ways. The art is impeccable.… Full Review »
May 27, 2012Highly artistic with a use of cel-shading similar to Prince of Persia but even more stylish. Also a new take on beat-em-up's using only well-timed presses of a single attack button and forcing the player into the tactical limitations of only a few weapon choices. Unfortunately, could not progress past the unforgiving platforming. For a game with an advanced theme and religious undertones and presumably targeted to players in their mid-20's and up, the designers overlooked how little time and patience such an audience may have with attempting the same platforming challenge over and over and continually failing because of the ridiculous timing involved. The boss fights also got confusing with regards to victory conditions. A shame the flow of the game wasn't thought out better since there was an interesting back story and a rare look at a world not often explored in gaming (let alone action gaming). Unfortunately, none of that was compelling enough to overcome the frustrations of the 2D portions.… Full Review »