Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 44
  2. Negative: 2 out of 44
Buy On
  1. Aug 21, 2011
    It's just brave and fun, two things most games only dream of being.
  2. Aug 16, 2011
    A game like El Shaddai is something that comes along only a few times in each console generation. The beautiful visuals, fantastic environments, solid (though slightly flawed) gameplay, and rich mythology combine to make a game quite unlike anything you've ever played.
  3. Game Informer
    Aug 16, 2011
    A visually arresting experience I wholeheartedly loved...A rare treat of a game and a celebration of video games as an art form. [Sept 2011, p.88]
  4. Sep 4, 2011
    This game is a game of beauty, of love, of loss, but most importantly this is a game that showcases every aspect of El Shaddai, or God Almighty.
  5. Games Master UK
    Sep 25, 2011
    It's bound for cult status, but this divine action game deserves to be experienced by all. [Nov 2011, p.80]
  6. Aug 16, 2011
    Though El Shaddai could've used a little more replay value (or perhaps even some online multiplayer – not just leaderboard support), this game definitely looks and sounds like the sort of product that deserves multiple playthroughs, if only to relive its majesty for repeat visits and see what a talented development team can do.
  7. Aug 16, 2011
    Many games aspire toward aesthetic sophistication, but only a precious few manage to emerge as great game in the process. El Shaddai achieves this, and it leaves you smitten and awestruck. It's both simple to grasp and rich enough to keep you coming back for more. Those seeking something refreshingly different will be well rewarded by this rare and original experience.
  8. CD-Action
    Nov 9, 2011
    It's a pity that a game with such phenomenal and unusual visuals has such simple game mechanics, being a simple slasher that uses just one attack button and offers a limited array of enemies. [November 2011, p.70]
  9. Sep 16, 2011
    El Shaddai offers a unique experience trough fantastically weird environments, accompanied by beautifully fitting music. Along with the solid gameplay it makes for a great game, though it is slightly pestered by a lack of variation and camera issues.
  10. Sep 15, 2011
    Ignition has created the probably best designed experience of 2011, that together with a combination of a unique presentation and deep combat will make your heart bleed and soul sing.
  11. games(TM)
    Sep 13, 2011
    A game that's less concerned with making you think and more with making you feel. [Issue#113, p.106]
  12. Sep 12, 2011
    It can feel a little dated in terms of its approach to combat, but the game is so beautiful, so different, so utterly weird and wonderful that this is of no real consequence.
  13. Sep 9, 2011
    A beautifully crafted game that brings us to a magic world that doesn't take itself too seriously. With splendid artistic design, it lacks in gameplay, which is too classic in the hack 'n' slash genre and becomes repetitive quickly.
  14. Sep 9, 2011
    Like a kaleidoscope, El Shaddai offers a constant variety – sometimes confusing and out of focus, but often sparkling brilliantly. So long as you're not looking for any deeper meaning, you'll find plenty of novelty and beauty here, if not quite an eternity.
  15. If you're stuck for a Devil May Cry substitute, give this a whirl. It's a little too scanty to qualify as God's gift to action gaming, but it's definitely going to heaven when it dies.
  16. Sep 8, 2011
    Those who are prepared to forgive El Shaddai its eccentricities will truly adore it. This game is capable of garnering cult-like worship, which in a way is fitting, given its source material.
  17. Sep 8, 2011
    Even more so than the likes of Child of Eden or Okami, El Shaddai is one of those rare games that's worth playing simply for the quality of its art direction alone, crushing the idea that only games with standout gameplay are deserving of your time.
  18. Sep 3, 2011
    A divine game that behaves like a classical painting. Color and design in a game of jumps and nonstop action. Everything is traditional and uneventful, but everything is beautiful. El Shaddai is certainly a different product.
  19. Aug 16, 2011
    El Shaddai is such a gorgeous game that it would have been worth playing even if the combat was merely average. But developer Ignition Entertainment gave reasons to play beyond its outstanding visual design. The combat system makes excellent use of its narrow moveset to create an enticing experience that demands focus and determination to prevail.
  20. Aug 16, 2011
    It paints so beautifully on its canvas that we feel anyone could enjoy that, though we wish the gameplay could always be as grand as the visual design. The combat never falters, but doesn't do enough new, and at times the platforming drags, though that shouldn't deter you from the overall experience.
  21. Sep 7, 2011
    Truly a masterpiece in terms of graphics and soundtrack, but loses itself when it comes to playing the game, especially the combat system too much limited. The story is quite interesting, it takes a lot of references from different religions, but the plot sometimes shows huge holes and characters without a background story.
  22. Aug 17, 2011
    I like about a half of it, and I dislike the other half. I like it as an art piece and I dislike it as a game. Heck, I'd say that its actually much more fun to watch than it is to play.
  23. Nov 15, 2011
    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.
  24. Sep 13, 2011
    Despite a wonderful art design and graphics and sound at the state of art El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is not the masterpiece we were looking for. The team lost the way, expanding the richness of visual style but forgetting about the real deal: gameplay.
  25. Sep 19, 2011
    Despite it's downfalls, El Shaddai is a memorable experience from start to finish. It offers a quirkiness and sense of style that is not only unique, it's surprisingly refreshing.
  26. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Sep 19, 2011
    A crazy, constantly surprising switch of gaming styles. [Nov 2011, p.106]
  27. Sep 13, 2011
    A unique game, with great and distinctive artistic design; if you can turn a blind eye on the somewhat repetitive gameplay and quite short longevity, it could prove to be one of the most memorable visual experiences of this generation.
  28. Aug 16, 2011
    Is El Shaddai unconventional just for the sake of being different, or were the developers going for something bigger? Is being such an abstract game (on multiple levels) the overall point? Ultimately, I don't know the answer to these questions, but I'd definitely call El Shaddai an unconventional game and an entertaining adventure despite some of the creative gaps.
  29. 75
    Between the stages' constantly changing art style, the strange story, the unforgettable cast, and the novel take on action combat, this game is definitely worth checking out for people seeking something new. [Sept 2011, p.74]
  30. Sep 10, 2011
    Perhaps the most artistically beautiful game I've ever played, it's easy to get lost in the gorgeous environments. Once or twice the art style did take away from the gameplay, appearing as if static was affecting my television and making depth perception harder to comprehend.
  31. Sep 23, 2011
    This obscure take on a legend of the Jewish religion has a remarkable art direction and some of the most beautiful graphics we've ever seen. Too bad the combat system is shallow and the overall gameplay doesn't live up to the standards of the art department.
  32. Sep 19, 2011
    One of the best visual experiments of the last few years.
  33. Sep 19, 2011
    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.
  34. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Sep 19, 2011
    Gorgeous, enjoyable and absolutely nutty, El Shaddai is full of ideas. However, it doesn't put them all to good use, and its beautiful world is merely a facade to dress up the repetitive combat. [Issue#76, p.86]
  35. Sep 15, 2011
    A game unlike no other. Every minor failing in gameplay or plot was cancelled out by a graphical marvel or auditory explosion.
  36. Sep 12, 2011
    El Shaddai is an unconventional and beautiful game that seduces with its ideas rather than its gameplay.
  37. Oct 23, 2011
    El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a linear action-brawler, and at some basic levels of design no more ambitious than your standard God of War game.
  38. Sep 30, 2011
    Ambitious and gorgeous, but too simplistic and repetitive.
  39. Sep 15, 2011
    A game this rich in inspiration and bizarre in interpretation should be beheld; to be played, it seems, was not El Shaddai's priority.
  40. Sep 9, 2011
    El Shaddai is a game that seduces with its looks, atmosphere and little ideas rather than its gameplay. This beat'em all is far from a Bayonetta or a God of War for sure, but it mesmerizes nonetheless with its hallucinated and daring visuals, its soundtrack and its very personal way - to say the least - of interpreting a religious text. One does not come out unscathed from the experience... whether it is in a good or bad way, depending on one's appreciation of the value of the form over the substance, or the artistic approach over the efficiency of a gameplay.
  41. Sep 9, 2011
    This game is all about the looks: the imagery on offer here is simply spectacular. But what is the message? We have no clue. The gameplay is lacking and overly simplistic. If you're looking for the next "art-game", look no further, but don't expect to play something that's truly fun.
  42. Aug 16, 2011
    In the end, El Shaddai attempts to do too much, and much of what it does it doesn't do well.
  43. Oct 27, 2011
    El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron could have been a well executed mix of action and platforming, with a unique and artistic look. The combat system is interesting at first, but turns out to be too monotone and simple. With better combat mechanics and a more interesting story, it would have more to offer than simply good looks.
  44. Aug 23, 2011
    I'm all for experimentalism and maverick design, but there needs to be a game there and a sense of purpose to back it up. El Shaddai has neither.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. Sep 4, 2011
    I was intrigued by the first good reviews even though the game was based on the bible. Which the bible was based on past religions from theI was intrigued by the first good reviews even though the game was based on the bible. Which the bible was based on past religions from the grecian times, so maybe it might be good based on this idea. This was not the case at all. The beginning of this game is kinda goofy, with no complete pretext on whats going on and this continues throughout the whole game. Fight bosses in tower...O,K., I can do that, but it continues to par you up to bosses that have a script to kill you and kill you good. No chance what so ever. I know this is a method used in this game to give you an idea on how far you need to go or how far you have come along, but it fails because of the dragging load times and annoying reminders of how to stay alive. Another method used is platforming. Platforming has become rampant in recent games and I loathe it in this day and age no matter how 'pretty' it is. It's linear and sleep inducing. it's jumping and falling. It's repetitive and all 60 dollar games should not have this in it in this day and age. another very awful mechanic is the cut scene, death scenes. Jumping in the darkness when 'searching' for bones leads to a painful death and credits screen about 5 min in length. Torture. I tried to give this game a chance just to say I finished it, but I couldn't take the repetitiveness of waiting for the game to load only to die again and again and again. I did play it on the hardest setting but my Xbox Hard drive had more action than I did playing this game. The back ground design of levels is amazing but you can't venture into it. This game, in total, is a waste of a visual designers talents meets a horrible game designer, in my opinion. Rent, if you like being tortured and not in a Demons souls way either. Oh and by the way this game has a total of probably 7 types of enemies and 3 weapons. Full Review »
  2. Aug 26, 2013
    It is the unique artistic design, storyline and topic that makes El Shaddai a unique gaming experience. Nothing like it exists on console, youIt is the unique artistic design, storyline and topic that makes El Shaddai a unique gaming experience. Nothing like it exists on console, you have to look at modern indie PC games for equally unique visuals. So if you want a game that stands out on your shelf this is it. The gameplay is a combination of 2D and 3D platforming with combat. Mostly combat though. The combat is not overly technical you only have to memorize ten or so button combinations, which is not a lot for this type of game. However having less button combinations to memorize made the game more enjoyable to me, I prefer being able to master a few moves over trying to recollect a tonne of them. I simply have more fun this way. Besides, mastering them can be difficult and the enemies are not that easy to beat. In addition, enemies require you to use specific weapons in order to beat them in the most efficient way. So there is a heavy trial and error aspect to El Shaddai. You also don't have much armor and health. By now you should realize that this is definitely not a button-mashing game. You need to play smart and master the combat. I had a great time with El Shaddai, I have done two playthroughs of it since I first bought it. For me the game has a high replay value because of the unique visuals and uncomplicated combat style. Like I said earlier, nothing like it exists on the 360 console. Full Review »
  3. Jun 1, 2013
    I have bought a decent amount of bad games but this tops it all. I admit that while the graphics are unusual and interesting it can not redeemI have bought a decent amount of bad games but this tops it all. I admit that while the graphics are unusual and interesting it can not redeem the whole game.

    The story is some Jewish-christian tale taken from the Bible and as an idea I found it intriguing. But the game barely tells you any of the background of this story and all I understood was that my dude's name was Eunuch (or something like that), I must defeat the fallen angels and this guy who helps me by talking on the phone is actually talking to God.

    Game play sounded exciting at first, but after trying it I realized that there are 3 different weapons you can use and 7 different enemy types bosses. So I thought it's cool and complex at first, then I realized that I can just take the ranged type weapon and spam the attack and jump button to kill all the enemies. The boss fights were a nice change of pace but not enough to divert you from the boring combat that kept on repeating itself. Moving around is done by platforming around, with not too great controls might I add, and the game repeated that jump, fight, jump, fight, go to some kind of freakish teleport and jump and fight again

    The game also likes to jump to some totally random boss fights that you can't win and just leaves you with a WTF feeling and just puts you back to the place where you originally were.

    So the only thing that I found to be good was the soundtrack and the graphics. Sometimes I would just stop fighting to listen to the background music and the visuals are stunning. Even the 2D phases looked good and I mostly enjoyed watching the scenery of this game.

    So to sum it up, good scenery and music. game play and story, unless you deem it worth it to research the story yourself, and not worth the relatively high price, even when bought used
    Full Review »