Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 46
  2. Negative: 1 out of 46
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  1. Sep 12, 2011
    It's an engaging, exciting, fearless and endlessly imaginative masterpiece with a clarity of vision that is so, so rare in traditional big-budget releases.
  2. Dec 12, 2011
    While not a perfect game, the only real nitpick I have is the platforming sometimes became a little difficult due to the art style and camera angles, it's definitely an experience that shouldn't be missed.
  3. Sep 26, 2011
    El Shaddai is the most visually interresting game I have seen so far. And beyond the visuals lies a game with great controls, balanced difficulty and an excellent mixture of fighting, 2D and 3D platforming. I love it when developers do something different and actually succeed.
  4. Sep 21, 2011
    El Shaddai is so unique that it is hard to find something similar in the modern market. The incredible combination of a stunning style, a great combat system and a crazy storyline create a superb cocktail. This is not the typical million seller, but any hardcore player should buy it.
  5. Sep 9, 2011
    It's stratospherically mad. At the point where I emerged out of a narrow corridor into what turned out to be a vast stadium and a gyrating dance master exploded from the sea in an outfit that would make Lady Gaga proud, I almost collapsed with joy. If that sounds like you, this could the best thing you buy this year.
  6. Aug 24, 2011
    A visually stunning game with simply fun action and challenging platforming, El Shaddai is only slightly marred by the death system and unoriginal mechanics.
  7. Aug 16, 2011
    The experience of a game so elegantly, artfully designed in both mechanics and visuals is something that will stay with me, even if the plot wasn't totally coherent.
  8. 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]
  9. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Jul 27, 2011
    It's consistently fascinating story and ever-evolving world - along with its minimalist and elegant gameplay - make saving the world a magnificent endeavor. [Sept 2011, p.80]
  10. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 10, 2011
    An entertaining action - adventure with strong religious overtones and quite exquisite audiovisual effects. [Oct 2011]
  11. Sep 11, 2011
    Now here's a nice surprise. This may not have been the most hyped game out there, but it delivers in almost every way. A fresh and original style, interesting gameplay… El Shaddai does everything right, except for the way it tells its story.
  12. Sep 21, 2011
    El Shaddai is a unique game in its kind, thanks to a unique and artistic design, a fascinating plot and a decent gameplay. Visionary, fascinating, hypnotic, is a good title but not suitable for all players.
  13. Sep 18, 2011
    I really enjoyed El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron as it provides gamers with something a little left out of centre with some gorgeous graphics, simplistic yet challenging gameplay and a world that is so different that you will be craving to come back.
  14. Aug 17, 2011
    When you do strip away the deep religious overtones, what you have is one of the best action adventure platformers this year, with pacing that is often reminiscent of 8- and 16-bit side scrollers.
  15. Sep 1, 2011
    El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a work of surprising confidence. Combat that favors leveling up the player's, not that avatar's, skill set is worthy of admiration, as is a wildly imaginative, frenzied art department that never allows their beautiful work to overstay its welcome.
  16. 80
    El Shaddai it's a great game because of its concept and mixture of that creates on the player, and should be taken into account by those who seek something more than a game.
  17. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Oct 6, 2011
    Taken as a whole, El Shaddai is a remarkable achievement, as beautiful as it is baffling. While its quirks prevent us from recommending it wholesale, for those of you who crave innovation and imagination in your gaming diet, this is something you simply cannot afford to miss. [November 2011 p78]
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Sep 14, 2011
    Full of multiple themes that probably shouldn't work, but do. The end result is a solid hack 'n slash title set against jaw-dropping visuals with more than its fair share of eccentricities.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Sep 5, 2011
    Aside from the bananas plot, what makes El Shaddai unique is its looks. [Oct 2011, p.116]
  24. Aug 18, 2011
    Combines gorgeous artistic design with enticing combat to create a memorable adventure.
  25. 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.
  26. Aug 16, 2011
    El Shaddai isn't perfect, but it has more than enough breathtaking moments to make the journey worthwhile.
  27. Sep 9, 2011
    It's somehow odd: Its style is psychedelic at best, the graphics aren't quite up to date and the fighting's a bit repetitive. Nevertheless, the charme of the game and the great atmosphere make up for that, big time.
  28. Oct 3, 2011
    You'll either love or hate it, but El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is impossible to ignore.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Sep 20, 2011
    Repetitious gameplay and confusing plot drag down what is otherwise a breathtaking audio and visual experience. Visually there is absolutely nothing else like it, which alone warrants a serious look.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Sep 9, 2011
    When it all clicks El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a beautiful, exciting, fast paced game that is bursting with ideas. Unfortunately the latter half of the game fails to recreate the initial rush and the 3D platforming mechanics aren't particularly strong, leading to much frustration.
  37. Sep 8, 2011
    El Shaddai isn't perfect, then, but it's got a lot going for it because of the sheer energy that's gone into its construction: energy you can see in the focused poise of its combat, and in the game's astonishing desire to top itself with each new vista it flings before you.
  38. 70
    One of the most beautiful video games ever made and if the gameplay isn't quite as angelic it's perfectly righteous in its own way.
  39. Sep 6, 2011
    You may love it or hate it, but El-Shaddai was necessary for the industry, a risky game that tries something different and innovative.
  40. Sep 12, 2011
    El Shaddai is an unconventional and beautiful game that seduces with its ideas rather than its gameplay.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. Sep 8, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  44. 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.
  45. Aug 16, 2011
    In the end, El Shaddai attempts to do too much, and much of what it does it doesn't do well.
  46. Sep 21, 2011
    I won't deny that it has a great art style, but the rest of the game could have certainly used the same attention to detail.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 46
  2. Negative: 2 out of 46
  1. Aug 16, 2011
    El 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.El 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 »
  2. May 27, 2012
    Highly 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 onlyHighly 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 »
  3. Aug 16, 2011
    Wholeheartedly agree, El Shaddai goes beyond what many players will expect when they unwrap this game. While the art design and visuals goWholeheartedly 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 »