The lights are on
El Shaddai is trippy. As Andrew Reiner wrote in his review about the 2011 release,
it's as close as he'll ever get to knowing to what it's like to be on
hallucinogenic drugs. The experience of playing El Shaddai is unmatched; it's a
testament to how the developers let their imaginations run wild, creating
mind-bending landscapes with intense kaleidoscopic colors.
During my trek, I was mesmerized by the creativity,
ambition, and uniqueness of it all. The art style has no boundaries, and I
encourage anyone who hasn't touched the game to play it for this reason. So
often in the industry landscapes and visions become contrived, typical, and
developers refuse to color outside the lines. Developer Ignition Entertainment doesn't even recognize
the lines exist. Its artistic risks are equivalent to a child who doesn't
follow the rules, takes a chance that goes against the norm - and is better for
it. Takeyasu Sawaki, who worked on art for Okami and Devil May Cry, took his talent a step further with his team for El Shaddai and it shows.
Few games make me stop and look at the scenery, but in El
Shaddai, it's impossible not to soak up the psychedelic visuals. In one area,
the world looks painted by watercolors, in another the darkness is illuminated
by neon eyes. The best part? Platforming through these levels that feel like
they came straight out of a dream world. You also never know what to expect
when playing El Shaddai with the backdrops and plot. Things take bizarre
twists, and just when you think you've adjusted to the zaniness, it amplifies
tenfold, leaving you dazed and confused.
And the game wants just that - to make you think about more
than what's on the surface. Foreshadowing and motifs flood it. The fact that
the story is religious and based on an actual sacred work, the Book of Enoch,
might have made it a difficult tale to tell, but El Shaddai makes it work. If
anything, the narrative keeps you on edge, with an eerie feeling that things
are not what they seem - as if there's some darkness behind this beautiful
Throw in the fluid and fun combat, where you punch the
equipment off enemies, then acquire their weaponry. It keeps things interesting
with counterattacking and combos. It may not be the most complex battles you've
encountered, but it's fun to switch weapons and ruin an enemy's day. And don't
even get me started on the cool Tron-like motorcycle levels...
What I love so much about El Shaddai is its uncompromised
vision; not walking away from being different, but totally owning it. My quest
kept making me ask questions like, "Are we too rigid in our approaches to art
in games?" If you want to embrace something that goes off the rails and paints
a world unlike any you've entered before, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
is begging you to step in. And on this Memorial Day, I want to celebrate it for
being one of the most unique experiences in gaming.
Want to know more? See for yourself below when Reiner and former editor Phil Kollar showcased
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
I love El Shaddai. I need to get my copy back from my friend.
The game was trash and pretty colors didn't save it.
It's definitely one of the weirdest games I've ever played. I enjoyed it nonetheless.
What an odd game.
I see games like this and I cant help but pick them up. There are a lot of Biblical terms and referencing in this game. I'm going to say something that will make me seem like an a** but oh well. If you're smart and actually pay attention to your game and enjoy it for more than beating the heck out of demons then you would understand a lot the art and referencing. The game isnt just the story the worlds also explain a lot too. All in all I enjoyed the game the music was strange but some actually were nice. The only game I could compare this to is Killer 7 because the story was so hard to understand and the art style was just all over the place. The game play was something else too but I still enjoy my copy of the game every now and then.
I rented this from Gamefly and beat it. It was a very interesting game. It had a great soundtrack and beautiful art. I am glad to say so far out of all the cult classic games GI is posting, I have played nearly all of them, save for a few.
My only complain is how perception would be messed with in platforming sections making them harder than needed. Thankfully a forgiving check point system moved it along.
Maybe the most unique game/experience I played past 5 years. Highly suggest it for the sub $20 you can find it for now.
Always wanted to give Metatron a try. I've heard very divisive opinions about it on either side, but it's articles like this that at least motivate me to check 'em out. Thanks Kim!
This looked interesting, but not sure I have the time to add it to my backlog.