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Posted by drew10 on Oct 10, 2011
El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron – UTV Ignition – Konami – PS3

El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron – UTV Ignition – Konami – PS3

Never before have I started a review having played a game from start to finish yet not knowing how to explain what I have just experienced. Anyway here goes….

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, is quite simply one of the most bizarre yet enthralling games I have ever played. Loosely based on religious texts, very loosely I would suggest, El Shaddai puts you in control of Enoch a ‘just human’ who is tasked with travelling to earth to battle seven fallen angels and return them to heaven where they will be imprisoned. To help you on your quest you are guided by the angel Lucifel, who is in constant contact with God via a mobile phone, yeah now you are getting the picture.

Basically, the game is platformer that comprises of mainly 3D levels interspersed with 2D sections. Enoch is able to battle enemies with a variety of moves as well as a selection of three weapons. The Arch – a two-handed weapon with a serrated blade on it, quick and able to deal a descent amount of damage. The Gale – a ranged weapon that allows you to throw fast projectiles at enemies and The Veil – a large shield that is split into two heavy weapons and used like boxing gloves. Whilst the combat system is pretty straight forward with only two attack buttons, timing and counter-attacking are essential for success.

This game is quite simply insane, you traverse some of the most gorgeous yet seizure-inducing levels ever seen in a title. These can range from washed-out, water colour, ice levels to the neon-coated entry to the tower that has fireworks going off all around whilst millions of humans sing praises below. However the oddness doesn’t stop there, you will be thrust into 2D levels, reminiscent of something Shigeru Myamoto would create after a week hanging out Pete Doherty. And where it said in the bible “And low Enoch jumped aboard his enormous motorbike and battled robots at eye-bleeding speeds.” I do not know. Although I must confess my knowledge of the bible is limited. Now I hope you are starting to get the picture. I can honestly say that never before have I played a game that had me saying, “I have absolutely no idea what is going on!” So many times.

Developed by UTV Ignition’s Japanese studio and led by Sawaki Takeyasu who is responsible for games like Devil May Cry, Okami and Viewtiful Joe. It shows, the game simply drips Japan with many anime inspired elements. The graphical quality of this title is simply breathtaking. It is rare that you will ever play a game that has so much artistic integrity. Each level is portrayed in such a way that it could have been hand-crafted by some of the worlds top artists, and the variation is simply astounding. Although some of the levels are so laced with artistic talent that it makes them difficult to play without descending into some kind of drug induced psychosis.

The originality of the story and the level design is not matched within the gameplay however. You find yourself constantly moving from one battle to another quickly realising that as soon as you reach a large flat space a battle will commence. The enemies vary very little throughout the game making these battle sequences ultimately repetitive. The platform sections are fiddly at best and sections will have you biting the pad in frustration as yet again you miss a landing. Yet you will find yourself persevering through morbid curiosity as to what UTV Ignition will dish up next. A special mention must go to the boss battles which are massive and inventive.

I don’t know whether I have managed to convey exactly what playing El Shaddai is like but I think the best advice I can give is that you simply must experience it. It is unlike anything thing that has gone before, yes elements feel overly familiar but as a whole package it is unique. The graphical style will not be for everyone’s taste that is for certain but you G4A regulars will appreciate the uniqueness of the title, and in a world of carbon-copy games and sequels uniqueness needs to be celebrated, or dare I say praised?


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