REVIEW: El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

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Never heard of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron? Well, that means you been living under a rock for the last couple of months. The latest game from little known developer Ignition and distributed by Konami is out in Australia, after being first released in America and Japan. But is this game actually any good?

Gabriel Huynh reviews the game after the jump.

  • Score:

    9.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    Visually is great, the music score, the simple gameplay control…

  • The Bad:

    But… Dubbing and lip syncing just misses the mark, the initial control layout

  • Bottom Line:

    Great game for the casual action gamer who appreciates minor 2D side platform

Please Note: The review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game. The PlayStaiton 3 version may differ slightly.

Story & Graphics

It uses a pretty interesting combination of traditional and modern art styles…

The story is a bit interesting, and is based on the Book of Enoch – and for those not in the know, its a religious text that is considered as part of the Bible by some minority Jewish and Christian groups, but not the mainstream counterparts.

In brief, the main story is that you are the writer Enoch, descending from heaven to aid God in seeking and recapturing seven fallen angels from destroying mankind. The character is aided by via religious figures such as Archangels (yes, really, archangels), as well as mystical creatures.

Graphics in the game are pretty good. It uses a pretty interesting combination of traditional and modern art styles in its graphics, such as Feudal Japanese art and religious stain glass images. The 3D graphics, usually in action scenes, were also okay – using strong pastel colours to make them stand out against the background. I did, however, see the rare occasional lip-sync screw up over the dubbed script, but that’s a minor annoyance.

Gameplay

Get ready to be annoyed for a few hours of gameplay…

First seeing the default button layout, we were confounded that some buttons did the exact same action, such as there were two buttons for attacking and two for jumping. Initially, I was confused and felt that it was unnecessary; but as I further progressed into the game, the confusing controls became simple and easy to use.

In other words: get ready to be annoyed for a few hours of gameplay.

With many action games the player is usually given a main weapon which they use throughout the game. This game is an exception. The player begins with nothing but his own bare hands. To compensate, the game allows three different types of weapons to be stolen from the enemy at various points of the game: a close-mid range blade, mid-long range arrows, and close range gloves. Like other action games with various weapon choices, these weapons do degrade by ‘breaking’.

In between the action, it shifts into a traditional 2D platformer. These platform segments includes minor combat sequences and changing environments. It’s an interesting contrast, but doesn’t detract much from the overall game.

Music

The main background and opening music has a feel of a church choir which expresses the main storyline of the game, combining classical and opera vocals. However the mood of the music changes depending on two factors: the environment and if a battle sequence has occurred. For the environment, the music will complement the new environments, such as in a depression and eerie area, the music will become deeper. For battle, the music changes to a traditional battle sequence with an up-tempo beat.

Conclusion

For games of this genre, the mechanics are usually important and graphics is just icing on the cake. El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, despite the confusing game mechanics and controls a bit off-putting initially, is a simple game to play and quite fun.

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