Wed. May 29th, 2024

[Review] El Shaddai – Nintendo Switch

By Elly Oak Apr26,2024
Developed and Published By: Crim Inc.
Categories: Action, Platformer
Release Date: 04.28.24
Price: $29.99

So. How does one properly, accurately describe El Shaddai? Imagine if someone made a religion based game, but not about all of the preachy moral based tales, but more about the mythology behind it all? In particular, the Book of Enoch. You control the titular Enoch as he is set upon to find seven fallen angels as to prevent a great flood. As someone who is rather ignorant to most parts of religion and it’s scriptures, this while immensely fascinating to me, is a bit over my head. Suppose it’s motivation to read.

Now, a game made in Japan, funded by a Western publisher, owned by an Indian media conglomerate, all about a religion is strange enough as is. But the pedigree behind the game should attract players. The director and lead designer Sawaki Takeyasu was a previous employee of Capcom and Clover Studios designing for games such as Devil May Cry and Okami. With this, you’d assume El Shaddai is an action game, and you’d be correct…somewhat. Sometimes it’s an action game, but you’re not graded like others. Sometimes it’s a platformer. It’s not exactly deep as an action game, but does get the job done and has some unique points. You have your standard attacks, counters, charge attacks, and blocks. That’ll do just fine, but you also can purify these enemies to steal and cleanse a weapon of which there are three. Each having a strength and weakness to another, like a rock paper scissors game with action. My favorite of which is the Gale, your long ranged weapon, which almost makes the game feel like a very rudimentary shooter at times.

The gameplay isn’t exactly the draw for this game however. One look at the character and monster designs, or especially the environments will show and tell you, it’s all about the art design. Abstract is the key word. Environments are often bizarre, nonsensical, but striking and beautiful. They’re all unique, all creative, and all memorable. And while standard enemy encounters don’t often stay with you long, the boss fights will as they’re just as unique.

El Shaddai’s introduction is the perfect showcase of how chooses to showcase it’s strength. You’ll start, you’ll play a tad to get the gist of the title down. Then you get to a strong opponent. Perhaps too powerful. You’re overpowered. You’re told how to keep on fighting, but it doesn’t work. You’re sent back to the title screen. But don’t give up! It’s time to start again. Properly. And with this, the game begins proper, and Enoch’s quest can begin.

This is all talking about the game as a whole, but how is this new Nintendo Switch port that arrives over a decade after the original? As far as I can tell, it seems like a bit of a smoother experience, but not a huge upgrade. About what I’d expect. I’m happy to have the game natively portable at the very least. The more of these niche games we get modern releases, especially on Switch, the better. Take the time to complete the game to get more out of the admittedly unfinished and open story as well.

Final Thoughts

I think that games like El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron are a tad misplaced in the modern age. At least when we consider games that would be released by a publisher and not independent developers. It’s unique, a new IP with esoteric subject matter. Actually, what am I talking about, this would be considered misplaced whenever it came out, even if it was in the glory days of action games on the PS2 as I can only imagine it’d be considered “too Japanese”. But fuck all of that, it feels right at home for me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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