What did I just play?
In the literal sense, it was the demo of Ignition Entertainment’s El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, a Japanese action game. But past that, I don’t have a clue about what I played. I know I liked it though!
Here’s what I know from simply playing the demo. You play as the biblical character Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. There’s some chick fallen angel named Ezekiel that’s watching you as you make your way through the Tower of Babel, presumably to slay Ezekiel. Honestly, there’s not much telling you whats going on in this demo.
From what I’ve read about the game, it’s an adaptation of some of the Apocrypha Old Testament books like Dead Sea Scrolls and chiefly “the Book of Enoch.”
God has entrusted a group of Angels, the Watchers, to watch over humanity. The angels become obsessed with Earth and humans and turn against God to become the Fallen Angels. God is going to destroy the planet with a great flood, but is talked out of it by Lucifel (Lucifer), who at this time is still a trusted servant (not a serpent). So God picks the pure-spirited human Enoch to go destroy seven fallen angels to prevent the flood from happening. Enoch is guided in his quest by Lucifel and the four Archangels: Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel, and Michael.
Enoch wears armor that can break off until he’s wearing only blue jean pants. I would question why Enoch is wearing bluejeans, but then Lucifel is wearing a sweet suit and talking on a cell phone. It’s best not to try and make sense of it I suppose.
The game has a really weird art-style. Don’t let the word “weird” fool you though, it’s actually pretty neat. There’s some Okami style art in there, which isn’t surprising considering the lead developer on the project is Takeyasu Sawaki, a character designer for Okami and Devil May Cry.
El Shaddai is an action game with 2D and 3D platforming sequences. Combat is pretty simple using one of the three weapons (only two in the demo), as you pretty much slash your way through enemies (or shoot darts at them) by mashing the square button (I played the PS3 demo). X jumps and double jumps, R1 guards, and L1 will steal weapons from enemies and purify them. Weapons become corrupt, and since Enoch is a pure spirit working for God, he needs to have his weapons purified to work their best.
The platforming sequences are actually pretty neat, especially the 2D scenes. Some sections are really quite beautiful, such as jumping across the white waves as Ezekiel watches and changes the lighting from day to night. Some of the 3D sections kind of blended together to the point where I only jumped when I should have double jumped, but was never bad enough in the demo to become frustrating.
I like the art style a lot. It’s different in its own way, and that’s a good thing. I like God of War games and games that use the same type of combat (and yes I know God of War didn’t invent the combat system). I like pretty much everything about it, even though the demo really didn’t hint at the story. It’s almost as if they assumed you’ve been keeping up with the game and already knew the story before playing the demo. What little there is of it in the demo (it’s about 15 to 20 minutes long), combined with what I’ve read about it (I really like that it’s based on the Book of Enoch), as me interested in this game.
It’s not going to be for everyone; the art-style itself will be a big turnoff to a lot of gamers, but my recommendation would be that you definitely check out the demo on PS3 or Xbox 360 if you haven’t already done so (it’s been out for about a month). You can definitely tell its a Japanese game, but it’s well worth checking out, especially if you’re into the religious aspect of the game (which I am).
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron has been available in Japan since late April, and will be hitting store shelves in North America on July 26, 2011 for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It’s coming to Europe on September 9, 2011.
Video of the full of the demo: