gamers (86%) found this review helpful
I'll start this off by saying it's with a heavy heart that I give this game a 5. I think more games should take the artistic risks that El Shaddai takes, but the game should also have more than just aesthetic beauty.
We all like lists, so here goes:
Pros: 1)One of the best looking games in a long time. The second level of this game had me staring for minutes at a time. Not playing, just admiring. 2)The combat is easy to pick up and does offer a challenge, even if you're really just fighting the same 3 enemies over and over.
Cons: 1)Story. It's understandable, but feels needlessly convoluted (weren't we supposed to fight 7 angels, not 4? I could be wrong.). This is a huge misstep for a game like this. 2) Platforming. Simple jumps become harder than any boss battle in this game. 3) Bosses will randomly show up and kill you, just because they can. 4) No HUD means no direction. I still don't know why I was collecting orange orbs. 5) This is nitpicking, but pausing the game (or pressing the back button) takes roughly 2-3 seconds to actually happen. I don't know why, but that frustrated me.
So basically this game is perfect for gamefly. You would never want to spend full price on it, but will gladly have it for a weekend.
posted by kaos_manifest (ANCHORAGE, AK) Aug 18, 2011
Member since Jun 2011
gamers (85%) found this review helpful
One of the appeals to this game is it's conceptual homeage to biblical mythology, if you'll excuse the vernacular. All in all, only those who know the story of Enoch (guess which book in the Bible is his story) will fully understand what's this games abstractions are about. Basically God sends an immortal human to kill these angels who have fallen to earth. Believe me, despite the esoteric narrative, it is very, very abstract.
The enviornments are beautiful and dynamic, portraying a world full of imagination and wonder. Earth must've looked pretty awesome beofre El Shaddai did that whole flood thing. Every new level's visuals are simply a joy to look at and some concepts rival visuals from games like Child of Eden. The music is great too, jumping between unique tribal hymns to pulsating synth rhythms reminiscent of Mass Effect's soundtrack. Combined with no heads up display (at least on your first playthrough), this game is really a multisensory treat.
However, this treat is stifled slightly by some bothersome gameplay qualtities. Essentially it is a third person slasher combined with platforming elements. Even if you play these games all the time, there will be a drastic learning curve for the combat due to it's simplistic but almost unintuitive game mechanics; so much so the game lets you ressurect yourself. You only have one button for all your attacks, and dishing out specific attacks requires specific button rhythms. There is no effective way to dodge in this game, just a guard button and it can be hard to use. There are other combat mechanics that are both unique and frustrating. There are strong platforming sections in this game; some are easy, others are frustrating depending on the camera, which switches from cinematic to 2D side scroller.
In conclusion, this game an entertaining, and visually it is a delight. It is gorgeous. The story is esoteric but reimaginative. The combat mechanics are crisp and focused but unintuitive.
El Shaddai is a gorgeous game to look at for the first few levels, the distinctly different styles of each level are breath taking from what looks like a feudal Japanese painting to a high tech cityscape. But then you start to realize, "I'm doing the same thing over and over again".
In a nutshell El Shaddai has you traversing through levels of long narrow hallways until it breaks into a circular room in which you fight some enemies. Did I mention there's only 3 types of enemies in the game besides bosses? After you beat them it's another long, pretty corridor or path until another fight.
There's also quite a bit of platforming in the game both 2D and 3D, the 2D platforming is fun and inventive I really found myself enjoying these parts. The 3D platforming experience however, is unpolished and frustrating due to the camera angles this game puts you in (the camera is locked always) and the problems this creates with depth perception, during these situation a jump to a platform that looks like it needs just a single jump may need a double and you end up falling, or vice versa and over compensate and jump over the platform and fall.
Also didn't like how there was no health indicator except the state of your armor, most of the time the main character is kept so small you cant see how much you're missing exactly. Also, there is a certain number of lives you have which isn't represented anywhere in the game, if you fall you start at the last check point, after a certain number of falls it will ask you to start over or go to the menu.
The story is interesting if you can keep up with it, it's certainly as colorful as the levels you go through though sometimes it can be hard to follow the details, sometimes you might find yourself asking, "why is this taking so long?" or "why am I fighting this boss?"
Overall, I feel like I'm playing a pretty, underdeveloped indie game.