First of all, I must say that the art direction of this game is stunning. There's no other game in my recollection that has ever looked like it. It's an anime dreamscape with intensely rich colors that continually burst with surprising fluidic motion, all set to a marvelously serene-then-propulsive score.
However, the storyline and gameplay are so abstract, they're almost incomprehensible. There is no heads-up display, the camera angles are always (always!) fixed, there's only a single combat button with a seemingly useless "purification" feature, lots of repetitive jumping and fight sequences, a supremely odd ability to resurrect yourself during combat, no method for dodging attacks, no way to tell how much health you or your enemies have, and a difficult-to-follow narrative that couldn't be more confusing if David Lynch had filmed The Bible. You'll find yourself wondering where you are, why you're there, and what the heck you're even doing.
So, if you enjoy beautiful scenery, repetitive jumping puzzles, and constantly mashing the same button over and over, then El Shaddai is the game for you.
gamers (50%) found this review helpful
A game like El Shaddai is something that comes along only a few times in each console generation. The beautiful visuals, fantastic environments, solid (though slightly flawed) gameplay, and rich mythology combine to make a game quite unlike anything you've ever played. It has its occasional frustrations, but when the overall experience is this fantastic, you will be more than willing to put up with a few little annoyances. Above all, El Shaddai is a gaming experience you won't soon forget, and one that's worth every penny of its price of admission.
PROS: Breathtakingly beautiful and imaginative visuals and environments; hosts a variety of well-realized gameplay styles and elements; unique narrative with an unconventional structure.
CONS: Standard combat can be a bit tedious; story might be hard for some to follow; framerate can be inconsistent.