Review by imagine606
"Beautiful, Creative, but Average"
Before I got this game I had seen the beautiful screen shots, I had read the very average to even at times poor reviews, and I had figured out the whole subject matter to the game. The mediocre reviews were not enough to prevent me from eventually picking this game up and giving it a shot. I mean, the visuals I saw were just way too cool for me to not at least give it a shot. How bad could it be? I am a fan of slasher type action adventure games. I love the God of War series, I liked Dante's Inferno, which not only was a bit of a slasher adventure type of game, but also had religious themes like this game. So really, could it be all that bad?
The answer is no. The game isn't all that bad. However, where it is spectacular in some areas, it is painfully average in other areas, and has a couple of things that I found to be plain bad. At the same time, it's the entire body of work and how the whole winds up being that really matters. There was no one of these things that totally was able to override everything else, so it really does have that going.
Anyway, onto the details. The visuals were already something I knew would be a strength of this game. However, when I started playing the game I realized that I was in for more than I bargained. The first 30-45 minutes of the game were what I expected. However, once you get further on in the game and start going to different areas it gets even more astonishing. From beautiful landscapes to very quirky areas, it's all very beautiful and a lot of fun to go through. There are times when it goes a bit too far and makes it a bit confusing as to the depth or actual direction you need to go in, but those moments are few and far between.
The music in the game leaves a bit to be desired. It's not terrible, but at times it just doesn't fit what's going on in the game and sounds a bit awkward. There times when it works out perfectly, but for most of the game it's there and just not really doing anything. It doesn't really immerse you in the game, as it's a bit poppy too often for that, but it doesn't actually kill any part of the game for me either, it just doesn't really do what I feel like it can and should do.
The story of the game is where things really wind up going all over the place. The premise is excellent, it's based on Biblical texts. You play as Enoch, who, in the Bible was a righteous man who never really died. I don't know the story too well, but I guess he ascended up to Heaven without dying and can come back whenever he wants. I got a degree in Philosophy, but I never really studied that story too much, and while I was raised in a religious home I never really got that far into it, neither did my parents. Anyway, as Enoch in this game you are pretty much given a mission from God. I'm not going to go too deep into it so that there are no spoilers, but I will say that this is a plot that really brings a ton of potential. However, in the end it really fell short of that potential and just wound up being a bland story by today's game standards where you continue along trying to help a person and save...I guess the world from an evil takeover. There were good moments to it, but as a whole it just wasn't anything special.
The gameplay was pretty solid. First off, for an action/adventure/slasher game it was pretty long. The combat for the most part is more evolved than with a lot of the slashers out there. At the same time, I'm someone who doesn't play games for the difficulty, I just want to relax and have some fun, so to be entirely honest, I didn't find the combat to be as fun, even if it was better done for a large part. Another part of the gameplay is the controls. While the general controls were well done, and there was a lot that could be done with a simple system, at the same time there were some minor lags at times as well. One such case was during battle at times when there would be a lot going on at once, and often when an enemy would attack the button to defend yourself would be slow to react. I've played a lot of games, and it wasn't just a case of me not getting it down in time. At certain times I knew there would be no way that I would be late on it, passing on an extra shot, but it still wouldn't have me defending on time. However, as a whole the combat wasn't so hard that this would turn the outcome of the battle. There was also a lot of platforming in the game. The jumping was pretty good, you could double jump, you could slow down your jump in the air. Nothing fancy, pretty much normal jumping mechanics. The platforming itself was pretty basic. The worst you would get would be moving platforms.
The characters in this game were okay. Enoch was pretty much a silent protagonist. There were a couple of fun characters you meet along the way as well. There are also a couple of annoying characters, probably the worst offender being the character that you save at. The biggest problem I had with the characters in this game is that there wasn't a whole lot of...well, character to them.
The game wound up being a bit of a disappointment, but it wasn't one that I didn't expect. This is still a solid game. It's not a great game, but like I said, a solid game. You will be blown away by the visuals, but may find the story, music, and characters to be lacking. As a whole though, I'm glad I played this game.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/12
Game Release: El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (US, 08/16/11)
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