“El Shaddai” is more than just a pretty face



“El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron” may have the longest title of any game this year, but it is also the prettiest game to be released this year by far.

“El Shaddai” is one of the few games that is based on a book, an actual book in Judaic texts, the book of Enoch. Enoch is charged to bring fallen angels back to heaven to prevent the elder council of heaven from flooding the world for humanity’s sins. It’s an interesting premise that provides a unique backdrop, but never tries to preach or push any agenda.

Obviously, “El Shaddai” has more going for it than its fantastic visuals, but those visuals stand out the most. There are multiple environm

ents that range from a side-scrolling, beach ball infested platforming section to a futuristic motorcycle chase inspired by “Tron.” None of these elements ever feel out of place and complement each other so well that the change is never disruptive.

The gameplay is split between third-person exploration/combat and side-scrolling platforming. In any other game, the addition of platforming only takes away from the combat experience; it feels more like a chore to hop around platforms to get to a new section just for another fight. “El Shaddai” evades this problem by containing each gameplay type to its own respective level.

Any action game is only as good as its combat, and “El Shaddai” does not disappoint. While the combat may seem simple and perhaps to a fault at first, the game does not explain everything from the start. The combat is more about exploring Enoch’s abilities while the player joins him on his journey. While there are only three weapons, this leads to a rock-paper-scissors style of combat where one weapon can be weak against one enemy and strong against others. The player is forced to steal weapons from other enemies to take advantage of these weaknesses. This keeps the player focused on the combat constantly instead of just mashing a button to win.

“El Shaddai” is the most interesting game I have played this year. It takes an established genre and flips it, takes a seemingly normal book and turns it into an epic action game.

“El Shaddai” is a breath of fresh air in a pretty stale action game market. From its visuals to its simple-yet-complex combat system, “El Shaddai” brings plenty of new things to the coffee table of action games. It should not be missed. If I could roll around in radiation and grow extra thumbs, I would.