El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron came out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011. In an unexpected surprise, developer and publisher Crim has ported the cult classic to PC. Now a new generation of players have the opportunity to explore the genre defining 3D action experience.
In El Shaddai, players control Enoch, who is the protagonist of the the Hebrew religious text Book of Enoch. Enoch is looking for seven angels in order to prevent a massive, humanity ending flood. Along the way players will beat waves of enemies and tons of bosses with simple but enjoyable hack ‘n’ slash mechanics. Players can choose between three different attack types. Arch gives players a fast slash ability, Gale is a projectile, and Veil is a slow but powerful bash. Players can string combos but will need to be aware of their weapon’s durability. Since items can break, the main way players can get new ones is by stealing it from their enemies. It can be repetitive but it at least looks neat.
El Shaddai‘s controls feel great, and the combat is satisfying during boss battles. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many generic enemies to exercise the controls on. El Shaddai is guilty of overusing the same few enemies over and over again. There aren’t really any major character upgrades either. The end result is a game that gets a little stale outside of bosses.
Outside of combat is some light platforming and puzzle solving. These features aren’t the highlight of the game but they certainly aren’t offensive.
Despite the game’s obvious age, it’s visual charm is undeniable. The game switches from 2D to 3D environments, and no area of the game feels the same. Despite how aged the character models are, the backgrounds are truly something else. The game leans hard into its religious source material, and every setting in the game just feels godly. Everything feels like it came from a dream.
The animations are clean and are just plain cool. The entire game is full style, with appealing art, mechanics, and a great score. The story is also interesting, making the most of the source material that inspires it. It’s a game that’s full of great ideas and if one can get over the repetitive enemies they will deeply enjoy it.
The El Shaddai PC release doesn’t bring too much new to the table. There aren’t really any new modes or changes to the gameplay. There are some nice frame rate improvements with a few upgrades to the graphics. Otherwise this is a pretty barebones port. Those who want a new reason to jump in will not find it unless they simply want a new platform for accessibility.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a hard game to recommend due to the lack of variety when it comes to gameplay. The boss battles are thrilling and the presentation is full of style. Unfortunately, the game hasn’t aged well, and fighting the same enemies with the same few weapons can feel monotonous. Fans of the genre will find some value in this package, but there isn’t much reason to revisit El Shaddai in 2021.