El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON is an extremely niche title from a decade ago. The game originally launched on PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2011 and has now finally got a PC release via Steam thanks to publisher and developer Crim.co.Ltd.
El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON thrusts players straight into the deep end right from the get go. You’ll take on the role of Enoch and will face off against a whole host of foes as you journey throughout the Earthly realms in search of 7 fallen angels. Enoch’s task is to bring these fallen angels back to Heaven for imprisonment and El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON has an underlying Biblical theme behind its story. More specifically the Hebrew “Book of Enoch”.
Players will take control of Enoch and will be able to wield mystical weapons against a range of foes that have darkness and corruption flowing through them. El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON’s gameplay involves third-person action adventuring through game environments that are ridiculously pretty. The game makes use of abstract art and varied camera angles which together with the gorgeous environmental level design makes for an extremely compelling adventure.
Using Enoch, players will attack foes with some fairly straightforward attacks. Attacking foes however imparts corruption onto Enoch’s weapon. This corruption needs to be cleansed off occasionally and thankfully this can be done by simply pressing a single button. Unfortunately for players, the combat in El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON never gets any better throughout the game. Players will be able to use their bare fists and up to 3 other types of weapons but that’s it. There isn’t any upgrading system here either so what you see is what you get. This would be fine if the game’s enemies weren’t so monotonous and damage-spongey. Fighting them off for the full 9 hours or so that it takes to complete the game becomes extremely repetitive and even by button-bashing hack and slashing standards, it’s rather painful. The fact that enemies soak up tonnes of damage honestly kills the fun factor of the game so it’s recommended to play on the easiest difficulty level just to experience the story.
Where the game does excel though is in its environmental storytelling. Each area in the game has such a beautiful almost watercolour painting kind of aesthetic that you’ll want to continue playing just to see what’s on offer next. The level design is a visual feast for the eyes and this is El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON’s saving grace. Swapping between 2D and 3D platforming is well done throughout the game.
Circling back to the weapons that Enoch uses. Players will b e able to steal one of these weapons from an enemy. Each enemy you face off against will be using a specific type of weapon be it the sawblade-esque Arche, ranged Gale or shield-like Veil. Players will find a favourite soon enough and it definitely won’t be the ranged weapon because it feels as if that one does the least damage. Once again, if the enemies in El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON weren’t so damage-spongey, the game would be a lot more fun. Couple this together with the fact that Enoch’s health is represented by layers of armour that peel off as he takes damage, it makes battles seem like a trek through sludge when instead they should have been fun.
The soundtrack in El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON is pretty good featuring some booming orchestral tracks that fit the game’s visuals perfectly. There’s also some choir singing and indecipherable chanting that goes on in some areas. It really is a shame that the gameplay of El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON is so lacklustre because every other aspect of this title was quite appealing.
Overall, El Shaddai ASCENSION OF THE METATRON on PC isn’t as great as it should be. The game doesn’t even have a graphics settings menu in-game. Instead, upon launching this title you’ll have to select a checkbox which opens a barebones option’s menu where you can select some extremely basic resolution settings and enable V-sync. It’s a port of a cult classic action adventure hack and slash game from 2011 which thankfully brings the game to a wider audience but it’s a shame that the gameplay itself isn’t as great as it could have been.
Story8/10 Very Good
Visuals8/10 Very Good
Audio8/10 Very Good
- Great environmental design
- Platforming is fun
- Intriguing premise
- Combat gameplay
- Damage soaking enemies