A demo of UTV Ignition’s El-Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is now available on PSN and Xbox Live. El-Shaddai is directed by Takeyasu Sawaki, formerly of Capcom and a designer for Devil May Cry and Okami, Capcom’s stunning take on the Legend of Zelda formula. In this game, you are a human named Enoch, who must track down angels sent to Earth to watch over the human race on the eve of the Great Flood, under the guidance of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel.
As a creation of one of the main designers of Okami, El-Shaddai features its own cel-shaded surrealistic take, however, the different religious tradition involved of necessity dictated a change in the art style. Okami, set in a mythological version of ancient Japan, took its artistic cues from traditional Japanese ukiyo-e printing (the most recognizable work of ukiyo-e art to most Westerners being The Great Wave Off Kanigawa, by Hokusai.) El-Shaddai, by contrast, draws most of its inspiration from Western Judeo-Christian works such as Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. Enoch battles his way through otherworldly backdrops inspired by these artistic visions of the Christian heaven and hell. El-Shaddai utilizes common third-party middleware tools like Gamebryo Lightspeed, PhysX, CriWare, and Scaleform. The game’s graphics are very well-animated, with little in the way of noticeable slowdown. The game’s English voice-acting is limited but competent. This game may be coming from a smaller publisher, but it has the production values of any AAA title.
The demo version of El-Shaddai, detailing Enoch’s battle against an angel named Ezekiel, plays out as a hack-and-slash in the vein of games such as Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, and God of War. Enoch has three different weapons available, each with different speeds, strengths, and abilities. These weapons must be grabbed from enemies. The first weapon Enoch receive is a curved blade, the Arch, which allows him to float for short periods of time. Later. he acquires the Gale, a weapon which allows him to fire magical beams at enemies. Over time, as he uses these weapons to slay enemies, they become corrupted and weaker, and he must purify them from time to time. Essentially, this is a reloading gimmick, but it works well within the game’s context. Success in El-Shaddai, as in other hack-and-slash games, rests on the player’s ability to chain attacks together to form extended combos. Certain combos will allow Enoch to unleash super-attacks on the enemies. As you defeat enemies, you will collect item drops similar to those in Bayonetta or DMC, which can restore your armor (health) or provide permanent power-ups.
Enoch doesn’t have a health meter on the HUD. Instead, the player must determine his health by how much armor Enoch has left on his body, which will shatter as he takes damage, finally leaving him stripped down to a set of brown leggings, which means he’s near-death. At death, the demo version gives the player the ability to instantly resurrect Enoch by doing a quick-time event.
Beyond the basics of gameplay, the demo doesn’t show much of the story behind El-Shaddai, in order not to spoil the plot. It also does not show all of Enoch’s abilities in the game, being designed to give the player a taste of what to expect when the complete game releases.
El-Shaddai will be available for PS3 and 360 on July 26 of this year.