A cult classic that never got the attention it deserved, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, is getting a second chance on Steam next month. Two new screenshots were released to coincide with the announcement.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the action platformer game will be arriving on Valve’s platform in mid-April. This will mark the first time on the platform as it was only on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the time of its first release.
The developer Crim hasn’t gone into too many details about this particular version, but PC players will finally be able to experience a trippy adventure to prevent a great flood from destroying mankind. The press release claims that “the PC version will show how truly ahead of its time it was.” So far, no console versions (PS4, Xbox One) have been announced, but it’s great that this game is going to be available on a modern platform.
When the game initially released in 2011, the game was praised for its vibrant, abstract art design that pushed the boundaries of what a character action game could be. Devil May Cry is known for its fast-paced combat and nutty bosses, but El Shaddai took that visual style one step further. GameSpot said in its review, “El Shaddai is such a gorgeous game that it would have been worth playing even if the combat was merely average.” The publication gave it an 8/10 score, as the combat requires “focus and determination to prevail,” and it appreciated the varied soundtrack that enhances the gameplay experience.
The combat for El Shaddai is particularly unique. To start, there is no health bar; instead, it is signified by the character’s armor. The more plating falls off, the more vulnerable he will be. The combat was toned down to a simple rock, paper, scissors system. You have three different weapons at your disposal: the veil, the arch, and the gale. All three vary in speed and damage that add to the complexity of battle. You also have to clean them periodically so they don’t get cursed. You can also steal the opponents’ weapons or avoid combat altogether.
The game was developed by Ignition Entertainment, a studio that helped make/publish The King of Fighters XII, Blue Dragon Plus, Metal Slug 7, and cult classic JRPGs Nostalgia and Arc Rise Fantasia. To add to its pedigree of Japanese flair, it was directed by Sawaki Takeyasu, a character designer for Okami and the original Devil May Cry; both titles had a striking art style that lended incredibly well to El Shaddai. This was the first and only time he took on the director’s seat, and has since worked on Gravity Rush 2, God Wars: Future Past, and The Lost Child. He truly has a knack for picking off the wall projects to work on.
With a smaller publisher and a game that was a hard sell to a mainstream audience— a religious action game called Ascension of the Metatron— this game was doomed to fail from the beginning. However, with peculiar indie games flourishing on modern platforms like Fall Guys, Mortal Shell, and Among Us, perhaps El Shaddai will get some recognition for what it was able to achieve 10 years ago.