El Shaddai arrives on Switch and it’s every bit as weird as it was back in 2011

el shaddai

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron holds a special place in my heart for a very simple reason: it happened to be one of the very first games I previewed at E3. Back in 2011, I had very few appointments at the show floor, and among them was a stop by long gone Ignition Entertainment, its publisher at the time to see this very game.

At the time, it proved to be quite a weird if still unsurprising spectacle that aped on character action games that were doing well at the time, like the Devil May Cry reboot and whatnot. Its story was what set it apart from the rest due to the sheer ridiculousness that would only be matched by Bayonetta’s.

Funnily enough, I never got to review it then, but I still went ahead and bought the game on PlayStation 3, but to this day it remains unopened, and for that reason being the value of that particular game is quite high on the retro market. So it was neat to get a chance to finally see the ‘final’ version of El Shaddai only remastered with this Switch port.

el shaddai
Enoch’s weird weapon is the only highlight of his otherwise bland moveset and gameplay.

Having had a vast familiarity with its premise, which has biblical Enoch drop down to Earth in a seemingly appropriate pair of jeans in order to serve heavenly justice upon a group of fallen angels. What could go wrong? Frankly, very little, to be honest. The action is as expected quite repetitive, given the protagonist’s limited moveset, but the set dressing helped to keep me going in order to see what more the game had in stock.

My pal Gareth already talked about El Shaddai’s host of quirks and they remain the same here. Performance, though, is noticeably worse on Switch. There are instances where the framerate drops and it’s hard to see why given that when those happen not a whole lot is happening on screen to justify it. 

el shaddai
So pretty, but so middling!

Then again, this is a visually striking game regardless, and having it run on a portable like the Switch, especially an OLED model, does a lot to draw my attention away from the fact that this is a 14-year old game. Gameplay aside, it’s still an impressive effort in trying to break out of its genre’s box, even though it’s mostly similar if not worse than what came before it.

So the question is whether or not you should try it. If you are interested in experiencing a really out there game but not nearly as weird as other contemporary titles like Lollipop Chainsaw, Shadows of the Damned, or even Dante’s Inferno, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron will likely keep you entertained with its story well above its so-so gameplay. And given that it’s on Switch, the promise of having it on the go and playing it nearly anywhere is the extra cherry on top.

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