E3 Stragglers: El Shaddai (PS3, Xbox 360)
From the same Shane Bettenhausen that brought Deadly Premonition to the english speaking world comes the most Japanese-ass Japanese game from E3; El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. From the title alone you know this is going to be weird and, surely enough, I can’t make sense of the story in the teaser trailer above which is said to be based on a deleted segment from the Judeo-Christian bible. But basically pretty man/lady, Enoch, is tasked by God (a big stone hand) to collect the souls of some fallen angels (read: J-pop pretty boys) or the almighty will have to eradicate Earth to make sure they don’t escape.
There’s gonna be plenty of long-winded dialog scenes full of philosophy and oddly-translated drama but the art style and gameplay just might carry me through. Headed up by former Clover art director, Sawaki Takeyasu, this preview from Edge-Online sums it up best by saying it combines the gameplay of Devil May Cry with the cel shaded visuals of Okami. Only this time there’s more color and variety over Okami’s washed out watercolor look and there’s a little more strategy to the Dante-inspired gameplay. Wearing down enemy armor with combo attacks weakens them to the point where you can steal their bizarre harp/chainsaw weapons and beautify them with the power of righteousness. Then the fight shifts from defensive blocks and carefully timed attacks to an all-out ass kicking. More weapons are promised in the full game as well as plenty of exploration and even some side-on platforming.
I don’t know if I’ll get into the story or even the combat mechanics as things progress but I’ll stick with it just to look at these surreal visuals. I mean, have you loaded up that video yet!? I’d try to describe it but there aren’t buttons on my keyboard that can produce words that would do it justice!