El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a third person character action game developed by Ignition Entertainment's newly formed Japanese studio, UTV, which includes numerous former Capcom and Clover Studio employees. It was released on August 16th, 2011 for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 computer entertainment systems.
A group of angels known as the Grigori are appointed by God to watch over mankind soon after the humans are first created. However, the Grigori (also known as "The Watchers") quickly become infatuated with the carefree manner in which humans are living their lives, free of any inhibitions. Eventually, this leads to The Watchers turning away from God and his plans and departing from Heaven.
The knowledge of this betrayal soon reaches the ears of the Council of Elders, the great authority of Heaven. To set things right, they decide to unleash a great flood upon the Earth. Luckily, before they can act, Enoch objects to this course of action. The Elders decide that they will spare mankind from the flood if Enoch agrees to go to Earth to catch the fallen angels, bringing them back to heaven to be imprisoned.
Luckily, Enoch does not have to go alone, he is accompanied by Lucifel, one of the most high ranking Archangels in Heaven. Lucifel is not allowed to interfere directly, but he provides Enoch the ability to save the game, while also reporting Enoch's progress back to God (on his cell phone, oddly enough).
Upon his arrival to Earth, Enoch quickly encounters Azazel, one of the seven Watchers who fell from Heaven. He is insulted that God would send a mere mortal after him, adamantly refusing to return. Azazel disappears into hiding, warning Enoch not to give chase. Soon enough, Enoch discovers that The Watchers have ensconced themselves in the Tower of Babel, previously hidden from the prying eyes of God and Heaven by a veil, and his journey to bring them back begins.
The gameplay of El Shaddai is similar to other third person action games such as Devil May Cry, or the less linear Okami (see also: Hideki Kamiya); a mix of combat and platforming. Often the game switches to a classic 2D view, usually in order to complete a simple platforming sequence. These sequences, though, are also accompanied by an expository piece of art or dialogue in the background. The combat consists of one attack button, along with jump and block buttons. Rather than a light/heavy attack dichotomy, different combos and attacks are performed by pressing the attack button in a particular rhythm, delaying the presses when necessary. There is a standard guard/guard break/parry system in play as well.
One of the main mechanics present in the gameplay is Enoch's ability to attack his opponents enough to daze them, allowing him to take their weapons and make them his own. This ties into the idea that the effectiveness of weapons deteriorates over time as they are used fighting evil; weapons eventually have to be "purified" to remove the evil from them but, as a bonus, a weapon is immediately purified after stealing it, which is a helpful time saving measure. This is also the only way to switch weapons during combat.
There is also driving.
There are three primary weapons in the game, and essentially three enemy variants which apply respectively:
- Arch, a curved sword that is well-balanced in both attack and defense.
- Gale, a ring -shaped projectile weapon that provides more agility
- Veil, a defense-oriented pair of shield-shaped gauntlets
Composed by Kouda Masato and Hasegawa Kento.
The game's narrative is loosely based on Judeo-Christian biblical apocrypha, most notably The Book of Enoch. There are actually three Books of Enoch, the first and most prominent being referred to as simply The Book of Enoch.
"El Shaddai" is one of the many Judaic names for God, and translates from Hebrew to "Almighty God" or "God Almighty."
The term "Metatron", while of questionable etymology, is the title given to Enoch who, as a mortal of unquestionable virtue, acts as a conduit between man and God. This is the generally assumed definition.
The original release date for the game, July 26th, is also the day upon which The Feast of Enoch on the Catholic Saints Calendar is celebrated.