June 25, 2010

First look at El Shaddai

Wow. El Shaddai really managed to impress me! The E3 trailer above doesn't shed much light onto the gameplay, which is a shame, but it does show an awful lot of artsy stuff. I don't mind the lack of concrete gameplay-footage since I'm looking forward to El Shaddai almost solely because of its aesthetics. The trailer showed boldy weird colors, a protagonist (Enoch) I didn't immediately write off as insipid, sharp cell-shaded graphics and positively odd overall design, all of which I highly root for! And in the midst of it all, contrasting with the light and bright world, Lucifer in his plain dark attire! It's about time a high profile game about pantheon mayhem features characters that don't look like a grumpy mountains of meat or lascivious sex bombs (both of which are ok in their own right, just not what I primarily go for). Hooray for Enoch and Lucifer!

The game is directed by Sawaki Takeyasu, the art director of the former Clover Studios. I have nothing but respect towards his character designs and overall eye for visual elements. He is known mostly for the artwork he did for the original Devil May Cry and Okami, both of which are games that I was drawn to because of how they looked. I'm pro-DMC primarily because of the character designs, and the thing I most loved about Okami was how the art direction brought all the game's various aspects so neatly together.

I'm almost certain Takeyasu and his team will pull off a very neat-looking game, and if the gameplay is decent, El Shaddai might indeed be one of the gaming highlights of my year. (What year? I have no idea.)

On a related note, Edge's preview of El Shaddai in issue 216 really nailed the premise for the game's development:
The Japanese game industry has always had a healthy approach to blasphemy. Where western developers are content for players to tear their way through an exclusively heathen pantheon, JRPGs have been killing God since the '90s and when EA was sending Dante down to Hell to hand out some divine retribution, Bayonetta was bending angels over a guillotine.

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