Developer: Lince Works
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, & Mac
Alright. Normally, when we bring you a look at games we’ve written about in the past, we try to get it to you the day the game drops in stores. Well, we didn’t get this one to you last week, but it’s for a good reason: I can’t put it down.
I’ve been playing Aragami for the better part of a week now, and I have to say that while it’s obviously built around some of the same stealth mechanics (stay in the dark, use distractions, etc) that other games have used in the past, this has managed to cement itself as one of the top stealth games I’ve ever played.
First, can we talk about how visually stunning this game is? The pseudo-cell-shaded look to it, and the clean use of light & shadow (that is what the game is based around) is just so pleasing to the eye. It almost resembles one of those old Japanese paintings come to life. The colors are vibrant, the environments are lush, and even the insides of the buildings are well-detailed. The kicker is that part of the beauty in the way this game looks, is its simplicity. There’s not a lot of detail for the sake of detail, and every bit of on-screen color, light, shadow, and movement serves a purpose in the game. There’s also no HUD life bar or anything like that, so you can see all around you without obstruction.
For all its visual beauty, one of my absolute FAVORITE parts of this game is the sound. The metallic *SHING* of weapons being drawn, the whoosh of energy being flung at you, and that wonderful wet *SPLORCH* you hear when your sword impales an unsuspecting guard – all fantastic. Even the ethereal voice work during the intermittent scenes between Aragami & the woman who summoned him add a lilting beauty to the ambiance of the game. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the music. The gorgeously haunting score by Two Feathers stays calm & virtually serene with strings & flutes during the sneaking sections, but picks up perfectly with taiko drums & when/if you get spotted. I highly recommend getting the collector’s edition of this game, just for the ability to download the soundtrack.
The control scheme is also relatively simple. With as much (and as little in some sections) as the game allows you to do, the controls are very intuitive, and easy to get used to. Just give yourself some time to practice on the tutorial level (you’ll need it). The 2 in-game menus are only brought up via the touchpad or the O button (I played on PS4), so pulling them up becomes quick & simple. Also, as there’s no melee combat (one hit, one kill), you only have to worry about striking your enemies once. Therefore, there are no real button combination issues to deal with.
The one thing I was NOT expecting with this game, however? IT’S HARD!! As I mentioned earlier, it’s a one-hit-one-kill system, and there’s no real melee combat. Therefore, if you’ve been legitimately spotted, and guards are after you, there’s little you can do. The guards’ swords fling “light essence” at you, and it will fry you if you are hit. Therefore, your best bet is to use the shadows to your advantage & not get detected. If you are detected, however, there is a plethora of abilities that Aragami can use in order to distract enemies, obscure their vision, or outright kill them quickly.
Final verdict? If you like stealth games, and you like a challenge, GO. GET. THIS. GAME. It’s priced lower than a standard AAA game, so it’s more than worth the investment.
4 Shadow Kunai out of 5