In Ignition Entertainment's El Shaddai, you're guided by a pre-fall Lucifer who carries a mobile phone with God on his speed dial. Then things get weird.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a 3D action adventure game with a singular look and an even more unique premise. Inspired by the Old Testament's Book of Enoch, you star as Enoch himself, a human called to heaven in order to help God round up seven fallen angels in order to prevent the flood that would wipe out mankind.
The game is being created by game director and character designer Sawaki Takeyasu and producer Masato Kimura, who between them can claim credit for Devil May Cry, Okami and Viewtiful Joe, with the influence of the latter two readily apparent in El Shaddai's look.
The game was presented at E3 2010 in the form of two trailers, one of which I am sharing with you now, and another that should be available soon.
While I couldn't play the game, I did sit down with Ignition's Shane Bettenhausen to discuss the heavenly journey that Enoch is about to begin.
Enoch isn't alone on his quest. During his journey he'll receive the aid of the four Archangels, Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel, and Michael, shown in the trailer as a giant hand that returns Enoch to the human world.
As impressive as the Archangels are, Lucifel is even more so. He's a time-immune bad boy with a direct line to God via cell phone, and a penchant for '80s goth fashion. I liken him to the Lucifer of Vertigo comics. Bettenhausen compared him to Neil Gaiman's Desire. Either way, the character oozes cool.
He's also the reason Enoch wears a pair of designer jeans under his heavenly armour. They're a gift.
The gameplay, as it stands, is a mix of 2D platforming and 3D exploration and combat. Third-person 3D is your normal method of traversing the world. Enemies will appear in this mode, though some more powerful foes will bring about a RPG-like transition into a special battlefield, where more than quick slashes of Enoch's arch will be required to take them out.
The arch is a weapon Enoch creates by purifying weapons taken by his fallen foes. There'll be a fine assortment of them available, with more powerful versions unlocked as the game progresses. Shane couldn't go into details, but with Devil May Cry being an influence, one might assume guns will play a role.
The look and story aren't the only distinctive qualities of El Shaddai. As we touched on previously, the game features no on-screen interface elements whatsoever, with damage being measured by the condition of Enoch's armour.
From what I've seen of the game so far, his armour should be able to take a lot of punishment. Which it'll have to, because even a warrior tasked by heaven can't always count on his friends. While mentor Lucifel starts off God's favourite, I've got a feeling he might take a distinct downward turn through the course of the game.
El Shaddai is due out for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the autumn of 2011.