El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron HD (Switch) review

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron HD (Switch) review

A classic action game makes its triumphant return on the Nintendo Switch

This is exactly the game it was back in 2011, except it’s now more HD somehow (the original was in HD as well) and on a new platform.

El Shaddai is very biblical, old testament-focused and weaves in modern gaming ideas — like a crazy biking scene — to keep players guessing as to what’s coming next. It’s a simple, clean action adventure, and is the game that in my brain lives as a perfectly cromulent experience jam-packed with style. In fact it just oozes style — if you’re not going to be reinventing the wheel, just lather on the eye candy.

It looks and feels like any other 3D action game, but then continues to get weirder and weirder as we ascend the game’s giant tower, changing the aesthetic and vantage points and narrative elements all the way up. The game revolves around its interesting combat mechanic; we have three weapons (sword, projectile, and shield/melee) and can gain new and more powerful ones by heading fist first into fights. Battling enemies involves disarming them and stealing their weapons, purifying them often to keep them uncorrupted — you know, Bible stuff — so that we have to balance using the gradually degrading weapon we have or taking a moment to purify and “reboot” it. Or, we just steal another one.

It looks pretty impressive on the Switch, even though there’s a little slowdown here and there. El Shaddai was always a stunning game, even more than a decade ago, and still manages to impress as one of the best-looking on the platform.

I was glad to go back to this game and get sucked into the world’s wild design. It’s kind of perfect on a handheld device, too, adding to the strength on Nintendo’s platform. Somehow, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron HD is still as exciting and worthwhile as it was so long ago, and an easy recommendation.

This review was based on a Nintendo Switch eShop code sent to SideQuesting by the publisher. It first appeared on The SideQuest LIVE on May 19, 2024. Images and video courtesy Crim.