STAFF REVIEW of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (Xbox 360)

Saturday, September 3, 2011.
by Brent Roberts

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron Box art Welcome heavenly spirits to God's holy light. We have been truly blessed here at XboxAddict to experience the wonders of God's actions in El Shaddai. The conventional translation of El Shaddai is "God Almighty" and in this game we see the full range of God's will. Take a moment and walk with us on the path of the righteous as we attempt to guide you through the trials and tribulations that plague mankind and attempt to lead you to the salvation of God's eternal love. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

In El Shaddai you take command of Enoch who is believed to be a descendant of Adam and the only descendant of Adam who God loved so dearly that instead of facing a mortal death, God took Enoch into the heavens where he is appointed to become the guardian of all the celestial treasures, chief over all the archangels, and the immediate attendant on God's throne. Enoch, armed with the support of all the angels, fulfills whatever God commands by executing his decrees. Not only is Enoch noted for all of this but his is also believed to be the inventor of writing, and the teacher of astronomy and arithmetic thus identifying him as the Metatron, or the angel which communicates God's word. This theological interpretation can be seen from the very beginning as we are introduced to Enoch who in the heavens is surrounded by endless mountains of books, and is busy writing away into another book. Ancient scripture describes Enoch after returning to heaven to serve God: "This Enoch, whose flesh was turned to flame, his veins to fire, his eye-lashes to flashes of lightning, his eye-balls to flaming torches, and whom God placed on a throne next to the throne of glory, received after this heavenly transformation the name Metatron".

Theology is the soul of El Shaddai and through the game we bear witness to the beauty of God. Your eyes will be amazed at the beautiful graphics that depict stunning backgrounds that resemble heavenly paintings in motion. Such paintings as the Creation of Adam and the Altarpiece of St. Michael showcase the same heavenly glory that you will see in every aspect of El Shaddai's graphics. Not only are the levels beautiful but every aspect including the character modeling of the archangels, the demons you will fight along your way, and even the fallen angels themselves present to you such an epic piece of beauty that every moment of El Shaddai is a heavenly celestial experience that should not be missed. Some people have said that nature is the painting of God, well in El Shaddai you will be truly blessed by all the heavenly wonders you will see.

The premise of El Shaddai is based with heavy roots in various interpretations of Enoch and theology. When angels go against God's wishes by either disobeying or rebelling against God, they are henceforth banished from the kingdom of heaven. In the religion of Judaism there is an account from the book of Enoch of 200 rebellious angels or "Watchers" that left heaven to come down to earth to marry human women and have children with them. All of what I just said can be experienced throughout the entire game as your quest as Enoch is to purify 7 fallen angels and bring them to God so they may be judged. While on your quest to fulfill God's decree you will have the support of the archangels which will help grant you new abilities to aid you on your holy quest. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light. Not only will you contend with the fallen angels, the children of them, but you will also go face to face many times with a being that some have once called God's favorite angel, Lucifer. This is a truly spiritual quest that is presented to Enoch and one that must be fulfilled for it is the word of God. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

As you traverse throughout the various beautiful levels you will be treated to various music that will range from adrenaline pumping chants and beats, to heavenly chords that will sooth and relax your very soul. Harps, choirs of angels, and more will sing their holy praise to the heavens while cellos, baritones, and more will signify that you have indeed entered the realm of a fallen angel from heaven. The music itself is a beautiful accompaniment to the graphics and the storyline, and sounds as though came from the heavens above.

Since your journey will not be an easy one, the gameplay of El Shaddai will attempt to assist you in every way possible. As we have already learned through theology interpretations, Enoch does not die, but rather is brought to heaven by God, and in El Shaddai, we see examples of how this theology will take shape. When confronted in battle Enoch's heavenly armor can be destroyed and Enoch himself afterwards can be taken down, however, with rapid pushes of any button you will see the white eyelid that once was closing on your screen reopen to show Enoch in essence reborn in spiritual light and love. As God loves all his children, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever and so must Enoch if he is to complete God's will. A great new twist to the game as well is how the game varies from 2D side scrolling, to 3D adventures make even transitioning between levels not only enjoyable, but very in depth with knowledge that you may learn throughout the timeline of the game. The demons and enemies you face along your path grant Enoch the chance to "purify" their weapons and use them as a tool to do God's commands.

As we kneel before the throne of thrones we realize that we are truly blessed to be able to enjoy such an amazing and beautiful game as El Shaddai. We may not know what path in life our souls will take, but we do know that God himself will never deny us his love and compassion so long as our souls repent our evil in hopes of granting salvation from God. This game is a game of beauty, of love, of loss, but most importantly this is a game that showcases every aspect of El Shaddai, or God Almighty.

Not really suggestions but more like words of praise that this game has seen the light of day and has been released so that all may enjoy and revel in the beauty of this game.

Overall: 8.9 / 10
Gameplay: 8.8 / 10
Visuals: 9.5 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


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