I recently completed reading a four book series by author Lian Hearn called The Tale of Shikanoko. The Tale of Shikanoko was set in Japan some several hundred years ago and included Warriors, Emperors, Princes and Princesses and Tengu (Demon type creatures). I thoroughly enjoyed this series and the story it told. It was very descriptive and while reading I often felt like I was right there and then, living in the moment. So obviously when I was given the opportunity to review Aragami I jumped at it. I wanted to continue being in a Japanese themed world/story. On October 4, 216 I was given that chance when the Lince Works developed and Maximum Games published video game Aragami was released for the PS4, Windows, Mac OS, Xbox One and Linux.
Aragami tells the story of a village in the mountains that’s been taken over by warriors of light known as Kaiho. As Aragami you’re summoned by Yamiko, a girl seeking your help to free her from the fortress of Kyuryu. Along the way you’ll discover talismans that will help aid you in your journey. With each step forward you not only unwrap the mysteries of Yamiko but your past is discovered in brief flashbacks. The story, as far as I’ve discovered, is a classic Light versus Dark tale. Does Light represent the Good? And does Dark represent the Bad? Play through to find out. As far as graphics, design and theme go there is no Ugly here.
Aragami is a beautifully designed game as far as the background environments and main characters are concerned. The classic Japanese style music along with the ambiance of a mountain village at night lead to an excellent mood and tone being set. Unfortunately the camera angle, character movement and some of the overall general gaming mechanics of Aragami don’t follow this template.
Aragami is a Stealth game that allows you to choose; 1) Do I sneak on through and let everyone live? or 2) Do I kill everyone in my way and make them think the village is possessed by a demonic shadow? I went with the latter. Aragami’s movement I found to be slow and clunky. What was considered genre defining game mechanics (at least that’s how I feel) for Metal Gear Solid, on the original Playstation doesn’t work here on PS4 for Aragami. As you progress further into the game and the story of Aragami you unlock more Shadow Abilites for Aragami. You charge these abilities by staying in the shadows so it is imperative that you chain your abilities together and time their charge to navigate to and from stealth kills. If you make one mistake you will be detected, an alert will notify nearby Kaiho warriors and you will die by their light.
Now I’m all for a challenge but I found some of the more heavily populated levels to be frustrating. These later levels provide more light and fewer opportunities for you to charge your abilities. And once detected by the enemy the fastest way to escape is through the shadows but whoops, your shadow essence is depleted and your only option is death and a fresh restart. The camera angle can prevent you from noticing an enemy warrior on patrol which forced me to play overly cautious and slow. And moving this slow doesn’t allowed for tension to build. Yes, I get it, Aragami is a stealth game but I’ve had fun in other stealth games while most of what I had here was frustration and boredom. In the video below you’ll see glitched out AI, great stealth kills, a poor camera and an unforgiving death scene.
Aragami is a stealth game that provides wonderful yet limited use of the shadows and the abilities you gain throughout your play through but it is a game that didn’t live up to my expectation. Maybe I shouldn’t have had my hopes up. Or maybe I decided to play this game at the wrong time. But unfortunately for me Aragami casts a long ominous shadow that I will stear clear of in the future.
– Great idea
– Excellent character design
– Amazing ambience/soundtrack
– Slow/clunky controls
– Lack of tension
– Poor camera angles
– Slow story progression
– Quick frustrating deaths