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    Entries in utv ignition entertainment (3)


    El Shaddai: Get High with the Metatron

    If you ever told me I would play a game based on a bible story and thoroughly enjoy it, I would laugh at you, then proceed to slap you across your face and run away screaming incoherently. El Shaddai: Ascencion of the Metatron has just proven me wrong. The sea isn't boiling, the sky hasn't turned red, nor have any other signs of the apocalypse surfaced. El Shaddai has taken a bible story and flipped it into a truly awe inspiring game.

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    Dragon's Crown is Befitting of Burly and Buxom Brawlers 

    2D side-scroller beat 'em up fans, where you at? Right here, dawg. Doesn't take much for me to be enamored with 2D action, usually swords, guns, and/or magic is enough to get me riled up in that realm. What happens if you add in some delicious art of thick-thighed amazon warriors and testosterone oozing man's men? Vanillaware's Dragon's Crown.

    The Odin Sphere and Muramasa developer has taken their signature art style into the world of Dungeons and Dragons (without quite treading on AD&D) to create a lovely beat 'em up overflowing with swords, shields, arrows, magic, pectorals, thighs, and cleavage. The art is may be just a tad over the top, but it looks so damn good in motion! How has it taken these guys so long to put out an HD title? Dragon's Crown will be their first. 

    The question is, will the gameplay of Dragon's Crown be on par with the art? Why the hell not? There looks to be a rudimentary combo system in place, with the impact of each meaty blow holding a good amount of weight. Rightfully so, look at those huge.. Weapons! Four-player cooperative online beat 'em ups don't often disappoint. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is no different. Dragon's Crown will be available for PS3 and PlayStation Vita in Spring of 2012. Such a long time to wait for something so beautiful. What a tease.


    Everything's Fine with El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

    I've said it before, I love games that have enough balls to twist and challenge the perception of religion. I'm not talking about the title that mixes bible mini-games such as herding animals into Noah's ark, or quick-time events to part the Red Sea. I'm talking Jesus throwing fireballs at Roman soldiers and performing a miracle that clears the screen of all incoming projectiles, or Pontius Pilate raining MIG 29 vulcan rounds onto the city of Jerusalem. Maybe not to that extent, but El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metratron seems to trail down the course of the latter, while still maintaining enough religious context to be loosely informative.

    The first thing you MUST notice about El Shaddai, is the incredible visual style it employs. In the time I spent raining holy hell down onto my enemies, I heard many a PAX Easter look at the game and make a positive remark about the visuals. If you're some sort of recreational drug-user, El Shaddai will probably bring you to a state of inebriated nirvana. Even if you're the straightest edge in the congregation, you're still going to love the detached, ethereal backgrounds. And though the actual graphics may be lacking -- the PS3 demo I play looked almost like it could be run on a Wii -- I didn't care, because the style was enough to simultaneously capture and blow me away.

    The control scheme is so basic, I'm sure even the Pope could pick up the controller and start chaining combos. One button for attack, one for jump, one for block, one for purification. Different attacks are executed by keeping the button held or timing your button presses, for instance, tap tap tap performed a light hitting chain of attacks, whereas tap, pause, tap brought out a more devastating attack. The intuitive control scheme makes it easy enough while discouraging button mashing. Purification -- the act strengthening a weapon by ridding it of it's defiling essence -- can be performed on a downed enemy, treating you to a slick disarm animation. Each of the games 3 primary weapons has it's own disarm sequence, and different enemy types allow you to perform a different purification.

    I worried this game would be a little too much for devout Christians. Though Shane Bettenhausen, UTV Ignition Director of New Business Development, pleasant dude, and lover of all things El Shaddai, informed me that the hardcore religious who played it the demo at PAX East for the first time were not only cool with it, they enjoyed it. Total plot twist!

    El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron will be available in North America this summer, with the PAX demo available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 shortly before release. Until then, stay tuned.