IntroductionAragami, developed and published by Lince Works, tells the tale of a vengeful ninja-esque warrior who is brought into the world to save an imprisoned woman (Yamiko) in Kyuryu, a city fortress guarded by the army of light. She summoned you, a warrior of the shadows and darkness, because you are her last hope. Learn what it means to be aragami, and why destiny has brought you and her together. It's a third-person stealth action game that can be played based on your preferred style, but if the action and killing are where your heart resides, you'll find a deep catalog regarding strategy and techniques to do so. You can buy the game on Steam or PlayStation Store for $19.99.
GameplayIf you haven't gotten the impression the game is shadow vs light yet...it's shadow vs light. As a warrior of darkness, your supernatural powers are hindered when near or inside light; vice versa you are strongest in the shadows. Your long red hooded cape draping behind you has a glowing design that signifies your power levels. It will rise and fall according to your environment and general usage (white will shine when in darkness symbolizing high supernatural powers, and red will fill the design when near light or when using shadow energy). If your cape becomes full red, you are out of power and must return to or wait in shadows to refill. It's a simple change to a typical UI gauge, but one that makes the experience a great deal better as it prevents clutter on the screen.
Movements will be (asides from the basic walking and running) being able to spawn temporary shadows and a quick teleportation ability known as blinking. The blinking can allow you to reappear right behind an enemy, get on top of a building or ledge, or get past obstacles such as a locked gate; move throughout the field and structures with incredible ease. Matching the blink and shadow spawns will give you the utmost freedom, allowing you to defy the predetermined layouts regarding light sources. It all works extremely well together and is almost artistic the way you can traverse your way to each enemy, or perhaps around them.
Nothing is set in stone regarding the way you choose to play through the game; you are not forced to be an assassin nor a ninja of mercy. Upon completing a given area/level you'll receive a report on your performance, where it also highlights how many enemies were killed or not. The game doesn't change based on what you choose therefore avoiding any feeling of restrictions, so go out and play the way you wish to play. The threat is real regardless of your plan of action, and the army of light is an incredibly strong force against you. One hit from their shining weapons will kill you instantly. If it gets too difficult for you, bring a friend to help; the game features co-op gameplay, where you and a buddy can take on the army of light together through the story.
You'll be able to unlock a number of special skills, some used in lethal fashion to kill your enemies, and some to aid you if you choose to playthrough as an unheard and unseen force. The abilities used to kill are known as Demon powers, while the non-lethal ones are known as Ghost powers. Some Demon powers include being able to throw projectiles from a distance, temporarily blinding any nearby enemies, and even releasing a vortex that will suck foes into the afterlife. Ghost powers include seeing enemies through structures, going invisible for a short time, and casting shadow decoys.
Sound and GraphicsThe music found within the game is really good, and acceptably makes up most of the audio. It keeps a traditional tone but somehow stays away from feeling like you've heard it a million times before in all the other past ninja-related games (it's just the right mix). Characters are voice acted slightly but nothing English. Not that English voices would go very far in this game, the main protagonist and Yamiko have a deeply muffled/echoed speech as if it's being projected from another dimension. This was meant to just add some audio effects to the text dialog you'll have to read (but it is a lot better than having no form of voicing at all).
Splicing through enemies sounds brutal, and the game captures every slash of the sword perfectly. The only fault with audio is that everyone sounds like a ninja; the enemies make fairly little noise, making it sometimes difficult to hear them coming around a corner when perhaps you're focused on someone else. The game presents a very sharp and vivid graphics design. While it isn't technically "realistic," the flow of everything in motion makes for a great aesthetically-looking world. I experienced a few minor bugs and hiccups in the performance but very rarely was it anything drastic.
ConclusionWho doesn't want to be a shadow-based stealth ninja of death? The game puts you right into the world where you're tested on quick evaluations and an ability to execute moves from a variety of techniques. The abilities used to defeat guards or simply skate past them are all unique and make for great combinations. Whatever it takes to get the job done, you have all the options at your disposal. It tells a good story, but most importantly it gives the gameplay true meaning regarding what aragami means and the protagonist's purpose in this new life. Overall, Aragami is a very unique, yet simple title, packed with fun gameplay that can be even more appreciated with its online co-op option. It is definitely one worth experiencing if you enjoy stealth-based action games, and one also worth revisiting again in the future.
|+ Awesome soundtrack||- General sound effects could've been better detailed|
|+ Crisp and vivid art design||- Occasional technical issues or hiccups|
|+ Simple concept with diverse gameplay|
|+ Roughly 8-10 hours of single playthrough gameplay|
|+ Online co-op|
GAME SCORE: 8/10