Aragami – Xbox One Review
Stealth games have a lot of things in common with one another. You must take down enemies silently, remain hidden and stick to the shadows. Aragami takes all of these things and then gives them a slight twist, not only must you stick to the shadows but you can take the shadows with you.
Aragami see’s you play as an Aragami spirit who has been summoned by Yamiko, a young girl who has been taken prisoner by the Kaiho, an army of light adepts. The light is your enemy so if these light adepts hit you it is a one hit kill meaning that the stakes are high.
You wear a cape that absorbs the power of darkness and fills with shadow essence. When your shadow essence is full you have a whole host of powers at your disposal but this essence quickly drain when you are in the light so it is important that you always know where the nearest point of darkness is.
As you play through the game you find scrolls hidden in the game and these give you skill points that you can spend on new abilities. These abilities range from been able to cast shadows where you need them to been able to kill enemies instantly just by jumping up a ledge. You can only use these powers when you have enough shadow essence available to you so it is always important to keep your cape charged. Some of your powers also have a limited number of uses and these uses can be recharged by visiting shrines which are hidden on the different levels but this means that you must think carefully before using an ability.
The main premise of the game is that you must free Yamiko from her captures by following a projection of her through thirteen chapters. During these levels you must find six talisman that have been hidden by the Kaiho and then take them to where she is been held to free her. The story is fairly mundane although there are a few twists involved to keep you more engaged than you probably would be without them. At the end of each level you are given a score that is based on how many times you were detected and the kind of kills you carried out. This does give the game a limited amount of replayability.
One of the main abilities that you must utilise all of the way through the game is the ability to teleport anywhere within a radius on the map. This is a mechanism that is very interesting and adds a lot of new elements to the way that you play the game. It can help you get behind or above an enemy to carry out a stealth kill, or it could help you just get past them without been seen. You must use both of these methods if you wish to be successful in your attempt to free Yakimo. This mechanism is interesting and would be more so if it worked more accurately. Sometimes we found that we couldn’t jump to somewhere that was extremely close to us because we struggled to get the reticle lined up perfectly. Other times it didn’t teleport us to quite where we expected leaving us in a spot of bother on more than one occasion.
The look of Aragami is a a cartoony one which gives it a nice charm compared to the standard fayre that we get from stealth games. At the start of the game it gives you a feeling that this isn’t a stealth game to be taken to seriously, you are soon punished for this thinking and realise that you must focus and concentrate at all times. You must plan out your moves ahead of time and think carefully before you move or you may well find yourself at the sharp end of a sword of light.
The voice acting is none existent in Aragami. The story is told through subtitles and occasionally this can take you out of the immersion of the story but doesn’t distract you too much and can sometimes add a little humour to the game.
Aragami is not an easy game and you will fail a lot. There are checkpoints throughout the chapters but these can be few and far between at times meaning that you have to replay some very difficult sections several times until you are successful.
If you are a fan of true stealth games this could well be a great game for you. In a lot of stealth games you have the choice of whether to sneak your way through an entire level or just go load and hope for the best. Here you don’t get such a choice, if you are detected things get very difficult indeed and you must hide to lower you detection level as trying to just fight your way through means that you are certainly doomed to failure.
Aragami is available to download from the Microsoft Store, creeping in at £19.99.