Published on October 18th, 2016 | by Ahmad Gameel0
Aragami is a third-person stealth game where you take on the role of an undead assassin who has the power to control the shadows. It’s developed and published by Lince Works studio and it’s their first debut in the gaming scene.
Aragami is about a vengeful spirit who has been brought back to life using an ancient ritual. The one who bought him back is a girl named Yamiko to exact vengeance on The Army of light, the Kaiho clan.The Kaiho clan destroyed her land and killed all her people. So Yamiko summoned Aragami to find the talismans scattered all over the land to free the Shadow Empress so she can avenge the death of those who died by the hands of the Kaiho clan. The story is your typical revenge quest with a twist in the end. I thought it was a bit too predictable and none of the characters were memorable so I honestly didn’t care about what happened when the credits rolled.
The Sound design is pretty good in the game. I love the satisfying sound when you assassinate an enemy. The Voice Acting in the game is garbled just like Okami, they talk but you won’t understand what they are saying. Some Japanese words could be heard when they speak. Some people will be accustomed to that but others might be annoyed. The soundtrack is pretty nice and works extremely well with the setting in the game but I don’t see myself wanting to hear it outside of the game.
In terms of gameplay, Aragami played pretty much like the Tenchu series. You have to stay hidden most of the time and take out the enemies without getting caught or you can sneak through with the enemies noticing if you want to take a pacifist kind of route. If you get caught, that pretty much means you are dead because all the enemies kill you in one hit and losing them after they are alarmed is extremely hard so you have to be careful.
The game also has Shadow Techniques Aragami can use to help him traverse the environment or assassinate his enemies. It’s categorized into three parts. The first part is the Aragami Techniques which are his passive skills that are always activated or can be used instantly. The second part is the Offensive/Defensive Techniques which helps Aragami in his journey. The techniques can be upgraded by finding scrolls in the game. The scrolls are also readable and tell you about the events that occurred in the world.
There were a few issues that I found in the gameplay mechanics. When Aragami kills an enemy, he holsters his sword and the holstering animation is extremely slow and very annoying. This makes the game frustrating because when there are two enemies in front of each other, he kills one and instead of swiftly landing a killing blow to the other enemy, he first has to holster his sword incredibly slow before going for the other enemy and that gives enough time for the second enemy to react and kill him. Seriously, it’s weird that they designed it like that. It felt like the game wasn’t meant for you to encounter more than one enemy at once which made the game felt a bit too basic.
Another issue is that there is no jump button in the game. Are you telling me that a badass Ninja Assassin can’t jump? Ninja’s are known for their incredibly agility yet in the game, Aragami can’t even jump through a small obstacle in front of him. He either has to go around it or use his Shadow Leap. It’s definitely a questionable design choice from the developer.
And the AI in the game is incredibly dumb at times, I can’t tell you how many times I was standing in front of an enemy and he just walks by me without even noticing.
Also, the game got extremely repetitive towards chapter 5, there wasn’t much variety in the gameplay or the objectives, all you do in the game is go to one place, gather a talisman then go to the other and do the same till the game ends. It started to get interesting towards the end when there was a boss fight. Unfortunately, it didn’t have enough variety in it to keep me hooked. The gameplay lacked any depth and the fact that you can’t fight the enemies made it a bit too boring. If it was like Tenchu where you had the ability to fight back or had many bosses to challenge you, it would have been awesome.
Aragami has an incredible cell shaded art style that looks very similar to Okami’s art style or Legend of Zelda. I fell in love with the visual aesthetics almost instantly and also because it was heavily influenced by many Japanese Mythologies. But unfortunately, the textures pop-in and graphical issues hinder its beauty. On many occasions, enemies just pop out in front of me or shadows on the ground just appear out of nowhere. And for a game that relies on the shadows in the environment, this can be extremely annoying and frustrating at times. Also one of the things that impressed me in the game was the Cape on Aragami’s back. It is amazingly well detailed and behaves in a realistic way. It reminded me of Batman’s cape the Arkham series. They put a great effort in the visuals department. I wish they would have polished the game more before releasing it, though.
Length and Replay Value:
The game took me 8 hours to finish all the chapters. In terms of Replay Value, the game offers you multiple ways to finish the game, so you can go back and finish it by either killing every enemy in the game or by killing no one. I honestly found no reason to replay it as there wasn’t any incentive to replay it because it didn’t affect the ending or anything else. And the fact that game was way too repetitive and way too simple made it even harder for me to want to go back and play it again.
Once you are done with the Single Player mode, there is a multiplayer mode where you can play the chapters of the SP campaign with a friend. It simply made the SP easier for those who might struggle with it or want to play with a friend. But overall it didn’t change the experience.
The Action/Stealth genre has been thriving as of late thanks to the quality titles like MGSV, Hitman, Deus ex: Mankind Divided and so on. Those games offered an incredible amount of variety in the way you complete your objectives. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said here. The game doesn’t have any depth or complexity in its gameplay mechanics and it offered nothing fresh or exciting to the genre. In the end, Aragami is a decent stealth game but it could have been better if a little more effort went into the gameplay mechanics and story and for that, I give it a 3/5.