Saturday, February 23

Review: Aragami - Shadow Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Right out of the gate I have something to confess, for the most part I’m not a huge “stealth game” fan, as my tendencies are towards making a ruckus and intensity, not showing patience and picking the perfect time to strike. That said, racking up some stealthy kills while people on patrol are nearby none the wiser can offer up some fun when done right. While Aragami: Shadow Edition does provide the opportunity for some of these thrills it also has enough quirks and slow spots that it’s probably best left for true fans of the genre.


You play the game as a spirit who has been summoned to aid a girl named Yamiko, who has tasked you with cutting through the Kaiho, a bunch of light-powered dudes who have captured her. While, in theory, you’d be able to simply move through stages trying to avoid conflict and get to your goal without getting your hands too dirty where would the fun be in that? Going into full ninja killer mode tends to be a bit more fun, but you’ll need to keep in mind that the moment you’re seen you can generally count on needing to go back to your last checkpoint.


Everything in the game revolves around your ability to remain in the shadows and make proper use of your growing arsenal of abilities to move around, dispatch guards, and avoid the light or giving yourself away. In the early going this is a bit tougher, as you’ll only be able to jump between shadows and sneak up for kills with your sword. As things move on you’ll gain some new and very useful abilities like being able to create temporary shadows on surfaces to give you more options for approach, make bodies disappear (since you, for whatever reason, can’t drag them), and some ranged and remotely detonated weapons as well. It’s a bit unfortunate that gaining access to these skills and weapons takes a while as grinding through the earlier stages with just the basics can be a bit tedious.


Aside from it taking a bit too long for you to gain access to all of the goodies that help give you far more options for fun there are some other quirks that stand in the way as well. The controls and where you’re able to jump to can be aggravatingly picky and are a major contributor to the feeling that once you’ve been spotted you can usually just expect to die. The cursor you move around to choose where you want to go will indicate whether or not you can make a hop to a specific area but on some surfaces and in situations where you’re trying to use it quickly it can be inconsistent to say the least. Combine that fact with some areas having checkpoints spread out a bit too far and there’s definitely room for some frustrations and having to repeat yourself.


If you’re really into stealth titles there’s no doubt the Switch comes up short with the genre as a whole. That should make Aragami: Shadow Edition pretty appealing despite its shortcomings. If you’re willing to be patient with it and unlock some of its goodies it gets to be a bit more fun, just don’t be surprised to find some frustrations along the way.

Score: 7

Pros:
  • Provides a stealth gaming experience that’s sorely missing on the Switch overall
  • You have the option to play in most situations without killing people if you want to take on the challenge that way
  • Once you’ve unlocked all of your abilities and weaponry the game gets more varied and fun

Cons:
  • The controls can be a bit hit or miss, especially when you’re trying to act quickly
  • In some areas the checkpoints are a bit too widely spaced, which can be frustrating when paired with stupid deaths
  • A bit too much early grinding with more limited abilities creates a hump to get over before you’re able to have more fun later