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Review: Aragami

by onNovember 10, 2016
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Aragami is a stealth platformer in which you play as the titular Aragami, a supernatural being made of shadows. The game’s central mechanic involves teleporting between shadows and remaining undetected by staying in the dark. Of course, your shadow abilities (you later upgrade and get new skills) recharge when you’re in the dark, so staying in the shadows is fundamental.

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Aragami is a simple enough stealth game. It’s based mainly around strategically moving between the dark spots in a map and avoiding guards. Now, you can kill the guards or you can go pacifist and just slip past. If you wanna go stabby, you simply press a button prompt when you get close and stab the guard in question. Ultimately, however, stealth is your only recourse, as the guards can quickly and easily overpower you.  After a brief tutorial I was pretty familiar with the setup and it only became a matter of navigating the levels. Aragami manages to innovate on the stealth mechanic by giving you new tools and adding some challenges, but the game is fundamentally about the shadow mechanic.

In terms of setting, Aragami opts for a feudal Japan, where the Aragami has been summoned to avenge a girl whose family members have been massacred. Throughout the story, you learn of a great betrayal that took place. Bit by bit, you piece together the story and learn the truth. The story is light and it keeps you guessing, but it manages to avoid overstaying its welcome.

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Feudal Japan is beautifully presented by the game’s cel-shaded visuals, and the environment really manages to feel immersive. Level design seemed pretty simple, however, with most levels being some sort of grid to get through. The redeeming feature is that the game does offer you a number of ways to navigate. Given the fact that you can teleport from any shadow to any other shadow, there are tons of possibilities. Pretty much everything that casts a shadow can help you out. Of course, your enemies are ‘light adept’ warriors, so they manage to use light to make your life as difficult as humanly possible.

Speaking of difficulty, Aragami is generally not that hard a platformer, unless you try and go for a no-kill run. I personally recommend it, as it forces you to rely much more on motion and timing rather than simply waiting til a guard’s back is turned and starting the takedown animation. Overall, the game really shines in the later stages where the levels become bigger and more dangerous, and you find yourself dashing from one spot to the other fairly quickly. Additionally, you need the darkness to keep your abilities charged up, so you really need to avoid the light at all costs.

Overall, Aragami is a solid stealth title that does a good job on the back of a clever concept. It’s not going to go down in the annals of stealth gameplay, but it definitely offers a fun couple hours for genre enthusiasts and gamers who aren’t necessarily fans of stealth.

Aragami was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Lince Works. The game was tested by Mazen Abdallah on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 in digital and retail releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.

What we liked

• Creative central mechanic
• Well-crafted cel-shaded visuals
• Well-written story

What is not fun

• Mechanics don’t develop that well
• Lack of a good soundtrack
• Not that open-ended

Editor Rating
 
Concept
8.4

 
Graphics
8.3

 
Sound
8.2

 
Playability
8.6

 
Entertainment
8.0

 
Replay Value
7.0

Final Score
8.1


Our final verdict
 

Aragami is a solid stealth title that pushes players to use the darkness to their advantage and ends up being fairly nail-biting at times. While it can get a little repetitive, it’s still a fun, memorable experience.

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