By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on October 4, 2016
I'm definitely not silent like ninja, as Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams can confirm. When I get up in the morning, I try not to wake up Ferry and be as silent as I can. But then, I close the bathroom door a little too hard, I bump against the laundry basket and lose my balance while trying to put my socks on. I think it's about time for some good old-fashioned ninja training!
Aragami puts you in the role of, as the developer tells us, 'an undead assassin with the power to control the shadows', named, as the title of the game gives away, Aragami. He is summoned by a princess who is kidnapped and locked up. Our shadowy hero is tasked with collecting talismans which are necessary to free her. Aragami has a great katana to help him with this task, but this mighty sword is only used for stealth attacks. Because this cool warrior has a great power he can use and manipulate the shadows!
The game start with an introduction in which the princess explains what happened to her and why she needs the help of Aragami. After that, it's time to discover your skills and powers. The main thing you'll need and use is the shadow. You can transport yourself by walking and by teleport yourself from one shadow-rich spot to the next. Even if there is a gate between you and the shadowy place, it's no problem for our Aragami.
The second trick is you can create your own shadow. So if you want to teleport yourself to the other side of a gate, but there is no shadow at the other side, you can create your own and again be able to teleport yourself. But this kind of thing always comes at a price. In the case of Aragami it cost energy. Using your powers and standing in the light drains your energy meter, that's located on the back of Aragami's cape. This meter can be refilled by simply... yes, you guessed it: standing in the shadow.
I don't know what it is exactly but I always love the Asian influence in games and movies. The trees they have there, the beautiful looking style you'll see used in old building. And in Aragami, it's all designed in a cartoonish style. Our protagonist handles well; he never gets stuck behind invisible pixels. Together with a logical control scheme, I can definitely state that in terms of graphics and gameplay, Aragami scores really good.
While playing the story of Aragami, many opponents are trying to thwart my sneaky plans. It's up to me to sneak around them, being as quiet as possible and making the most of the shadows at my disposal. You'll never know what enemy might be waiting for you around the next corner, so stealth is key. And don't, even for a second, think that you can fight your way out of a jam. You'll lose it, believe me. Yes, I was stubborn. Despite the warning of the princess I tried to face my enemies head on, and found out that there's no way to win that fight.
So the better way is sneaking, using stealth kills and moving fast in the shadows. I must say, my patience was tested... and I'm not the most patient person as it is. So yes, Aragami was challenging for me. I didn't wait as long as I should to scope out the place and decide the best way to approach the situation. More than once, I was caught or I triggered the alarm, which brings on even more guards. I missed an option like a map or something which would offer you an overview of the current level, so that I would know where the guards were and go around them. I was often taken by surprise by a guard that happened to come around the corner, just as I was about to teleport the hell out of there. But at the same time, I think something like a map would definitely spoil the fun I had playing Aragami. The element of surprise, not knowing what's ahead; all of this is really fun and it put a big smile on my face. And you can tip the odds in your favor quite a bit, by collecting and spending skill points. There are many awesome skills for you to master, which are all really helpful.
I really have to tell you about the clever use of music and sounds in this game. When you first enter an area, guards are on duty and at ease. But if they spotted you or discover a body of a colleague, they trigger an alarm. You will notice that by the exclamation marks above their heads and the change of music. But if you successfully escape and hide from them, the music will again become a bit calmer. Eventually the guards will give up and going back to their routine. That's when the music goes back to the original relaxing tune.
I had a blast while playing Aragami. They game looks amazing, works great and the smart way the developers used music in this game are all factors which make this game very nice to play. Although stealth and sneak games will never be my favorite genre, Aragami is the one who subtly tells me that I should maybe change my mind about that.