When I first saw Aragami a few months ago my first thought and hope was: could this be the new Tenchu game I’ve been waiting for? I’m a big fan of stealth games such as Metal Gear Solid, Tenchu, and more recent games like Dishonored so Aragami instantly had my interest and had me counting the days until indie developer Lince Works finished it. Now that it’s finally here can Aragami step into the shadows with those other stealth game greats?
The game starts with you, Aragami, being summoned from the dead by a girl named Yamiko. She needs your help to free her and you’ll need to collect six special talismans to do so. Since you are a dead shadow warrior it’s only fitting that your enemy is the Kaiho clan who control light. The game is defined as a third-person stealth action game but you’ll probably want to be more on the stealthy side of things and I’ll explain why below. As you play through the 13 missions that make up the story you’ll learn more about Yamiko, yourself, and your enemy via short cutscenes.
Each mission that you play will set you in a location and task you with getting through it in whatever way you see fit. At the end of the mission you’ll be graded on various things such as were you seen, did you kill all the enemies, etc. This can of course encourage you to go back and replay to get a better grade. Now I said that you’ll mostly want to play stealthily and that is because one hit from an enemy will kill you. This isn’t a game like Metal Gear where if you are spotted you can fight back so stick to those shadows. The game gives you plenty of tools to do just that anyway. First off there are scrolls that you can pick up that give you new abilities such as turning invisible for a short duration or even some new attacks that let you take enemies out from a distance. It’s really up to you on what you pick depending on how you want to play the game.
Another thing you can do in Aragami is use the unique teleport power the game bestows upon you. What this allows you to do is if you see any shadow in the level you can hold down R1 to aim at said shadow and then instantly teleport there. As you can imagine this becomes very useful for navigating and avoiding enemies. You’ll be wanting to scout those enemies out as well to make it through these levels. Enemies can see you if you are in a certain field area of light kinda like the old cone vision from Metal Gear. The game helps you understand if you are seen in some ways such as your cloak glowing red. If you run into the safety of shadow you’ll turn black. It’s just nice little visual indicators that help let you know whether you’re in danger or safe. Even with these things the game offers plenty of challenge and you’ll be playing in all kinds of different ways to get better scores and to unlock all of the games trophies if you’re into that.
To further encourage some replayability the game also has online co-op allowing you and a friend to team up and take out the Kaiho silently together. It was a welcome surprise and one I didn’t even know the game had until I played it. Visually this game has a beautiful cel-shaded art style. The environments and characters are well done and it will certainly grab your attention. The music work here is done well too and features a variety of instruments to create a suspenseful mood. While I like most things about Aragami it does have its faults and many of those are due to the Unity engine it runs on. Framerate issues pop up a lot while the AI in the game also doesn’t always act right. There was more than one time where I was spotted despite being in the shadows where I’m suppose to be safe. Hopefully these things can be fixed in a future patch.
After finishing Aragami I will say I was satisfied with my experience. Despite the performance issues the game offers a great stealth experience and reminded me a lot of the old Tenchu games I loved. The game offers a lot in my opinion for the asking price giving you a lengthy campaign and encouraging you to play it over to get better scores or play with a friend in the online co-op. If you’re a fan of stealth games Aragami is one of the best ones you can buy right now.
*Review Code provided by the publisher