Aragami: Shadow Edition (PC) Review

By Josh Di Falco 09.06.2018

Review for Aragami: Shadow Edition on PC

Aragami: Shadow Edition is Lince Works' final package of its third-person stealth-assassin game. The Shadow Edition packages the base game with the paid DLC, Nightfall, while also containing the free DLC add-ons that provide new skins to play around with. The titular hero of the piece is a shadow spirit who is summoned by a girl called Yamiko, who is a captive of the enemy faction known as the Kaiho. As an army of light, Aragami must rely on the shadows and the dark to breach the Kaiho's base and free Yamiko, as well as the captured Shadow Empress, to fulfil his quest. Use a series of different abilities to navigate through challenges, and the most important aspect of all is to not get caught.

From the get go, Aragami looks beautiful as the animation feels very much like a comic book come to life. While the base already looked great, the Shadow Edition enhances the visuals by upping the frames per second to 50. The stealth assassin feels smoother to control, and the animation flows beautifully from action to action in a way that is unlike other titles. Unfortunately, this animation upgrade comes at a cost, as the frames seem to "break" more than before. Some will skip, while cut-scenes will split, freeze, and fast-forward to catch up due to the lag, which is a shame as this ruins what is otherwise a visually beautiful but haunting atmosphere.

The Shadow Assassin needs to lurk in the shadows to fully utilise his abilities to get through each stage. While he can kill enemies with such sneaky ease, unfortunately, a full-blown battle is completely out of the question. If Aragami gets caught, his best chance of survival is to run and hide out of sight. The enemies will always one-hit kill him, which makes the strategy of sneaking around stages even more harrowing. Unfortunately, it does not make any sense why the skilled assassin can't deflect enemy swords, especially when cut-scenes show him successfully parrying attacks without any issue.

Screenshot for Aragami: Shadow Edition on PC

The story of Aragami, and his breach of Kaiho to free the Shadow Empress and the young girl, Yamiko, who summoned him, is told over thirteen chapters. Aside from this rescue mission, the story does not venture any deeper than that. While there are optional scrolls that are hidden in each stage, collecting these opens backstory chapters, which is meant to be give greater context to the story, but it is hard to make sense of anything when reading these scrolls as they are being collected.

However, the story is not the most integral part of this experience. The gameplay gets the whole sneak-and-stealth-kill factor down to a tee. Aragami has a wealth of abilities that require collecting the scrolls to learn and upgrade. These abilities allow for new kills, and new ways to approach each obstacle that arises. While the enemies themselves all stick to a simple path, learning each of their routes, and when they turn around to expose their backside, is integral to making it through these stages safe and sound.

Enemies do not even need to be killed. Of course, killing them could make the stage easier to get through, but some will love the challenge of not getting sighted or alerting the guards, while also making it through without killing a single guard. The stages have an arcade-like feel to them, and the different medals awarded at the end of each stage for completing different objectives helps further that experience. This grants plenty of opportunity to redo stages and trying different strategies, to ensure completing everything there is to Aragami.

Screenshot for Aragami: Shadow Edition on PC

In addition to the main story, the Nightfall DLC also packs in four more stages in a prequel story to the base game. However, it is a prequel that is best played after playing the base, for the story relies on assumed knowledge of the characters in the main adventure to truly understand what exactly is going on in the prequel. Hyo, the guild leader of Nisshoku, and one of the members Shinobu, are the two characters of the DLC, as they embark on their quest to free the Shadow Empress themselves from the Kaihu.

There are three new abilities unique to this mode, although they are better than any of the abilities that are on offer in the base. Kage is a useful one that makes the assassin temporarily invisible, although they can still be heard by nearby guards; however, the Twin Shadow ability and the Explosive Kunai will get used quite a bit to cause commotion and despatch multiple guards in one hit. In the main story, though, the multitude of abilities on offer is rarely ever needed, except for Kage.

Aragami has a glow metre on his back that signifies how much power he has to use these abilities. His ultimate trademark move is to teleport from his standing spot into a shadowed patch. This is a speedy form of travel for him, and what ultimately makes him so deadly. Fortunately, for him, standing in the shadows will replenish his power metre so that he can use his teleporting abilities. Making him more dangerous is how if there is a floor that he cannot teleport to due to it being light, Aragami can actually create a temporary shadow on the spot to then teleport to it.

Screenshot for Aragami: Shadow Edition on PC

These game mechanics are integral to the stealth-killing methods, and there are many ways to use these abilities to trick enemies or trap them in a corner. Aragami can simply make a noise around the corner, the nearest enemy will approach to investigate the sound, and just as he turns the corner, Aragami can teleport behind the guard. The confused guard will then make easy prey for the assassin.

There is an online portion that basically allows for co-op play in the same stages for both the base game, as well as the Nightfall expansion. While it sounds like it could be fun, there was not a lot of action happening online and many attempts to join games or create a new game went unanswered during the review process. However, as the servers get populated, this could easily be something worth pursuing for many more hours of fun and enjoyment.

Screenshot for Aragami: Shadow Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Aragami: Shadow Edition is a good stealth-based assassin adventure that plays more like an arcade game, as opposed to a gritty, realistic experience. With thirteen main-story stages to sneak through, and the addition of four lengthy stages under the Nightfall story arc, there are plenty of thrills and harrowing experiences to be had here. While the story is minimal and simple, and there are the occasional graphical glitches that cause brief disruptions to the flow of the game, this is an adventure worth jumping into for those looking for a stealth-based adventure romp.

Developer

Lince Works

Publisher

Lince Works

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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