Aragami – a revived spirit made entirely of shadows put on a path of revenge. All to save a young woman held prisoner by the oppressive army of light. Shadow dash and back stab your way through beautifully stylised zones, leaving a bloody trail in your shadowy wake. Shadows are your friend and light your mortal foe. Use this information to your advantage or find yourself returned to the underworld as suddenly as you were summoned.
Developer: Lince Works
Publisher: Lince Works, Merge Games, Maximum Games
Avg Game Length: 6hrs
Aragami, developed by LinceWorks, is a third person stealth game where players control an undead assassin who has the supernatural ability to control the shadows around him. There isn’t much going on with the story. It mostly involves short interactions between the player and a doe eyed girl in white at the beginning and end of of each chapter. This lets you get straight to the point of the game – you are a badass ninja and it’s time to silently murder anyone in your way.
A Cliché Ninja Story?
The overlying story of Aragami is as cliché as they come. You are an Aragami. A revived and vengeful spirit, summoned by a young woman in white named Yamiko. She has been magically imprisoned by the clan of light known as the Kaiho. The Kaiho killed Yamiko’s people and took her prisoner. Therefore, the Aragami has been brought to life to seek revenge on the Kaiho. Also on the players to-do list is to release Yamiko from her shackles by finding the missing enchanted talismans.
There you have it – all pretty cliché. All that seems to be missing is a brother hell bent on revenge. It is not all bad though. As the game develops, the story gets deeper. With constant flashbacks from the past, players will slowly start to piece together a puzzling tale that’s worth investing in.
Aragami Enjoys Fluid Stealth & Mechanics
The rules in Aragami are extremely simple. Get close to an enemy and tap a button to slice his throat, all without arousing the suspicion of his comrades. The game has the glass cannon approach – you kill enemies in one hit, but you also die in one hit. Meaning that you can’t run around like a rabbit on speed slicing and dicing your way through the level and expect to get away with it.
Luckily Aragami makes sneaking about fun and easy. For example, by using the shadow step ability you can look at a shadowy area nearby and with the press of a button, teleport directly to it. Not too dissimilar from Dishonored’s blink ability. Though you can only use shadow dash on areas of shadow. Early on you will unlock the shadow pool ability which lets you create an area of shadow you can teleport to later, with shadow dash.
Once you get the hang of these two abilities you will find it easy to move extremely quickly and explore the maps with ease. As you progress through the game you will find glowing scrolls which will unlock skill points for you to use on your skill tree, unlocking a plethora of cool and interesting abilities. Some of these include traps, blinds and my personal favorite – the shadow monster which brings forth a monster from the shadows to devour your enemy.
Once you’ve unlocked a few of these abilities, Aragami truly becomes a stealth sandbox where you can use the maps to your advantage. Whether you prefer the no kill ghost approach or the silent bloody trail, play how you want to.
Intelligent A.I Takes Center Stage
The AI in stealth games can often be an issue in when not tuned correctly. Especially when players can casually walk up behind an enemy and stab them without arousing suspicion. Aragami has decent AI. Its characters will hear loud footsteps from running or walking nearby, meaning demands a use of crouch to get around silently. Hiding in shadow is also not as effective as you’d think.
Enemies will see you regardless if you come into their FoV. This makes for tense gameplay that soon has you frantically checking every corner, trying to learn enemies’ paths. Once a corpse is found or you get spotted, the alarm is instantly raised. So you’ll need to find a very good hiding spot or failure will suck you back into the shadow realm.
Aragami has a beautiful aesthetic and a fantastic soundtrack to go with it. The world has been heavily stylised in a way that feels truly unique. You will explore several different areas each with their own distinct style. From a large graveyard that feels oddly spooky, to a beautiful temple that has flowing water features in the center. The areas themselves feel fairly open, especially once you have unlocked a few abilities. These will allow players to explore the different methods for taking down your enemies.
The soundtrack in the game, created by Two Feathers Studio, is utterly brilliant. It kicks in right from the title screen instantly making the player want to jump into some hardcore ninja action.
Yet, Arigami Is Far From Perfect
I only found a few problems with Aragami. Notably, a few with the AI. One being occasionally when attacking an unsuspecting guard, they could instantly block and kill you. Also, when players are spotted, the guards begin a ranged attack which they will instantly throw at you. I found it locked onto your position no matter how you tried to dodge.
This even happened when teleporting directly behind them. Both of these issues can be very frustrating and a couple of times during my playthrough I had to put down the controller and walk away. The other problem I found was the occasional frame-rate drop when shadow dashing in quick succession. Though this will hopefully be fixed in an upcoming patch.
Aragami is a true stealth game that will have anyone who enjoyed Dishonored or Tenchu. The difficulty curve may be off-putting for anyone who likes an extra mag or extra life in their video games. On the other hand, it definitely appeals to those who are true stealth game fans. I personally loved this game for the mechanics. It has a style that had me hooked from start to finish. I would advise any gamer to get their hands on Aragami and experience it for themselves.