El Shaddai and Sonic Colors Ultimate bring the 2010s back
PS3 and Wii titles finally getting their 4k bow
2011's El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is one of those games that really came and went, but it left a bit of an impression on the four or five people who deigned to play it. Naturally, I was one of those four or five people, nabbing the PlayStation 3 version from the Peterborough branch of Cash Generator several years ago. Its mixture of simple 3D combat and esoteric 2D platforming with beautiful Gris-like visuals (but obviously predating Gris) and a baffling story of ancient mythoogy resonated with me to an extent, though I never counted it among my all-time favourite games or anything. Now, though, it's back on PC, running at a beautiful 60 frames per second - though I needed to dig up the config file to get the right resolution. Bah!
Anyway, this new lease of life is richly deserved because El Shaddai is flippin' marvelous and everybody should give it a go. Gameplay-wise it's closest to something like the original style of God of War but even simpler and markedly less graphic. The locations you're sent to are these towering, mystical, biblical things and they evoke a very real sense of wonder alongside the unfeasibly stirring soundtrack. You're essentially just moving around and mashing X to batter everything in your role as Enoch on his way to becoming the titular Metatron. There's a lot going on here, spiritually, and I'm not even going to pretend I'm well-read enough to know what it is. I remember Alan Rickman as The Metatron in the movie Dogma, is that good enough? Look, El Shaddai is absolutely ace and any self-respecting gamer should give it a look - I guarantee it will be like nothing else you've ever played and at this stage in the hobby that really ought to be enough. It's also fun! So that's two reasons. I wish there were more games like El Shaddai, honestly.
Going back a year to 2010, we've also got a re-release and re-mastering of Sonic Colors in the brand spanking new Sonic Colors Ultimate, which finally pushes the Wii-exclusive hog-'em-up into full HD and 60fps where it has always belonged. See, the Wii version of Colors - despite being impressive in many ways - always felt hamstrung by its chosen hardware. No offence, Wii, I bloody love you, but Sonic Colors was clearly stre-e-e-e-e-tching beyond what you're capable of.
Now, years later, it's finally happened and it turns out that Sonic Colors sort of needed its shortcomings to seem as impressive. Don't get me wrong - Colors is NOT a bad game, in fact it's a pretty high-tier 3D Sonic; tons of levels, tons of variety within said levels and tons of stuff to find. The problem is, really, the limitations of the Wii kinda made the game seem greater than it actually is! Which isn't the game's fault at all! Not really. But I still couldn't shake that sense of ...oh.
Still, stay positive. I've played Ultimate on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X systems and encountered none of the insane, wild glitches I've seen all over Twitter. I'm not saying they aren't present (though patches have dropped), I'm saying that things aren't nearly as dire as has been presented. This is a fundamentally fun Sonic game and I'm glad it's getting a new lease of life, though I'm not crazy about some of the changes - the music has been remixed in some levels that sort of spoils their vibe, and the removal of the lives system always makes me roll my eyes. What's wrong with stakes, guys? Seriously??
It's great to see this game liberated from sub-HD prison and I'd like to see the extremely fascinating Sonic Unleashed get a second go around. Honestly, that game really grew on me. And so will Colors as I put more time into it. I need to get all those beautifully well-hidden Red Star Rings, see.