Game Title: Aragami Shadow Edition
Company: Merge Games Ltd.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital
Battery Life: 2 – 3 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 3.2 GB

Stealth games are an interesting genre, as they feel drastically different depending on how they’re shown. 2D and 3D stealth games can have very similar mechanics, but feel impossibly different all from a simple camera angle. As such, 3D stealth-action games really feel like a ton of fun for me because of how they look and feel.

I recently became aware of a 3D stealth game recently released on the Switch from back a few years ago on other systems. Combining Eastern Lore and making you feel like a stealthy shadow ninja, here is my review of Aragami: Shadow Edition for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

aragami 2 - story

Aragami takes place in an Eastern Nation where Kaiho, am army of “Light” have taken over the land. You are Aragami, a vengeful spirit summoned to this world by a prisoner of the Kaiho, whom uses Astral Projection to guide you to her prison in order to free her and bring justice for her slaughtered people.

This also includes Aragami: Nightfall, which puts you in the shoes of two Shadow Assassins that stalk the Kaiho, whose actions lead up to the events of the main game, offering a good amount of backstory to many of the characters you encounter and why things happen in the main game the way that they do.

The story of Aragami is good and interesting, due to its mystery. It’s a treat to be able to go around and feel like you’re on the “bad” side, running around and stabbing and summoning shadow monsters to viciously assault and devour the enemy. But it’s also interesting to see how Aragami gains personality and changes across the story, slowly becoming more aware beyond his main task and figuring out who or what he is.

Gameplay

Aragami 4 - gameplay 2

Aragami is a 3rd person action-stealth game. Across its many levels, you’ll be sneaking past or eliminating guards to solve puzzles and get to your next objective to move onto the next story bit and chapter.

First off, this is called “Shadow Edition” because it is more or less a bundle package with all of Aragami’s content. It comes with the base game as well as the Aragami: Nightfall Story DLC that released later on. It’s the same as Shadow Edition on other systems, so you’re getting all of Aragami in one package.

With Game Modes, you basically just have the two Campaigns to go through for the Story and costumes you unlock for Aragami in the main campaign. Both campaigns can be played either with Single Player or Online Multiplayer.

aragami 3 - gameplay

Progression is pretty simple. You’re placed in a 3D sandbox-style area with the goal of getting to the other end of the map and exit the level. To do this, you have to get past guards and, quite often, take out statues or pull levels to solve light puzzles and open up the path you need. It feels very much like a Metal Gear game in levels where you need to find keys to unlock doors to reach the next area.

Navigation is different due to the game’s reliance on lighting and Shadow Magic. You can easily navigate around maps and jump up on buildings by using Shadow Magic. Anywhere shadows are cast, you can transform into shadows and warp to. This lets you get past and around guards much easier than just sitting and waiting for them to make their rounds and give you an opening. It is also limited, so when you run out, you have to find a shadowey area and let your magic recharge.

This also ties into skills and abilities you gain as you go through the game. Whenever you find hidden scrolls, you get Upgrade Points to upgrade your arsenal, from gaining the ability to hide corpses and prevent them from being found to Shadow Techniques that allow you to become temporarily invisible or throw Magic Kunai’s to kill faraway enemies. Whenever you use Techniques, you use up a charge, so you can only use them so many times.

However, the balancing in this game is done so well that there are ways around that. There’s a Shadow Kill ability you can unlock that will restore a charge of the technique gauge. So, you can use the Invisibility Technique, which uses up one charge, and use that invisibility to sneak up on a guard to Shadow Kill them, which will restore that use. The different abilities are built around supporting each other, which makes this a really convenient and fun stealth game.

aragami 5 - skills

The game also gives an Assassin’s Creed vibe to how you kill enemies. Outside of using skills, you can one-shot enemies when you run up to them, just like they can one-shot you. All of these kills are very cinematic and can be from the ground or from a ledge above them. It also lets you play the game in different ways, be it slow and sneaky or constantly running at a full sprint and slashing your way through everything in your way. The latter is a ton of fun and really fits that “Shadow Assassin” sort of vibe around the protagonist.

Now, in terms of content and length, there’s a fair amount of game here. It took me around 10 hours to complete the main game and another 2 hours to complete Nightfall. After you complete them, there’s not much else to do outside of replaying the main campaign to get better ranks and unlock the other costumes for Aragami. So, the game will give you around 12 hours of gameplay (less if you’ve played the game before. I got lost on a frequent basis around the half-way point of the Main Story).

It’s certainly not -terrible- for the price of $29.99, but it’s something you should think on before diving into your purchase.

Controls

Controlling the game is pretty simple, overall. No touch controls to worry about, nor any motion controls. Everything is done with the buttons.

You move around with the Left Analog Stick and move the camera with the Right Analog Stick. The D-Pad / Arrow Buttons are used for commands to open up your map markers. The L trigger is used for sprinting while ZL is used for crouching. R is used for Shadow-Teleporting and ZR for creating shadows to teleport to.

Then we have the face buttons. A is used in menus, while B lets you cycle through your Shadow Techniques. Y is used for attacking enemies and X for using your equipped Technique.

Overall, it’s pretty simple and there are a ton of hints/tutorials that are given to you as you play through the game.

Presentation

aragami 6 - presy

Graphically, the game looks quite nice. The cel-shaded style of the game makes it look very colorful and there’s a lot of detail, all the way down to the design on Aragami’s cape and how different he and the Nightfall characters look between them being in the light and in the dark.

With performance, the frame-rate does stutter a bit during certain animations, which does hamper you when you’re trying to sneak or use a technique on someone. It doesn’t happen a ton, but it happens probably a few times during each hour of gameplay. The game does crash, too. I’ve had it crash on me twice, which isn’t a lot for 12+ hours, but it did mess me up when it crashed in the middle of Chapter 12’s trek across bridges.

Battery Life

With Battery, I wasn’t expecting a ton, but here is what we got:

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 16 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 41 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 02 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 29 minutes

Definitely on the low side of things, but acceptable.

In conclusion, Aragami is a fun stealth game that combines colorful Eastern style with gameplay that lets you play it however you want. On the downside, there are frame-drops here and there during gameplay and occasional crashing. If you can deal with occasional frame-drops, though, this is a great stealth game to play alone or with a friend.

Final Score: 8.5/10