Aragami Review

Written by Rick Lane

October 11, 2016 | 11:57

Tags: #dishonored #ninjas #thief-ii

Companies: #lince-works

Aragami Review

Aragami Review

Price: £19.99
Developer: Lince Works
Publisher: Lince Works
Platforms: PC, PS4
Version Reviewed: PC

A fitting alternative title for Aragami would be Blink: The Video Game. The short-range teleport introduced by Arkane's Dishonored is the most important mechanical evolution in stealth gaming since shadows. It completely transforms the act of sneaking around a 3D environment, enabling fast and fluid movement in a genre that hitherto required an awful lot of waiting around.

Aragami Review

Hence it's unsurprising that other games have begun adopting it. Even the latest Deus Ex had its own, slightly wonky version of Blink (just one of several various ways that Mankind Divided very obviously aped Dishonored). Lince Works is the first developer to base an entire game around it, however, and I have to say that the results are rather enjoyable. In fact, Aragami is probably the best indie stealth game I've played since Klei's brilliant Mark of the Ninja.

And it just so happens that it's as a ninja we prowl the night in Aragami, too. Sort of, anyway. Technically Aragami is a vengeful spirit, summoned by a girl named Yamiko, who has been imprisoned in a fortified city, to release her from captivity and exact revenge upon the righteous Army of Light. But given that he sneaks around feudal Japan wearing a hood and mask, I'm happy to go with ninja.

Aragami Review

No ordinary prisoner, Yamiko is bound to her prison by powerful magic, linked to several talismans from her past which are closely guarded by the army. It's these talismans that the spirit Aragami spends most of the game tracking down, sneaking and slicing his way through a dozen or so impressively designed levels before reaching his ultimate goal.

As I said, Aragami relies heavily on a version of Dishonored's Blink as the centre point of its stealth system. But it isn't a simple cut-and-paste of Arkane's brilliant idea. In Aragami, you can only teleport between shadows. It need only be the tiniest sliver of shade, but if it's beyond Aragami's reach, he can only creep slowly or run loudly between cover, either of which leaves him dangerously exposed.

Aragami Review

Indeed, light and shadow are even more important in Aragami than in most other stealth games. Aragami isn't simply hidden by shadow, he is sustained by it. Aragami's ability to teleport and use other skills is reliant on the amount of shadow essence he has available. The amount at your disposal is cleverly depicted on the back of Aragami's cape, and refills automatically when he is secluded in shade. Aragami is also virtually invisible in shadow, his body and clothes turning an inky black to represent your concealment. Direct light, on the other hand, actively drains Aragami's shadow essence, alongside preventing him from teleporting and making him visible at a great distance to patrolling guards.
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