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If you don't buy El Shaddai, you're KILLING THE GAMES INDUSTRY - and it's not even your fault.

It's DMC meets Okami in Heaven, and one of the year's best games - but the low sales are no shock

Let's be realistic - El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron was never going to sell. Not only because of the name, which makes about as much sense as a see-through dog, but because nobody knows what it is.

Look at a Call of Duty screenshot and you can instantly tell it's a game about men shooting each other. Look at an El Shaddai screenshot and you're left with more questions than answers. Why is Michael Bolton covered in wet toilet paper? Why does that sausage have a face? Why is it a 2D platformer in some screens, and a 3D action game in others?

The simple answer is that it's weird, and weird doesn't sell. Gareth Wilson, former design manager at Bizarre Creations, summed it up perfectly at Develop in July: "Fear is a bigger driver for consumers than desire. They're not going to buy something they haven't tried before, because it might be crap."

El Shaddai is not crap. It's uncrap. But when you can only afford one game a month, or even two, and you have to choose between Resistance 3 - a first-person shooter that's part of an established franchise - or a weird Japanese game that you don't even understand, the choice is obvious.

But you should buy El Shaddai. Ok, maybe that's a bit high handed - but you should at least give it a chance. Albeit as a rental. Or when it's cheap in a few months. Or give it the dignity of at least picking up the box.

It's one of the most gloriously imaginative games on PS3 - or any format for that matter. Its perceived 'weirdness' is, in fact, the reason it's so special. Every screen is bursting with creativity, and as you shift between levels, it's constantly reinventing itself.

The gameplay itself is much more familiar, reminiscent of Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. Battles take place in enclosed arenas, and the combat is fast, flowing and artfully simplistic, using only a handful of buttons - block, jump and attack. So while the visuals are confusing, the game itself is actually really simple.

It's a collusion of all these things that makes El Shaddai so compelling - the visuals, the combat and the plot. Despite being based on an archaic 2,000 year-old religious text, it's one of the most mesmerising video game stories in a long time.

The basic premise is that you, God's pal Enoch, have to defeat and imprison a bunch of rogue angels who've abandoned Heaven and set up shop in a big, scary tower. You do this by ascending the tower and basically beating them up as you go. The remarkable imagination of the art design extends to the script, and superb voice acting seals the deal.

The sad truth is, if you don't buy El Shaddai, there might not be many more games like it. Making a video game today is a huge investment, and if publishers don't recoup some of that money, they can't release more games - it's as depressingly simple as that.

I'm not completely blinkered, of course. I understand this isn't a game for everyone, and a niche prospect - especially compared to the equally great Resistance 3. All I ask is that you take a risk. As the great John Lennon once didn't sing: give niche a chance.

Imagine a world where games didn't surprise you any more; a world where every time you slid a disc into your PS3, you knew exactly what to expect. It would suck, right? That's why you need El Shaddai, and why El Shaddai needs you.

Or maybe it doesn't. The game sold well in Japan, so with money already recouped, the UK release was always a low risk publishing proposition. But it doesn't excuse it for positively trying to turn you away and force you towards Resistance 3. It's not what Michael Bolton wanted.

Andy, PSM3

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