Aragami: Nightfall (Spoilers)

First: Not nearly enough people are playing this game! Now that is off my chest, again, I highly recommed Aragami, the supernatural stealth game by Lince Works, that recently got its first expansion called Aragami: Nightfall. The world is beautiful and mastering the shadow techniques fun. Stealth is pretty hard, combat does not exist, really, but that only adds to the challenge. In that, Aragami is not unlike Thief, my very favorite stealth game to date.

Beware of spoilers for the main game!

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Hyo refuses to listen to reason and would rather die a hero… Like pretty much every male protagonist in many a game.

Save Yamiko’s soul
While in the main game you play as the titular Aragami, a vengeful spirit called forth from the shadows to free Yamiko from her prison, Aragami: Nightfall serves as prequel and follows Hyo, Yamiko’s mentor, as he embarks on a tense mission in order to set her free again himself. Hyo is featured in flashbacks in the main game and if you read this post you have already played the main game and know he won’t survive this, since Yamiko and the Aragami find his grave on the outskirts of the city.

(Who else initially thought the Aragami was, actually, Hyo?)

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I prefer playing my own gender, if given the choice, so I went with Shinobu.

Which is why I was glad you can choose between two playable characters. One is, of course, Hyo, the other Shinobu, a new addition to the characters. Actually, two of the characters of the main game will return in the prequel.

(And Ryo, the Kaiho general who is the Aragami, gets a mention, which I thought was a nice touch.)

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Can we please take a moment to appreciate the beautiful loading screens?

So, Hyo, who is badly injured, and Shinobu, who fortunately has some healing skills, set out to try and free Yamiko. To do so, they have to find the Soul Alchemist (and since you’ve played the main game you know he’ll not survive that encounter either).

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The graphics have improved immensely in comparison to the main game, btw.

Turns out that, during the Kaiho attack on her stronghold, Yamiko’s soul was fragmented into five pieces and the Soul Alchemist plans to transfer these five pieces inside trinkets dear to her (the ones the Aragami has to collect to set her free). But, I hear you say, there were only four of them in the main game! That’s right. The fifth is the one piece that allows her to project herself into the real world and summon the Aragami.

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The beautiful environments were what made me initially fall in love with Aragami.

Aragami: Nightfall counts four chapters, each one of which features a new environment as enchanting as the ones featured in the main game, and each one is different.

While you will be sneaking through the beautiful world of Aragami mostly on your own (unless you are playing co-op), you will occasionally be rejoined by your partner to discuss important decisions and discoveries.

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Yeah! Badass!

Also, you can summon either Hyo or Shinobu for a synchronized kill, which is pretty cool. So, yeah, there are a couple of new shadow powers that come with this expansion. The Shadow Kill now has you summon a panther that will leap at your victim out of thin air and swallow it (this is instead of the already awesome dragon Ryo commands). Also, Kunai can now be used to booby-trap bodies (exploding kunai), meaning that if you wait for guards to approach and investigate, you can blow them up, too. It’s noisy, but also pretty effective. During my first playthrough I found that your initial set of shadow techniques is quite sufficient for finishing the game on Normal difficulty, but you can, of course, gather collectibles and gain points to expand your arsenal.

I have played the expansion once, so far, though less stealthy than I could have wished for, on the bright side I finally got the Up and Down-Trophy which you get for taking out an enemy by first shadow leaping to the ceiling and then performing a drop-kill on your unsuspecting victim.

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Hyo, nooo, don’t be a – Oh, well. Never mind

I thought the last chapter especially intriguing, because of course I wanted to know how Hyo died and that fatal encounter was certainly dramatic and appropriate. I love drama!

(Although I still think Hyo should have taken Shinobu’s advice, I understand that he thought he was going to die anyway and therefore chose to sacrifice himself for that one fragment of Yamiko’s soul to be free.)

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There she goes…

The Verdict
If you’ve played and enjoyed Aragami (which I certainly did, I think I’ve racked up five playthroughs so far), you don’t want to miss this expansion. And I really hope Lince Works will drop another expansion, (or maybe a new game?) real soon.

Until then, keep on playing!

Cheers

Vanessa