|But it is very pretty.|
For all of it’s faults, however, El Shaddai is a very interesting, arrestingly pretty game. You play as Enoch, the lone human in a heaven full of angels, called down to fight against the seven fallen angels and their nephilim. The story takes a lot of liberties with the original texts, glossing over who exactly Enoch is, who the archangels are, and what precisely a nephilim is*, even including a cell-phone toting guide named “Lucifel” who dispenses handy advice every once in a while.
|This is supposed to be a nephilim. Riiiiiight.|
Angels don’t have gender, at least not in Christianity, Judaism or Islam. As such, most people throughout the ages have chosen to depict them as male, men having served for most of human history as the gender neutral option. This does not bother me overly much, insofar as we all bear in mind that these are still gender neutral beings, and they need a form of some kind for us to comprehend them. Whatever.
What rankles in El Shaddai though, is that they are not all male. In fact, some angels are female. Again, this does not bother me overly much. In the absence of true gender neutrality, then gender parity will serve. But they are not equal. To the eleven named male angels, there are just two named female angels. Two. And both of these adhere precisely to overarching gender stereotypes.
What the hell, game?
|Again, though, super-duper pretty.|
Videogames have never been a particularly strong voice for gender equality, to be frank, but this was a very poor showing. While I appreciated not being forced to accept the designer’s idea of proper combat attire as something akin to a bikini top with leather pants, an issue commonly found in most female videogame characters, I still did not appreciate the way the characters were subjugated to their gender. Despite being angels, and thus logically outside of the gender paradigm, they still managed to adhere a little too well.
It was a really pretty game, though.
|I mean, come on, even the fights are pretty.|
*All of which are things I could go into in more detail if prompted, but I figured we have bigger fish to fry. Let me know if you’re interested.
**Point of note that Ezekiel was actually a prophet, but, again, whatever.