The PlayStation 2 was an absolute powerhouse of a gaming console. It had an incredible, robust library of all-time great games including Shadow of the Colossus, Kingdom Hearts, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and so many more. From JRPGs to action-adventure titles to weird experimental sims like Chulip, the PS2 was loaded with fun games.

Aragami from developer Lince Works… well, okay, that wasn’t one of those games. But it could’ve been!

Originally released in 2016, Aragami gained a nice amount of acclaim for its enjoyable stealth-action gameplay, which drew comparisons to the Tenchu series. I missed Aragami during its initial run, but I decided to pick it up because I saw it popping up on my YouTube feed recently and it looked like a legit fun game. And after playing through the first eight chapters, I’d say it’s definitely a really cool title that I’m looking forward to finishing.

The more I play Aragami, though, the more it reminds me of awesome moments with my PS2. There was one year when I picked up a bunch of games for the system and played through them one by one. I remember beating Okami, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, and Bully all within a short span — and that was after I’d finished The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii. It was an awesome gaming period for me, and I can’t help but feel that Aragami would’ve fit nicely between Okami and God of War.

Aragami Stealth Action Gameplay

That’s not to say that Aragami feels dated, though. The game plays quite smoothly for the most part. Actually, despite being a stealth game, it moves at a nice, steady pace. You’ll enter small-to-medium-sized areas loaded with enemies patrolling the grounds. You’ll have to sneak up behind them, make noises to get their attention, and lure them into your traps to reach different objectives on the map. This is a no-frills stealth game, but it does a good job of creating environments and scenarios that are intense and require both skill and patience to clear.

You play as a spirit that’s been conjured up for the sole purpose of revenge. You’re imbued with the power of the shadow, which means the darkness is your best friend. Not only do use the shadows to sneak around, but they also power your special abilities. If you’re exposed to too much light, your abilities will drain, and you won’t be able to use them until you gain essence from the shadows. There’s no actual HUD meter, either — instead, rune-like symbols on your cape indicate whether or not you have enough shadow power to pull off abilities.

You’ll teleport between shadowy areas, throw kunai at enemies, and even summon powerful beasts to drag bad guys underground. The game is constantly moving and challenges you to keep pressing forward, but it gives you some rad abilities to do so.

Aragami Shadow Kill

Aragami is pretty polished in terms of its gameplay mechanics, but just like those classic PlayStation 2 games, it can feel a bit scrappy at times. There’s a minor lack of sophistication here, but that’s not always a bad thing (with the exception being the sometimes-inconsistent camera), because for a nostalgia-loving person like myself, it’s those gritty, rough-around-the-edges moments that take me back to a simpler time in gaming and help me appreciate both the classics that got us to this point and how far gaming has come in the past couple decades.

Oh, and those cel-shaded visuals are great, too. Aragami mixes a stylish blend of light and dark, with some great art design in terms of interior and exterior stage layouts. Enemy variety is sadly lacking a bit, but the world you sneak around in is pretty dope.

I’ve been having a blast with Aragami, and I can’t wait to finish it so I can play Aragami 2. It’s a really dope stealth title with awesome moment-to-moment gameplay. That said, as fun as it is, and as worthy of merit as it most certainly is, I can’t get over the fact that Aragami would’ve very likely been considered an all-time great PS2 game had it been released 15 years ago. Sure, it would’ve had a huge library of great games to compete with, but I’d wager it would’ve done just fine!

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