There’s a lot of controversy around this game from Valhalla Game Studios, from being passed around by different publishers and almost got dumped but thanks to Nintendo this hybrid hack n’ slash first person shooter one-of-a-kind romp got to see the light of day. Seeing Saturo Iwata San’s name as producer gives me shivers down my spine (and a tiny pain in my heart). This very soft-spoken kind-hearted man, the maker of Kirby associated with brutal over-the-top bloody senseless violence is very much unlikely. Yes, senseless but rewarding. Most boss battles need a lot of strategy except for the first boss “Molotov” that can be beaten with just shooting. Most of the reviews and let’s play videos shows only the first boss battle which doesn’t give the game justice. Before making some hateful comments about the game you can read this review or just play it yourself. If you grew up playing Ninja Gaiden and oldschool games on the NES and SNES you know what to expect. You’ll get a lot of index finger (L Button) cramps from dodging super attacks and just a split second to retaliate a blow that really doesn’t do much damage.
NOTE: Playing this game in SOLO STANDARD MODE will be really challenging. EASY MODE will be mindlessly easy. And Hardcore will be hard as balls crazy. If you’re a masochist then by all means play on this mode.
Most mainstream reviewers played this game on EASY MODE and bashed the game as a mindless, soulless game. This game has a lot of heart despite the change of publishers and game engines it still looks and played fine. Its nonsensical B-movie plot is very self-aware and not trying to be pretentious like the other mainstream FPS we all know (CoD, BF).
The story is not your typical All American Hero trope. The protagonist is an Eastern European (Russian) terrorist convict Ivan (very well-thought name), and your mission is to hunt down your former comrades and destroy the plot of conquering the world. You were ask by the US military to lead (babysit) a team of US Special Forces that will somehow help you throughout the missions. These NPCs will shoot and damage any enemies that’s on sight considering they’re on the right range. Either you will chuckle or cringe on some plot decisions made for this game but it’s all fun. You’ll encounter chimeras (if you’ve watched Stephen King’s “Sleepwalkers” they looked like that) instead of zombies, there are sword-wielding gun-slingin’ dominatrix, an African Warlord, Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, female version of the Predator and a former Master. If you’re a fan of over-the-top action B-movies you’ll feel right at home. Even though it’s cheesy and sometimes ridiculous it’s still is an engaging story despite what others might say. You know that the developers and Tomonobu Itakagi San had lots of fun making this game.
Most gamers who saw the gameplay on E3 including me were a bit skeptical on how the 3rd person hack n’ slash to first person shooter will work seamlessly. I have good news for you, it works! The first stage (Prison) will teach you the basics and it’s up to you on how you’ll implement the melee and range attacks. Yeah sure you can shoot all the way but there are times you need to shoot the enemies even at close range. A good example is the Ninja with double katana blades, it has two version one with red goggles and one with blue, beware of the blue ones they are more aggressive. Once they’ve swarm you you’re a goner, they wont do the same attacks, while the others will slice n’ dice you one of the blue eyed ninjas will shoot you from a distance, if you’re not dodging and moving about they will definitely kill you, kill the ones who are shooting first. This is of course playing on “Solo Standard Mode” NOT the “Easy Mode”. Do yourself a favor, have the dignity to play it at least on “Standard Mode”.
Switching to 3rd person to FPS is a breeze but (yes there’s a but) you need to know when to use it or know how to switch. Just a tip, if you’re on 3rd person all you need to switch to FPS is pressing the LZ trigger (to target) then RZ trigger to shoot, if you’d like to switch back to 3rd person seamlessly you need to release the LZ trigger before pressing the Y button on 3rd person hack n’slash mode. If you’re still pressing the LZ button after shooting the Y button wont connect, like a cancel move. It’s a bit weird, hopefully Valhalla will put a patch on that issue. It’s a bit annoying when you’re on a heated fight with swarms of ninjas and then you got killed because the melee attack didn’t connect.
I haven’t spend much time on online multiplayer but what I’ve heard are good reviews so far. There’s an in-app purchase aspect on the online multiplayer but it’s all superficial. You don’t really need to purchase anything to win, it’s more on cosmetics and gears. An arcade-like “Score Attack” mode is unlock after you finish the missions. This gives the game more replay value and if your a completion junkie there are trophy items to collect and most of them are really hard to find/reach.
I’ve seen a lot of reviews that bashed this game’s graphics. They say it belonged to the PS2 era. I think it’s just plain mean. This game looks better and less glitchy than “Transformers: Rise of the Dark Sparks” and”Sonic Boom”. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed those games but c’mon let’s be fair here. The only glitch I can find are collision detection from those of dismembered body parts that sticks and wiggling to the wall and final blows that is disconnected to the enemy models. These doesn’t affect the gameplay whatsoever. The frame rate most of the time is consistent at 30fps the only time the frame rate drops is on the beginning of a stage, seems like it’s still loading some of the environment but it will only last a few seconds. It never drops during fights, specially boss fights. There are texture pop-out but still tolerable. Like I’ve said this game still run and plays better than other well known titles out there.
You can see the evolution of stage design here. You’ll start from a not so exciting Prison stage, then some place in South America (like CoD Black Ops II), some airstrip/hanggar, a Nazi-like mad scientist lab, a beautiful Japanese garden/temple and an underground base. It’s like a parody of every action b-movie flick you’ve ever watch.
MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS
The music is a mixed of orchestral techno and heavy metal. It works most of the parts. Voice acting is OK, Ivan’s character shows no emotion but it was intended that way. You’ll think he doesn’t care but I’m telling you he does care. The rest of the US Special Forces NPCs voices seems familiar if you’ve played Cod and BF. There are funny and not so funny (but most of them funny) exchange of dialogues between Ivan and the US SF characters. About the sound effects, the melee attacks, sword cutting through flesh and bone were satisfying but some guns sounded almost the same with little distinction. All in all sound and music is good.
Devil’s Third is definitely not game of the year but it delivers something different on the table. The hybrid 3rd person melee to 1st person shooter system is a blast. The hardcore in-your-face skill-base gameplay might turnoff lots of gamers but just like Itagaki San said this game is for the skilled gamers. If you’re both a Ninja Gaiden and CoD/BF fan you should check this out but if you have only played the latter you might wanna think twice if you haven’t played Ninja Gaiden. I don’t usually rate games but just for the sake of rating it I’ll give it a 7.5 out of 10. Loooking forward to Valhalla Game Studios next game installment.
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