Sunday, 27 April 2014

Demon Gaze

I was quite surprised to find out that NIS American decided to bring Demon Gaze to the West. While there's a great love for the JRPG in the West, first-person Japanese dungeon crawlers never quite took off, and always remained a generally niche market. Plus, while that might be enough to avoid bringing Demon Gaze to the Western market, it's also a sequel to a game that was never released outside of Japan. So it goes without saying that the odds were against it, but with Sony doing their best to beef up the catalogue the PS Vita, Demon Gaze has made it to our shores. However, while the fact that we're able to play it is indeed a success story, the big question remains; is it any good? Read on...

Developed by Experience Inc. and out now for PS Vita, Demon Gaze puts the player in the role of Oz, a young man who has the ability to seal demons. Oz is a Demon Gazer, and as Peter Parker was once told, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Oz must battle ten rogue demons and prevent to the awakening of the most powerful demon, Sol. Over the course of the game Oz must work together with a team of various other characters, until the final epic encounter with Sol.

Demon Gaze is a first-person dungeon crawler. However, before you crack into the heart of the game you'll first need to create your character. Customization is rather linear, but that's forgivable, as you never quite see your character much anyway. Regardless, creating your character covers options in the form of gender, race, voice and class. Once that's all chosen you'll be thrust into the world, which, aside from the central hub for the player to relax in, consists of dungeons, dungeons and even more dungeons! But you aren't expected to take out the ten rogue demons alone as, while at the local Inn, the player can create four team members to tag along in your adventure. Once again you'll need to use the character creation screen, but creating these characters is arguably even harder than before, as you'll need to find a balance between the classes you're forming your team with. For instance, five archers will lead to your team unable to use close ranged attacks, while a team full of Paladins is basically suicide. A steady, evenhanded selection of classes is the key. Also, while at the Inn the player can buy weapons, items, chat to the various vendors and, of course, accept new quests.

After gearing up at the Inn, The world of Mythrid consists of six major areas, each looking largely unique due to a very diverse visual design. The game's main focus is on grinding and finding loot, both of which are plentiful. Through countless random battles the player needs to build up their team in order to then go up against the ten rogue demons. Battles are fun, if a little repetitive and tedious at times. That said, if random battles, grinding and finding loot is your thing, Demon Gaze does a great job at nailing this for the portable market. Due to the up close and personal perspective of gameplay, visually Demon Gaze is pretty impressive, and though the PS Vita is capable of far, far more, the visuals do keep gameplay feeling fresh. For instance, the exotic locations, great enemy designs and rich, vibrant player characters breath life into the game, especially during times where it's teetering on the edge of the tedium. Though the mix of 3D and 2D graphics is a little jarring at times, Demon Gaze successfully builds both an interesting and exciting looking world, as if it was plucked from the pages of a Japanese manga.

Overall Demon Gaze isn't for everyone, but if you're into this genre you can't really go wrong. Though it may look somewhat simplistic at first, even painfully so, if Demon Gaze takes your fancy you'll find yourself wrapped up in a world that will sap your time away. Sure, it has its shortcomings, but it's a solid addition to the PS Vita.

Demon Gaze eyes up a 3/5.


Denis Murphy

Demon Gaze at CeX

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