Casting a demon gaze on this RPG.
First person dungeon-crawler Demon Gaze is an unusual RPG game by Kadokawa Games and NIS America on PlayStation Vita and one of the strangest titles I’ve encountered on the portable handheld for a while.
As the game begins, you take the role as protagonist Oz, a young man who is unconscious and awakens inside a dungeon with no recollection of how or why he is there. Through the course of the early game, the story reveals that you are a man with a great power that enables you to seal demons and then use their power to destroy your enemies.
After some insight from the various characters of the game, you’ll navigate your way through a series of dungeons in a first-person view, where you’ll battle enemies and collect items to help you in your quest or aid your healing. The turn-based combat follows you through a series of paths with random and static encounters. The easy to use mini map pinpoints upcoming targets and areas you are required to explore, so you never feel lost and there are plenty of health items to regenerate your health if you come across enemies that are far stronger that you anticipated.
Using the left stick and directional D-pad you can change direction, and the left and right shoulder buttons enable you to strafe. You’ll spend your time going back and forth across different paths, avoiding enemies or finding your way round a series of locked doors. Some sparkling doors need to be kicked using the X button and some of these doors react to various demons if activated. This involves swapping different demons you have managed to seal to find out which one will work. Occasionally you’ll come across some locked doors and these require you to explore further to find the key.
There are numerous enemies scattered through surrounding areas and each have a different strengths and capabilities. You’ll be tested through three diverse danger zones to experience the full force of Demon Gaze. An extensive assortment of spells are made available to you through your journey, which can be anything from increasing your magic effect to avoiding lesser encounters, which does help through the gameplay.
During the game, you’ll have to keep an eye on the demon gauge as it depletes once demon skills are used, but it does replenish once you’ve encountered enemies. If however, your demon gauge is empty and you try and use a demon skill, your demon goes into a chaos mode and will randomly start attacking your party members, so always be aware of your demon gauge.
Collecting special gems allows you to generate powerful demons, which results in epic damage to enemies, and gems enable you to unlock scattered treasures. Inside these trinket boxes you’ll find weapons and accessories to help your party members. Your character levels up at a reasonable rate and weapons can be upgraded, if you have the required gold.
During battle,if you’re defeated, you’ll return to the safe area of the Dragon Princess Inn, where you can recuperate and regain health, purchase and sell valuable weapons, buy magic spells and hire new characters to accompany you on your next journey. The game has a series of side quests to embark on, but the main story is really the main appeal. There’s a mixed combination of storyboard entertainment and first person role-playing action.
It’s very easy to die and you’ll find yourself spending a great amount of time swapping in and out of different characters judged against the strength of enemies. Resting between battles means heading back to heal at the inn, as long as you can cough up the rent that’s due, meaning you’ve got to carefully plan out each journey and weigh up the odds of finding valuable treasures and defeating enemies each time.
The storyline felt quite flimsy and characters came across strange within the dialogue, leaving me not feeling very connected to the game. I’ve played a number of dungeon crawlers and role-playing titles over the years and this one personally felt a little bit out there. The combat system is long winded and more than once boredom set in. Character conversations are mind numbingly tiresome and I cared less and less about each individual member of my party as time went by. Graphically, the game didn’t look as impressive as I had hoped for and there were a number of times I felt like I was redoing battle areas in the hope for something a little bit rewarding. Battling becomes predictable and repetitive, and often times I wondered if it was worth going back for more after I was defeated.
Despite all of this, Demon Gaze is a solid game and will no doubt have its followers. If you are a hardcore fan of the dungeon crawling genre and don’t mind the grind, Demon Gaze may well be right up your street. But be warned, you may need more than a demon gaze to see the appeal of this Vita game.