Devil Kings ReviewCain Dornan
Theres no hiding the clear indications that the inspiration for Devil Kings has been sourced from Koeis long-standing Dynasty Warriors series, as both titles are very much alike. Both games offer similar gameplay mechanics, which have you guiding your lone warrior through hordes of suicidal enemies as you carve your way through an oriental world. Despite the immediately noticeable similarities between both titles, Devil Kings manages to offer a slightly more enjoyable and fuller experience, as Capcom has successfully pulled a tried-and-true gameplay style and add their own tweaks to create an experience that is marvelous in its own rights. This isnt to say that the game is delivered without a number of small problems, though.
Devil Kings is based in a half-real, half-fantasy world. Many of the games visual touches, such as environments, buildings and character costumes, are based around the ancient feudal Japan era. Expect to play witness to a variety of elegant and colourful costumes and warrior uniforms, with a solid recreation of the environments and surrounding areas. The actual gamplay, on the other hand, is purely fictional, placing you in control of warriors capable of wielding over-the-top weapons that are capable of performing impossible moves, which can prove to be satisfyingly fun to perform. Rather than running on an ultra-realistic combat system, Devil Kings implements an arcade-based battle system that is both simple and enjoyable to use, allowing for the battle against your lone soldier and hundreds of others being both an enjoyable and slightly refreshing experience.
Throwing away the usual complicated and over-the-top controls that litter todays action titles, Devil Kings returns players to the classic age of games where a majority of games were relatively simple to control. Rather than being forced to remember far-too-long button combinations to perform moves, Devil Kings incorporates a simple combat system that can differ slightly to suit the players preference. Choosing the Easy difficulty allows you to mow through the game with relative ease by simply tapping two attack buttons repeatedly, which is a perfect offering for those who wish to play a simple, straightforward game. If youre up for more of a challenge and variation, choosing either the Normal or Hard difficulties will require you to plan your attacks more so than what is needed with the Easy difficulty. In the Easy difficulty, enemies will crowd around you like brainless zombies, allowing you to battle a select enemy while the rest patiently wait for their bashing. On the higher difficulties, youll find that the enemies are more forceful, attacking you from all angles at any time. Youll soon find yourself using button combinations to perform more effective moves and utilising the block button semi-regularly.
The game offers a mixture of twelve playable characters to choose from, each sporting their own unique personality and fighting style. The uniqueness of each character extends to their weapons, such as one individual who offers dual-pistols as her preferred weapon of choice. A small girl, on the other hand, takes preference in a huge sledgehammer one that has the appearance of a blow-up toy that squeaks whenever you hit something with it. The only thing is, this little girls hammer is real, and can surely deal considerable damage to whoever is unlucky enough to fall within its swing.
Youll gradually earn experience points for your character the more you play as them. For each kill you dish-out, a green diamond-like object appears, which grants you with a certain level of experience. As your level grows, your characters stats will improve appropriately, with higher level weapons and various ability-granting objects also becoming available as you play.
The majority of Devil Kings life is through the Conquest mode, which allows you to select a warrior and then proceed through the games free-expanding storyline. Basically, you are given a map that you must conquer, however, you are not strictly limited in the path that you take. You can choose to attack any of the enemies territories that are situated alongside one of yours, which can open up the possibility of several different stages available for play at any one time. This mission-choosing diversity, coupled with the individual storylines that each character offers, allows for a slightly varied and freedom-of-choice gameplay experience that extend the games lifespan.
If you tire of Conquest, you can also venture into the Free Play mode, which allows you to select a character from your roster and then choose any of the games missions to play. Theres also the Gallery, which is essentially a collection of game extras that include information on the characters, including their background, their voice and artwork, and the games movies and music. The complete absence of any form of multiplayer support, however, is certainly disappointing, as the replay value of the game would have been ramped up considerably if two players were able to fight hordes of enemies side-by-side.
One of the more unique aspects of Devil Kings is the presentation of each characters storylines. Although the storyline is pushed along through cutscenes that appear in-between battles, the mixture between both computer-generated videos and actual animated anime drawings provides an interesting take on presenting a games storyline. Essentially, youll play witness to a cutscene that has been rendered by a computer, while the next one that youll see after completing a mission will be completely rendered in anime cartoons. It is slightly weird to begin with, considering that the market isnt exactly abundant with half-half presented games, but does aid in providing a further level of variation to differentiate it from the Dynasty Warriors series.
While Devil Kings is far from an innovative or unique game, it does provide a straightforward and enjoyable experience that provides gamers a slightly different alternative to the Dynasty Warriors series. The unfortunate lack of a multiplayer offering is certainly disappointing, but the single player mode does hold enough gameplay life in its own right to keep fans of the genre interested for a reasonable period of time.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.