Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Layopi Games
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Release: 17th September 2019
Character action games are hard to nail, very hard. It takes years of experience, fine-tuning and polishing to achieve true greatness in this genre as seen in Devil May Cry 5, which is able to surpass basically everything because it’s insanely well polished on top of being the best Devil May Cry. That’s also why I’m always curious about indie entries in this genre, especially bigger budget ones like Devil’s Hunt manage to catch my interest because they’re daring enough to try their hands at it, sadly, often they fail and this game isn’t a big exception.
Devil’s Hunt is about Desmond and his furious decision making about which side to join in this war between Heaven and Hell. After killing himself as a result of a truly awful day and life, he learns of his historic role of either becoming the savior or destroyer, placing him in the middle of a fight he never realized existed.
And during the whole game, Desmond basically tries to find his side, somehow, in a very confusing, dumb and simply annoying tale that takes itself way too seriously. Every chapter tries to come up with its own twist, maybe to keep the tension up, however, this constantly twisting story becomes a chore after a few chapters and I simply stopped bothering with it all. Characters define themselves through their alignment, have no personality and Desmond itself is just an influencable child that somehow is neither sympathetic nor dislikeable, claiming this weird spot of nothingness in between. Maybe because the studio was founded by the author of the book it adapts Devil’s Hunt whole plotline comes across as awfully pretentious without any real message or meaning nor appeal.
Unfortunately, the gameplay can’t hold its own ground either, tapping into the same trap pretty much every indie character action game falls for: Clunkiness. For one, the camera is pretty much always too close to Desmond, making most fights feel quite claustrophobic and easy to lose sight of. Get too close to an enemy or too far away from them and it’s just a chore to refocus and manage this little beast.
Yet, even if you manage that, Devil’s Hunt just doesn’t feel very good. While the basic attacks connect reasonably well and offer a good amount of in-between variety, dodging or finishing with special attacks just feels weird, if not wrong. Partly because there’s a percievable delay in pressing a button and the action combined with the generally stiff animations. Another factor is that there are no real air moves, pretty much all fights are on the ground, bashing on enemies, almost like Desmond is boxing and not some badass fighting demons in style. Naturally, no one expects a Devil May Cry level of style but the sheer lack of any real athletic moves just adds to the whole stiffness as it feels and looks like a brute guy hammering on enemies without a clue, nor motivation.
Additionally, Devil’s Hunt level design just isn’t good either, consisting of a weird mix of walking simulator passages mixed with fights but without real pacing. Some levels throw tons of enemies at you in the first minutes, then 10 minutes walking without much stuff to do, then one fight, walking again, a few more fights and a boss. It just feels weird as the whole game is clearly lacking any kind of side acitivities despite having levels clearly requiring side activities. As a result, those calm scenes just feel boring as hell and just take away from the atmosphere.
Sadly, even the performance is mostly abysmal. While it suffers from a bug every 10-30 minutes, be it crashes, enemies stuck in corners, not reacting enemies or scripts seemingly not playing right, the game is also too demanding for the okayish graphics. With some rly 2D-y fires and overall just mediocre textures and enemy details, it’s nearly as demanding as The Surge 2. On top of that, most effects are as underwhelming as the animations, special attacks often just produce some light smoke or tiny particles, making them feel weird in every way possible.
Devil’s Hunt is bad, stiff and quite unpolished. Maybe think about the purchase if you’re in for the really bad story or stiff combat and it’s on sale but otherwise, stay away.
[A Review Code was provided by 1C Entertainment]