Demon Gaze (Vita) Review
Posted by Doug Yates on 04.28.2014
Is NIS's newest dungeon crawler worth your time? Check in with 411's Doug Yates
Title: Demon Gaze Developer: Kadokawa Games Publisher: NIS players: 1
The Vita is becoming a RPG haven and I love it. Demon Gaze is NIS’s newest JRPG brought stateside and despite its obvious low-budget origins is a surprisingly solid addition to the Vita library.
Picking your character is straight-forward, scroll through a bunch of static images and pick which one you want to represent you, though the game informs you that for the purpose of the story—regardless of your gender preference—your character will be considered a human male. You may then choose from a plethora of options for both race and class, all of which have their own inherent strengths and weaknesses.
The overabundance of highly sexualized character models may turn some away, as well as some of the more sophomoric humor, but underneath the pervy veneer lies a fairly well written and moderately interesting story that will take about 40 hours to complete.
Starting out as an amnesiac in a dungeon doesn’t bode well for originality’s sake, but waiting it out will bring a few interesting twists. Your character is a demon gazer who has the ability to capture a demon’s soul.
Reaching the Dragon Princess Inn will introduce you to the rest of the cast staying at the Inn. From the secretive innkeeper Fran to the weapon shop owner, each character has their own reasons for staying at the inn, which you will discover over the course of the game as you rid each area of its controlling demons. You must also pay rent every time you return, so each excursion must be planned out before leaving to ensure you make enough money to pay as well as purchase upgrades and items.
The inn is the source of all things you need from sidequests in the hall, reviving in the basement, or weapons and items on the third floor. You can also rent new rooms allowing you up to five characters in your party, each of which is created the same way as your own character, or you can take the suggestion of the innkeeper for a premade selection.
In order to obtain the demon souls in each area you must first deal with all of the circles in an area. The circles are areas on the map where you must use a special stone in order to summon a monster to battle. Upon completing the battle, that circle is captured and you may use it to save your game. Once all the circles in an area are captured a demon circle will appear allowing you to battle the demon of that area.
Each time you defeat a demon you must return to the inn since you may only carry one demon soul at a time and have Fran turn it into a key. The keys may then be used in battle as a form of summon giving your party inherent and your character active abilities. The demons run off of a gauge which if emptied during battle will cause the demon to go into a rage and attack both friend and foe alike, forcing you to keep a close eye on the meter.
The first person perspective harkens back to the early days of RPGs. Controlling your character is simple and straight forward, moving the stick up will move your character forward while right and left will make your character turn 90 degrees in that direction. The right stick can also be used to sidestep without having to turn. Moving creates a map of the area. Uncovering the map becomes addictive as you never know where there will be a secret passage or hidden loot.
Battles are turn-based and happen both randomly and at certain markers on the map. Fighting is a familiar affair for anyone that has played any turn-based RPG with the exception of the demon gauge. The difficulty of these battles is fairly unforgiving, especially at the beginning of the game before you begin to build up your party.
Visually the game world is nothing spectacular: the levels are fairly generic, but the hand-drawn look of the enemy models and characters definitely make up for that. Cutscenes are also mostly static images with the occasional blink to give them a bit of life.
The characters are only partly voiced, but that is standard fare for these types of games. The voicing that is there is well done and the writing is often humorous. The musical score is fairly standard Japanese pop and more classical pieces.
• Fun fighting with plenty of tactics.
• Interesting characters and well written script.
• Great looking enemy sprites.
• Bland looking level backgrounds.
• Starting difficulty is daunting.
The 411: Demon Gaze is one of those games that takes a second to get a hold of you, but once it does it won’t let go for a long time. Despite its obvious budgetary hurdles it manages to rise above its constraints to reach a higher level than expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Beautiful enemy designs but bland environments make for a disjointed feel.
Simple controls with a standard turn based fighting system make this one easy to pick up and enjoy.
Standard musical fare and partial voice acting do their job well enough.
With a campaign that lasts upwards of 40 hours and a old school difficulty you will be playing this for a while.
odd aesthetic choices aside this is still one solid little RPG.