After a long time talking about Devil's third during the past month, with two different previews dedicated respectively to the singleplayer campaign and from multiplayer, it's finally time to take stock and announce our verdict on the controversial shooter of Tomonobu Itagaki. Ever since the first previews and the first gameplay videos were made available online, more voices have shouted scandal, pointing to the title as one of the worst games of the generation and, indeed, of all time. Before going into detail it is therefore essential to brand these statements as extreme exaggerations: Devil's Third is nowhere near as bad as some would like to suggest. But it certainly can't be called a successful game either.
I would but I can not
The idea behind Devil's Third is simple and intriguing: mix the classic American-style military shooter with elements typical of Japanese hack and slash, creating a hybrid with a varied and frenetic gameplay. Devil's Third offers us a game system that therefore provides combat with white weapons, with parries, dodges, basic combos of weak and strong attacks and executions of enemies as well as firearms, cover system and teammates. The transition between the two types of action is instantaneous, and thanks to a very accentuated mobility of the character the mix is on the really winning card. In reality, things are often very very different, because every goodness of the game system is frequently frustrated by a trivial and embarrassing level design and a truly asinine enemy artificial intelligence. In its best moments, Devil's Third offers incredible stunts, such as sliding towards an enemy by machine-gunning him, instantly getting up to beat up a companion and finally throwing an iron bar towards a third opponent, piercing him in the forehead in an explosion of blood, fragments of skull and brain matter. Scenes of this type take place with a crazy speed and frenzy, exalting and gratifying the player. Unfortunately, much of the game won't be like that. The ten levels that make up Devil's Third, very varied from an aesthetic point of view, on a structural level they abuse the corridor-room-corridor structure, with placement of enemies and cover too tightly. Often the attempts to face situations with dynamism and speed are frustrated by the fire of dozens of enemies that swoop down on us as soon as we put our nose out of cover, forcing us to a slow, boring and repetitive cover shooter routine.
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It is absurd to think about how the development team was able to create such a fun game system and then prevent the player from taking full advantage of it with such a dull level design. The responsibility for this situation seems to be traced back to ingenuity and neglect during development rather than to a conscious choice. Call of Duty is clearly one of the major inspirations of the title, with many elements in common: breakthrough and break-in scenes, occasional fixed turrets, in-vehicle sequences and so on. However, the team has transposed the basic level design of the Activision saga without adapting it to the gameplay of Devil's Third and without understanding or reproducing the taste for cinematic action typical of a Call of Duty. The result is stale, forced, soulless. Even at the level of rhythm, problems emerge, with the game that reaches its climax exactly in the middle of the campaign, leaving in the second part some of the most ugly and frustrating sequences (such as driving an armed vehicle, literally terrible). To raise the situation, in addition to the rare moments of greater breadth, the exciting boss battles, a good half of which put the player in front of battles to the death, in which to unleash every feat made possible by the gameplay system.
Massacres online, between clans and chickens
At the intermediate level it takes about 8 - 9 hours to complete the campaign. The levels are quite long and characterized by a rather high difficulty. The many moments in which the player suffers an unjust death are offset by a very generous distribution of check points, practically one to each room, limiting what would otherwise be excessive frustration. The replayability of the title is limited and guaranteed only by the presence of collectibles and by a further difficulty, actually very similar to the default one. The reason to keep playing Devil's Third is the multiplayer mode. It is articulated and full of options the very core of the game. The excellent structure of the arenas, large, elaborate, located on several levels, allows a wealth of situations and a dynamism in the gameplay unthinkable compared to the boring corridors of the singleplayer. Having to deal with real opponents, capable of exploiting the particularities of the combat system like us, gives us adrenaline-pumping battles, reckless tactics and continuous mind games to overcome other players. The fun is also guaranteed by the great variety of modes, which combines traditional clashes with special conditions such as a white weapon match or mad races to whoever collects the most chickens. The clan mode is impressive, which allows the construction and customization of a base to be defended, as well as managing diplomacy between the various alliances, with armistices, pacts and various betrayals. Up to 16 players at the same time can participate in multiplayer discounts, resulting in colossal and exciting battles. The downside, however, is constituted by the excessive size of the arenas: these are in fact calibrated for the maximum number of players possible, and when you are in clashes with only 3 or 4 opponents they are actually a bit too empty. Another problem is incorrect balancing of the various weapons available. Some weapons, easily obtainable already at the initial levels, are in fact excessively strong, and can completely condition the progress of the games. A seasoned player manages to stem the abuse of weapons such as the flamethrower or shotguns, also thanks to the versatility of the game system, but unfortunately it is the less experienced players who pay the price, risking not to be able to fit into the flow of the game . Finally, it raises an eyebrow, the inclusion of the possibility of spending real money to buy golden eggs, so that you can unlock weapons and advanced equipment more quickly: the online ecosystem, already put to the test by the poor balance of weapons , could be compromised by players willing to spend real money to get the best equipment in the game. Only in the long run will we be able to establish whether this will actually happen, but in the meantime we hope that Valhalla Studios will rethink its policy or at least try to stem the abuse in some way. Despite these criticalities, the multiplayer of Devil's Third appears varied and fun, as well as really highlighting the goodness of the game system. We are on a completely different and superior level to the mediocre singleplayer campaign, and the title would deserve the purchase only for its multiplayer portion.
Charisma doesn't depend on textures
From a technical point of view, Devil's Third exposes the side to a lot of criticism. The general appearance is basic and uncared for, and appears dated in several places. The version of the Unreal Engine 3 used on the Wii U hesitates a lot, and from the expected 30 FPS it often lets go embarrassing frame rate drops, both in single and multiplayer. The polygonal models of Ivan and the enemy bosses appear very accurate and convincing, but practically every other character is made in a generic way and with a low number of polygons, as well as part of the settings. The textures have some of the most obvious problems, such as loading delays (with elements that suddenly appear in the middle of the scene) and low level of detail (in some cases we touch a Nintendo 64 look). Things are a little better from an artistic point of view with an alternation of elements in the average with others absolutely spot on. The level set in a traditional Japanese neighborhood is almost able to leave the player speechless, while the trench sequences of World War II leave some time they find. Ivan and the team of enemy bosses emanate charisma from every pore, while generic enemies and teammates seem to be taken from any shooter from the last 10 years. In the same way, the game's plot fascinates the player, not so much for its goodness, but for the ability to add together an absurd amount of 80s B-movie stereotypes, with exaggerated and over-the-top attitude, but taking always damn seriously. There is no parodic intent in the title, and being confronted with a meaningless jumble of terrorists, zombies, ninjas, WWII planes and atomic bombs has an almost involuntarily comical effect. The resulting atmosphere is literally unique and provides a perverse charm and charisma to the entire production. The music and dubbing in English are of a good standard, while the Spanish language localization is totally missing.
Verdict 7/10 The allure of trash Comment The million dollar question is: Is Devil's Third really as bad as you hear on the internet? No, absolutely no. However, it is not a good game in the traditional sense of the term. It presents excellent insights in terms of gameplay constantly whipped by a bad level design and by frankly incomprehensible choices of the development team. Of a completely different weight is the multiplayer, frenetic, fresh and fun, despite the obvious balance problems. The multiplayer portion, however, manages to showcase all that is good in the game system designed by Itagaki and associates, and would deserve the purchase of the title alone. Overall Devil's Third is a very strange title, certainly not a masterpiece, but one of those games that over the years will develop a cult following, thanks also to the reputation of "so bad it's good". That's why we recommend recovering it, perhaps at a reduced price, so as to be able to say, when the controversy over the title has subsided once and for all: "I have it and I have even played with it". Pros and cons ✓ Brilliant and original combat system
✓ So trashy it's fascinating
✓ Rich, fun and fast-paced multiplayer x Not up to the Itagaki reputation
x Mediocre countryside
x Not perfect multiplayer balance
x Graphically often inadequate