Ever since the previews for Devil's Third went live I've seen the same question popping up on forums and social media.
"Is it so bad that it's good?"
Allow me to finally answer this question for you... No.
The 'so bad it's good' concept is a valid one. I get it. A game can be laughably poor and still provide some form of entertainment, be it through glitches or unintentionally awful voice acting. These games, however, tend to have small redeeming features that you can cling on to while ignoring their flaws.
That's what is missing from Devil's Third
. There's nothing to raise the spirits of the most optimistic of gamers, and by the time the credits roll the last glimmer of hope that there might be something in this game to raise a smile fades and you're left wondering why you wasted your time with it.
is a third-person hack and slash game that can flick to being a first-person shooter at the blink of an eye. The execution of this simple idea is the only thing the game has going for it. Switching is quick, and the two play styles have the potential to come together and create an exciting action game without feeling like a gimmick.
That's probably why there's still a little hope out there from consumers. Promotional videos of a character taking down someone with a sword, then quickly switching to a rifle for a head shot makes it looks fun. With a controller in your hand, however, you'll soon realise that if anything this is just a massively missed opportunity.
When considering that two play styles are involved, I was prepared to lower expectations for both. I certainly wasn't expecting Bayonetta
mixed with Battlefield
. What I got was worse than my already deflated hope.
There are some incredible action games on the market, ones that raise the bar like DmC
and others like Hyrule Warriors
that prove that you don't have to reinvent the genre to create an enjoyable experience.
shuns the bar completely. In fact it runs away from it, into the stands and punches the nearest orphan it can find in the crowd. It's so basic in its gameplay that you're bored by the end of the first level and it never tries to mix it up thereafter.
I spent the majority of the game hitting one button over and over, occasionally holding down a shoulder button to aimlessly dodge out of the way of attacks. The enemies don't offer tells, they don't allow you to be tactical with your fighting. They're the sort of things you fight in tutorial areas for good games, constantly running at you waving their weapon about like a conductor at a Skrillex gig.
It removes any sort of thought behind melee combat. There's no finesse or interesting combos and what you do at the start of the game is exactly what you'll be doing by the end.
Then comes the shooting, which does fare a little better. It's average at best but the game provides a decent amount of weapons to choose from and does manage to create a few moments of good gunplay. It ultimately suffers from the same problem as the melee combat, though, in that there's nothing interesting to fight and once you're about halfway in the game gives up on trying to change that.
In fact it's a wonder that nothing is done throughout to really take advantage of the game's unique selling point. I was entering areas wondering if the next bit was going to be a sword fight or a shootout, not trying to see how the concept could evolve in new ways.
To cap it all off the game is full of lazy work, from floating guns to enemies that don't notice a grenade at their feet. Some enemies can shoot through the cover they're using, making it impossible to kill them unless they happen to be stupid enough to pop their head out of safety. Some enemies float when they die, others run into walls for no reason.
The list could go on and on. Devil's Third
contains glitches that I haven't seen since the PS2 era and it's hard to believe that the game has been released in this state in 2015. It's not like the broken game spell of 2014 where menu systems and online servers caused problems, it's more basic than that. The game engine is broken, making it almost impossible to for patches to create a complete fix.
Then we have the end of level bosses. A good boss fight should feel like a puzzle. It should take what you've learned up until that point and test you on skill or tactical ability. These bosses do neither. They can all be killed in the same way through mindless slashing or shooting and most have instant-kill attacks that will take you down without warning or respect for your time.
If you run out of bullets there's no way to replenish ammo. If a boss knocks your melee weapon out of your hands and you don't pick it up before it vanishes then you're left with no option but your fists. It's just terrible game design and these moments that are supposed to be tense set-pieces end up being frustrating and dull.