Devil's Third preview

Devil's Third preview

The result of a long and troubled development, Devil's third is the first title made by Valhalla Game Studios, a Japanese development team founded by Tomonobu Itagaki, creator of the series Dead or Alive e Ninja Gaiden, after its release from Tecmo Koei. A not just pedigree, which together with the scarcity of information released during development has meant that a certain curiosity has matured around Devil's Third on the part of the most attentive players. So here we are with a preview, aimed at revealing the fundamental points of Itagaki's new creature.

Development Hell

La the genesis of Devil's Third was very problematic. Tomonobu Itagaki, a particular personality in the world of Japanese development, known for not being outspoken and for a certain "braggart" attitude, left Tecmo Koei in the now distant 2008, in disagreement with the top management of the company over issues relating to his salary. Together with other exiles from the company he then founded Valhalla Game Studios, starting work on what would later become Devil's Third. In search of a partner for the publication of the title, Itagaki and his Valhalla Game Studios then entered the THQ stable, which publicly announced the game in 2010. It would have been something different from the classic Itagaki titles, fighting and hack and slash, trying to reinterpret the shooter genre according to the sensitivity of the developer. The game, initially presented on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, soon ended in development hell, changing the graphics engine at least twice. In 2011 Itagaki hinted at the possibility of a Wii U version of the title, while in 2013, following the bankruptcy of THQ, Valhalla Game Studios regained full ownership of the rights to Devil's Third. Again looking for a partner for the publication of the title Itagaki finally landed in the fold Nintendo, which similarly to what happened for Bayonetta 2 finally, it decided to take on the financing and publication costs. So here we are at the current incarnation of Devil's Third, re-unveiled to the world during E3 2014 as an exclusive Wii U, and coming out the next 28 August.

So bad it's good

Devil's Third puts us in the shoes of Ivan, muscular and tattooed mercenary of Russian origin. Ivan is serving a sentence of over 850 years (!!!) of imprisonment in the Guantanamo penitentiary when the disaster strikes the United States and the whole world: a series of explosions and collisions in orbit knocks out most of the satellites, so much so. commercial ones as well as military ones, eliminating communications and spreading chaos all over the planet. It is the SODs, Ivan's former mercenary squad, now ruthless terrorists, who are responsible for the disaster and multiple other attacks on a global scale. In this emergency situation the US government will have no choice but to free Ivan and enlist him in an attempt to stop the old comrades in arms. Since its opening, Devil's Third clearly shows a DNA from B movie: the plot and the situations, as well as the characters, are like this

Devil's Third clearly shows a DNA from B movie

excessively over the top to strongly recall the most fracasoni action movies of the 80s. The characters, as unlikely as they are excessively characterized in their design, are almost a trashy and exaggerated version of the cast of a typical Metal Gear Solid, while the risky mix of "dudebro shooter" and classic Japanese hack and slash atmospheres screeches and fascinates at the same time. In the adrenaline-pumping adventure that Devil's Third offers, you seamlessly go from beautiful settings such as a Japanese red light district to grim trenches taken directly from a third-rate Call of Duty clone. One minute they face off against ninjas with sharp katanas and then they are shooting down helicopters armed with missile launchers. A concentration of clichés and situations that leaves the player surprised and perplexed, also given the absence of a deliberately parody purpose: in all this chaos Devil's Third takes itself damn seriously, making the spirit of the experience even more special, which perhaps with different tones could easily have passed for the classic “so bad it's good“.

Call of Duty: Ninja Gaiden

The gameplay also fully reflects this attitude: Ivan will be able to count on both firearms and white weapons, mixing together profoundly different combat systems. In the fray we will find ourselves with a typically hack and slash gameplay, a sort of light version of Ninja Gaiden's gameplay, without many of the complexities of the battle system of the Tecmo saga but with the same focus on the player's reaction times and on high levels of challenge. . As for the gunplay, Devil's Third finds himself mimicking first-person shooters, now third-person shooters based on cover, now team-based ones. Usually the view is from a third-person action game, but aiming to better hit the opponents will go first, with a particular solution that at first could confuse the player, but which soon turns out to be quite functional. Also interesting is the possibility of making “Vanquish-style” glides and practically switching from firearms to edged guns, continuously mixing the game systems. This is perhaps the most interesting side of Devil's Third, which allows the player a multitude of different approaches to what would otherwise be just a long series of clashes in outwardly varied but based on ad nauseam repetition of the usual corridor-room-corridor structure. Wanting to define Devil's Third in a nutshell it could be called a sort of Call of Duty: Ninja Gaiden, and honestly he wouldn't be very wrong. The curious mix of gameplay proposed is interesting and creates a particular and completely unique feeling, despite not being completely successful. Even in this aspect, in fact, Devil's Third passes seamlessly from brilliant moments to other mediocre ones, with a schizophrenia rarely seen in the gaming world. Fortunately, there is a high level of challenge to keep everything always interesting, even in those portions that honestly would be forgotten.

Watch out for textures

From a technical point of view, Devil's Third pays the price of its troubled development. The final version of the game uses the tried and tested U, an engine that on Wii U has always shown some hesitation. Devil's Third is yet another proof of this, and while the overall look of the game is certainly functional, we often find ourselves faced with ugliness such as textures that load late, others with a resolution level worthy of a Nintendo 64, and even performance drops in situations with many enemies and many explosions. However, the modeling work of the main characters remains valuable, all well characterized and pleasant to see in motion (especially the female ones, Itagaki's obsession) and some settings strike the eye much more than others (certainly the aforementioned red light district ). In addition to the singleplayer, the game also features a seemingly very substantial multiplayer portion. At the present time the game servers are not yet active and we will therefore come back to talk about it at a later time.

Comment Devil's Third is without half words a very strange title. Strange in embracing so many B movie stereotypes without parody intent, taking itself very seriously. Weird in mixing gameplay so different from each other. Strange above all also in the general success, with the same presence of banality and genius. Sometimes it's really terrible. Other times it is perfectly brilliant. In this he still manages to have a lot of charm, it should be recognized to Itagaki and associates. We now wait for the servers for the multiplayer component to be activated before returning with the final (and very difficult) judgment on this title. Pros and cons A new title from a respected author like Itagaki
It fills a nearly empty niche on Wii U
Strange mix of atmospheres and gameplay x Graphically it has many flaws
x Often the mix of different influences is too risky
x Some portions less inspired than others

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