When you gaze at the demon, the demon gazes back at you.
It was the release of Etrian Odyssey IV on the 3DS that converted me to a fan of first-person dungeon crawling action. While I enjoyed both EO IV and EO:U greatly on the 3DS, I felt the Vita would also be a suitable platform for the genre, and hoped a similar title would be released.
While Demon Gaze doesn’t quite beat EO in overall quality, it manages to be an enjoyable trek through treacherous dungeons that I’m sure the fans of the genre will love.
Platforms: Vita Exclusive.
Multiplayer: Online functionality only for shared messages found in the dungeons (like the Souls series).
Demo Availability: N/A
Voice Acting: Includes both JPN/ENG.
Length: 20-30 hours.
Demon Gaze doesn’t take too long before dropping players into the thick of things, and while there is certainly an overarching story of sorts involving a number of eccentric characters, it’s largely uninteresting.
At the very least, it serves to push the narrative forward for the actions the player must take and sets up some rather amusing scenarios of varying comedic value.
The meat of the title comes from the exploration of dungeons, and as they are vast and cleverly designed with numerous gimmicks and traps to be aware of, entering a new area felt exciting every single time.
While the random battles occurred more frequently than I’d like at certain sections of the game, the combat could be fast forwarded with auto-battle queuing up my previous actions, so it never felt too much like a drag. One other thing that helped was the wonderful soundtrack filled with choir-like vocals and melodies that fit the mood, whether during a heated boss encounter or a casual stroll through the green meadows.
The beautiful artwork representing both the enemies and the party members looked vibrant and stylish, and I didn’t mind the fact that they didn’t animate too much.
One oddity in the opening hours of the title is that while it’s standard to be given a full roster of characters in a party, they must be earned one at a time by paying rent to the Inn Manager.
This meant that I wasn’t even able to get a full roster to work with until I was 2-3 hours into the game and by the time I got them, they were already pretty far behind in levels, making them difficult to use.
It felt like an unnecessary speed bump, and made the first few hours quite a bit more difficult and annoying than I’d like.
Lastly, while this is certainly a simple title to some extent, with only equipment and stat points to allocate, there is a serious lack of explanation in how many of its mechanics work when it comes to skills.
A more extensive description for each skill and stat point would’ve been greatly appreciated.
Demon Gaze proudly treads on proven grounds with a few twists of its own, and fans of the genre will surely enjoy their adventure as the bane of all demons.
Fun Tidbit: There’s a great deal of fan service in this title and most of it is pretty harmless and there for comedic value.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.