What do you get when you mix the repetitious combat of Dynasty Warriors with the gothic stylings of Capcom? Probably something along the lines of Devil Kings, the next iteration of mindless hack and slash combat that is bound to bore gamers to tears. While there may be a strong following to the Dynasty Warriors franchise you have to bring something new to the table in this genre to catch the attention of cynical gamers. Devil Kings attempts to add character to their heroes with little success and the action is only a step above mind numbing. Find out why Capcom has yet another average game to chock up in their PS2 library.
The story in Devil Kings, for lack of a better word makes absolutely no sense. You will not understand why you are fighting nor have any desire to care. The characters are forgettable and the dialogue borders on the fine line of ridiculous. There is also no consistency among the characters. One minute you are wielding a sword with one and the next firing lazer beams with another. Aside from all of this the cut scenes also feel sliced together with CGI and anime thrown in to simply arouse fans of all things Japanese.
The combat consists of the usual pounding of the square button with a bit of triangle thrown in for good measure. Basically you can string these two buttons together but the end result is usually the same. Recycling combos plague this title with very little for you to strive for. Imagine if you will slaying over 700 enemies with the same combo on every level, yes this game is truly that boring.
What do stand out though are the special moves. Blending a mix of magic and earth with falling rocks and lots of fire does add something to the mix. Mystical magical goodness surrounds DK but just like the combo set you will be seeing them time and time again. The animations are also well done and the character models of the main characters are far from horrendous.
The environments are a step above Dynasty Warriors but still nothing to get excited about. Capcom has crafted far better looking games on the PS2 so there really is no excuse for how poor this game looks. The frame rate however is rock solid and the special effects mentioned earlier add a visual flare that even the Dynasty Warriors franchise has yet to master.
My biggest complaint about this title though is the absolutely idiotic AI that surrounds me at all given times. My allies rarely ever engage enemies and the enemies will simply run in circles until I decide to attack them. I cannot wait for the next generation of consoles when characters will have decent artificial intelligence.
Kings also feels extremely rushed in production values. In addition to the completely out of place cut scenes and horrible dialogue the game never seems to get anywhere. The main single player Conquest mode feels almost like a blanket that covers its archaic combat system. No multi-player to speak of and little to no reason to come back and play through multiple times. Simply put DK is one of the most boring and mind numbing experiences I have had on my PS2 this year.
In the end I do not recommend purchasing this title unless you are a huge DW fan. Kings brings nothing new to the table in a genre that seriously needs refining. Capcom had an opportunity to really push the style and make this game a sweet mix of Devil May Cry and Dynasty Warriors and failed to deliver half of either title. I suggest renting if you really must give this title a ride, but I guarantee you will get off before the first checkpoint.