Layopi Games / 1C Entertainment
Big-budget action games of the hack-and-slash variety have seen a recent resurgence, with both the God of War and Devil May Cry franchises being perhaps the biggest dogs on the block. New hack-and…er…punch-and-punch actioner, Devil’s Hunt, was clearly inspired by both of these juggernauts and not only sought to blend them together, but sprinkle a little sumpin’ sumpin’ of its own into the mix, just for good measure. So how does this title stack up against the big boys of the genre?
In Devil’s Hunt, you play as Desmond Pearce, the spoiled rotten son of a wealthy businessman. From the outset, Desmond seems to live quite the charmed life; he has a (undefined) high paying job his daddy bestowed upon him, a super-hot fiancé, and rides around in expensive cars. Oh, and he also kicks bootie as an amateur boxer in his off-time.
But as is often with people who seems to “have it made,” all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. In the blink of an eye, Desmond’s fortunes take a rapid turn for the worse. He loses his job, gets beaten down by a no-name boxer, and finds his best friend having sexy-time (in Borat voice) with his girlfriend. Things go further off the rails when Desmond drives his car off a bridge in a successful suicide attempt.
Desmond wakes up and finds that he’s been transported to hell by the bigger-than-big, baddest-of-the-baddest; Lucifer himself. He soon discovers that his reversal of fortune is all due to an ancient prophesy and that he is in fact a being known as the Savior and Destroyer. From there, he must decide whether he wants to fight for the angelic forces of good or the demonic forces of evil. Yes, good ol’ fashioned angels vs. demons time.
If this whole angels and demons things sounds like a melodramatic novel from the 90s and early 2000s, you wouldn’t be far off. Devil’s Hunt is indeed based on (Polish author) Pawel Leśniak’s novel, Equilibrium, which features…you guessed it…angels battling demons.
There is an increasing trend afoot where developers are basing their video games on novels, which I think is great. It means that gamers can get more immersed in a more “from-the-heart” novel adaptation. For game developers, it means that they can be more efficient with their time and need only concern themselves with the technical aspects of their games, as opposed to having to worry about creating a storyline from scratch and then fleshing it out (which takes a tremendous amount of work).
Unfortunately, Desmond comes across as a rather apathetic character. It’s as if he doesn’t really care which way the wind blows. This is in stark contrast to the more well-written characters, such as the angel Gabriel and even Desmond’s cheating girlfriend, Kristin. The voice-acting is mainly pretty good. However, the facial animations are very lackluster, almost resembling flat masks with barely moving lips. They are so bad that the voice actor’s lines don’t always sync up with the movements of the cardboard-looking lip movements of the characters on-screen.
Devil’s Hunt’s visuals are powered by the ever-popular Unreal Engine and throughout most of the game, are used to good effect. The environments are gorgeously-rendered and really give you a sense of place, whether he is traversing through the lowest depths of hell or the highest peaks of heaven.
Gameplay-wise, Desmond can utilize three schools of fighting; Unholy, Executor, and Void. These may be switched between on the fly as each situation demands and feel pretty intuitive. Unfortunately, the combat itself feels stiff and unresponsive and sometimes I almost felt like I was fighting in slow-motion. A lot of his moves also felt tiresome and repetitive.
Games within the God of War and Devil May Cry franchises mitigate this feeling of repetitiveness by relishing the pure spectacle that they showcase, offering flashy, highly-cinematic maneuvers which you never really get tired of seeing over and over. Devil’s Hunt, on the other hand, was developed with a much smaller budget, and hence it looks much more generic and bland by way of comparison.
Devil’s Hunt is not a bad game, it’s just not as nearly as impressive as its direct competitors. It has good writing, an interesting premise, and sumptuous graphics, but in the end feels like an indie title trying in vain to punch above its weight. I’d recommend picking it up on sale.
Devil’s Hunt has some pretty nice looking graphics that make its brawling-based gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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