Demon Gaze II Review The Demon’s Gaze Back
Publisher: NIS America
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita*, PC
ESRB Rating: T
Release Date: 11/14/17
Thank You NIS America for A Review Copy of this Game
Experience does it again in releasing yet another DRPG on the Vita. However this time, it’s a sequel to one of their most popular hits – Demon Gaze. However the landscape of DRPG’s have changed since then. Experience themselves have released more than half a dozen DRPG’s on the platform since Demon Gaze released. Not to mention other games from other developers as well.
Demon Gaze II places you as a leader of a revolutionist group trying to overthrow Magnastar – a dreadful ruler bent on brainwashing the public. When the game starts, you get captured by Magnastar’s hentchmen and lose all of your memories. While escaping your impending doom, you awaken the power to become a Demon Gazer. To put it simply, a Demon Gazer has the ability to capture demons. Note that not every monster you come across are capturable. It’s mainly the bosses you come across when traveling through dungeons.
Traveling through these dungeons is just like any other DRPG. Dungeons are grid based and your map fills out as you walk across it. Should you come across a trap, you’ll still have to actually step on it for it to show up on your map properly. This being the case this also applies to hidden objects as well. For instance, the game points out that the demons you bring with you may affect your dungeon experience very early on as Pegasus can point out hidden doors.
Battles are like any turn-based RPG. In Demon Gaze II, the game isn’t afraid to constantly throw enemies at you in waves. While sure you’ll be facing 3 enemies or so most of the time, don’t be surprised to come across 5 or 6 at times either. What’s even crazier is that the enemies will also cycle through rows to make it feel like they keep coming. While playing on the normal difficulty, this constant feel of mob encounters doesn’t feel bad. However, certainly prepare to be tested when playing on the higher difficulties. To combat this, your demons have a second form when you use Demonize them. This costs Star Energy and allows them to use special skills in this form. These skills are gotten from maintaining them and Star Energy is normally replenished through battles so it’s not a hard resource to come across.
While battles are randomized, there are enemy icons on maps as well. These icons are generally harder versions of enemies you’ve been facing while in the dungeon. There are also treasure items on the map as well as gem icons. These gem icons are the most important parts of a dungeon. When you arrive at a gem icon and place a gem on it, stronger enemies will appear. However, when you conquer all of the gems in a dungeon, the boss’s lair will show itself. The boss’s lair is pretty unique as each one typically has a puzzle for you to solve to go from room to room. Once you’ve beaten the boss, congratulate yourself on your new party member.
Naturally you’ll need somewhere to stay with all of your new demon friends and that’s where your secret base comes in. Stella’s Place – pub by day, secret hangout by night – is where you’ll be buying your items, crafting weapons, maintaining your demons, and in some circumstances participating in your revolutionists’ radio show. While you are the leader, you’re not the one running the show as Muse, Prim, and Prometh (yup, the one from the previous game), do that. However, the government has actually placed crystals for demons to guard. These crystals help keep his influence in place. As you defeat the dungeon bosses, the crystals break and your own influence will rise little by little.
Maintaining your demons happen in two ways. One is through actual maintenance by hanging out with them and leveling up their affection levels so they can gain new skills. Doing this spends crystals. The very ones you find after defeating them. Pretty ironic in a way as getting those crystals also help the group gain popularity as well as give you more Star Power allowing the Demonization process to last longer.. The other form of maintenance is paying rent. That’s right, you want your demons? You’re going to have to pay for them. The first room is free, but after that you’re going to have to pay. There is a small plus side to this though. Just like your own room, you can decorate it. These decoration options increase a stat of whoever is staying in that room.
Truth be told, I could honestly care less about the story in this game. It isn’t all that engaging. I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters whatsoever. The story scenes themselves go on way to long for my tastes as well. Some character designs aren’t helping either. While I’d say your avatar, the enemies,and your demons are fine. The NPCs (namely Prim and Magnastar’s) just look off putting and really need some fixing in some areas. You can change your avatar as well your demon’s avatars in the shower room. While you have a few options, your demons only have one and their new avatar looks nothing like their original design. It doesn’t help that the pool of alternative art styles for the demons are shared so it would be best to just leave things as they are.
At the beginning of the game you’re asked what types of spells you’d like to learn. The result of this is that you pretty much see every skill you’ll learn as you progress through the game, which is perfect. There are some skills you can choose to learn over others, but for the most part, everything is labeled as to when you learn it. This way, you don’t have to worry about leveling up and wonder when and what the next skill will be.
If you liked the OST of the previous entry, you’ll like this one as well. Just like the last game, the Vocaloid IA is lending her voice which is all over the soundtrack. If you don’t like the sound of vocaloids, then turning them off is also an option.
Overall, if the game wasn’t so talkative when going from dungeon to dungeon and if the character designs were a bit better, I’d honestly have a better time. More so if the game didn’t make me feel like I was only going from story beat to story beat to story beat every time I beat a dungeon it would have made it a bit more enjoyable. This isn’t to say that the game is even remotely bad however as the dungeon crawling itself is a ton of fun here. While I do wish I could see the turn order in battles, it’s really no big deal. The fact that what moves my teammates will learn and when they’ll learn them is a pretty big plus in my eyes.