The slaughtering of hundreds of peons is always satisfying, but can satisfaction become repetitive? Capcom's Devil Kings takes the groundwork laid by Keoi's Dynasty Warriors series and puts a bit of a spin on it with superhero-like characters and a nonsensical timeline; while wooden walls, swords and the like reign supreme, you'll also find handguns, laser beams and machinery.
Aside from this twist to any sort of sensible timeline (which isn't a bad thing), Devil Kings is essentially a copy of Dynasty Warriors in almost every single aspect. It features hundreds of imbecilic warriors to slaugher with entirely monotonous controls, moves and so forth. While Dynasty Warriors has been riding on the same basic mechanics title after title and not offering a whole lot of improvement to the fundamental combat system, Devil Kings could easily have stepped in and moved the "genre" forward but alas, it does almost nothing of the sort.
Fighting is simply a combination of two main attack buttons, and shifting between the two will string various moves together. Unlike something like God of War's branching combat system, Devil Kings mixes up the same moves time after time, so not only are you simply running into the same horde of enemies and mashing mindlessly on the same two buttons, but your seeing the same moves time after time.
Granted, Devil King's various animations are pretty cool, well done and reasonably brutal. The special attacks are especially nice, with characters using fire, falling rocks, magical capes and all sorts of other mythical and crazy things to totally obliterate their foes. Again though, you'll see the game moves time after time, but they do look cool as hell.
Aside from just the animations themselves, Devil Kings looks a whole lot better than any of the Dynasty Warriors games. It's not the prettiest game on the system, but the characters are very well detailed and the land actually has hills and such. Obviously, it's far from amazing that the game has hills, but they're somewhat uncommon for the genre.
In terms of presentation, Devil Kings has its bit of ups and downs. Firstly, the cutscenes are presented through both 3D and 2D videos. They're not intertwined mind you, but rather you'll see something like a 3D rendered movie specific to the character you're using, and then a 2D movie for the area you're about to fight in. It's very odd and doesn't mesh very well, though each of the movies is very well produced. They're totally on crack though and are either completely ridiculous, don't make much sense or something else of this sort.
The in-game story elements, like when someone tells you something while you're fighting, is obtrusive. The bar that contains the image of the person talking and his/her text appears right on top of where your player is, making it hard to see some enemies or items that are directly next to or behind you. This
Lastly, Devil Kings' main Conquest mode is little more than a blanket that covers its very simplistic battle-after-battle layout. Your chosen character has a land or two in his or her possession, and from there you essentially pick any of the surrounding lands to try and conquer until you've eventually taken the entire map. Really though, all this does is allow you to choose which fight you want to take on next, but it's still just battle after battle. There isn't a whole lot of strategy here, so Conquest really only takes the place of some sort of random battle arcade mode.
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