Monday, May 3, 2010

Devil Kings 3 could be the hack and slash answer

Devil Kings isn’t a game I’d whole heartedly recommend. It’s repetitive, the voice-overs are laughably awful, character design is contrived, and it copies almost blatantly from Koei’s sequel machine Dynasty Warriors. Yet there’s something terribly compelling about it, something that’s hard to just toss effortlessly out the window. With that said, Capcom is releasing the third game this fall. Who needs the second one anyway?

 Laser eyes, I guess, are standard Sengoku Basara aka Devil Kings is absolutely huge in Japan. The first game went relatively unnoticed in the states which is probably why we didn’t see the release of the second game. Fortunately, during Capcom’s Captivate event, they unveiled their plans to bring Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes (Devil Kings 3) to North America on the Playstation 3 and Wii. But why should you care if it’s just some mindless rip-off? Because it’s a good mindless rip-off.

Being a single-player only hack and slasher, Devil Kings made a name for itself by being completely mental. Ladies with hand-cannons, robotic clerics, and a dude who uses six swords as claws are just a hint of what the game threw at you. As for standard enemies there’s flying, bomb-chucking dudes, suicidal soldiers, and even an entire army dedicated to depicting the Egyptian mythological God Anubis. The people in this game are nuts, but that’s only part of the reason why it was awesome.

The combat unquestionably resembled Dynasty Warriors in action, but with a more refined feel. Allowing customization beyond just equipping certain items felt fresh and expanding upon that, you could equip special moves you’d slowly earn throughout the course of playing the game. My favorite though, was how enemy AI would react to the death of a nearby leader. In Dynasty Warriors the soldiers would either just stand around or suddenly run off. Devil Kings’ troops scream in the worst way, fall over, and stumble into each other, all in an effort to get the hell away from you. All in all, Devil Kings took Koei’s shortcomings and morphed them into something bizarre but more importantly, superior.

 This dude fights with six swords. SIX! Gameplay for Samurai Heroes so far hasn’t been widespread, but I’ve seen enough of it to know the style hasn’t changed one bit. Tons of enemies are still filling the screen and the outrageous characters look like they’re still present. I’ve seen some split-screen shots which indicate co-op is something Capcom is willing to do. If this is true along with being able to save mid-mission, Capcom will have all it needs to overthrow Dynasty Warriors as the king of the castle.

Devil Kings may not have had an appearance since 2005 but with Samurai Heroes on the horizon I hope to see the mindless beat em’ up genre get a much needed boost along with a dash of crazy.
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