If you’re one of the millions of gamers pacing anxiously, waiting for Diablo III to hit the shelves next month, then DevilDark: The Fallen Kingdom will help tide you over. It’s a pure-blooded hack ‘n slash loot-fest that gives fans of the genre exactly what they crave. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done.
Like in many games, you play as a chiseled warrior charged with saving the world from the minions of evil. The story won’t win any awards for originality, but the game doesn’t waste much time setting the scene. Instead, it focuses on having you slice through thousands of slimes, maggots, boars, and goblins. In every mission loads of enemies lurch your way, but the game still manages to run smoothly and look terrific.
Please cover your mouth when you barf.
Some people may be disappointed that you don’t get to choose your class in DevilDark, but even still, there’s plenty of room for customization. A skill tree lets you direct your progress as you level up, and the enormous amount of armor and weaponry available to you should satisfy your desire for loot. You can even imbue your weapons with elemental spells, so your hero can use a flaming sword or a poisonous axe if you so choose.
There are two kinds of currency in the game. Many items can be purchased with gold, which spills out of every enemy you kill and every treasure chest you open. However, the best weapons available to you at any given time can only be purchased using crystals, a premium currency you have to pay real-life money to attain. This is disappointing, both because the game itself costs money, and because of the game’s pacing.
The enemies are like coin-filled piÃ±atas.
No matter how quick-thumbed and excellent you are at DevilDark, you’ll eventually find yourself having to grind out levels before you can progress in the main storyline. That might not be a huge deal, but in a game where you can spend real money to buy the most powerful gear, difficulty spikes seem like a shady attempt on the developer’s part to urge you to open your wallet in order to progress.
That’s our biggest problem with the game, but we found a lot of smaller issues, too. First of all, the gameplay is highly repetitive. Nearly every mission in the game is a fetch- or kill-quest, so you’ll constantly be asked to do things like kill 30 enemies or collect eight cords of wood. Your enjoyment of the game also depends greatly on your tolerance for button-mashing. Also, we often found ourselves swinging at the air next to an enemy, so it’d be nice if they added an auto-targeting feature.
Probably should’ve worn a shirt…
Since there’s such a heavy focus on inventory management and loot-gathering, you’d think you the in-game store would let you compare your equipped items to the items you’re browsing. Not so. And although it’s a universal app, DevilDark isn’t fully optimized for the iPad: the menus show up iPhone-sized in the middle of the screen, and there’s no way to customize the uncomfortable button placement.
We realize that’s a long list of complaints, but even so, we still mostly had fun playing the game. DevilDark makes the hack ‘n slash action and the loot-gathering enjoyable, and that’s what counts. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
DevilDark looks great and is fun to play. It’s far from perfect, but fans of the genre will probably find that the good outweighs the bad. If you like to hack, slash, and gather loot, DevilDark is a solid buy.