Demon Gaze (Review) PS Vita

Demon Gaze (Review) PS Vita
Review Score:

Demon Gaze by Kadokawa Games and Experience inc. is a first-person role-playing game that places you in the role of OZ, a young warrior that possess the power of the ‘Magic Eye’ — a special ability that allows the player to capture demons and use them as allies. As a resident of the Dragon Princess Inn, you must explore the various dungeons in Mizrid, kill the resident demons, and collect treasure to pay for room and board.

Demon Gaze is a relatively simple game that pays homage to RPG classics such as Wizardry and the Eye of the Beholder. But while it borrows some of its concepts from the aforementioned games, its character creation process – which includes a whopping forty-five characters – is very basic. After selecting a character, you are given sixty points to divide between three different skill categories – Attack, Damage and Death. The game warns that since the main story is written to accommodate a male character, any female characters created during the character creation process will be addressed as ‘he’ or ‘him’ during the story.

The gameplay is equally divided between the Dragon Princess Inn and crawling through dungeons. When at the inn, you can visit the shops on the third floor to purchase armor and items. The second floor, where your quarters are located, is reserved for sleeping. The majority of the story unfolds at the inn. Fran, the manager of the Inn, and Lancelorna, a seasoned adventurer, both assist in preparing you for the adventure that lies ahead.

As you progress through the story, new dungeons will unlock on the world map. In traditional RPG style, the dungeons use a four-way, grid-based movement system. Instead of enemy encounters occurring randomly, icons for these ‘events’  (which resemble skulls) are placed throughout the dungeon environments. Some enemy encounters can be avoided by walking around their icons, while others will  block important doorways that lead to story-driven events. There are times when the dungeons feel empty, and this derives from the icon event system; nothing actually happens until your party comes in contact with one. But the icon events are close enough together to keep the combat and story moving along at a steady pace.

Combat is seen from a first-person perspective with your party’s health and mana displayed in the top-right corner of the screen. Your enemies are displayed on-screen with relatively convincing animation. During a typical battle, you can encounter more than 16 monsters at any given time (they are displayed in rows of either two, three, etc.). Creatures from elsewhere in the dungeon can join the fight at random, adding to the intensity of combat.

Since the main protagonist, OZ, is capable of harnessing demons, he can summon any previously captured demons from the combat menu by using the ‘Demon’ option. Demons are controlled by the CPU; they act on their own volition and they will even heal your party when needed. However, if the tables of combat turn in favor of your adversaries, there is a chance that your demonic ally will go ‘berserk’. When this happens, your party and any creatures present will be at  risk of being attacked. And since demons can inflict enormous amounts of damage, you could easily find yourself frantically searching through your inventory to find an item that will help you escape from combat.

The combat system is relatively simple  – aside from the standard ability to attack with a melee weapon, you can choose to ‘Defend’ or cast spells via the ‘Skills’ menu. Like any RPG, your party is given a mana pool that depletes rather quickly when spells are used. Some spells, including Heal, are very generous in their mana consumption, but combat can require constant use of these spells. And since most creatures are powerful, the player will be casting attack spells and healing party members frequently.

To acquire better gear and items, you can visit ‘Gem Circles’ that are located randomly throughout each dungeon. These circles are used to summon creatures that will drop rare items and equipment. To activate a Gem Circle, you must place gems that are collected during your journey on separate pedestals. It is possible to mix different gems (i.e. gold and silver, for example) to obtain different drops, but the results vary.

Demon Gaze caters to gamers that enjoy grinding levels and spending countless hours exploring dungeons for rare items. Its plot is somewhat generic, and the  dungeon environments could have used more polish, but the gameplay is solid enough to satisfy most PS Vita gamers looking for a new RPG.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: PSVita (Also Available on PSN)
Developer: Kadokawa Games and Experience inc.
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $39.99

Demon Gaze’s Official Website

Review Score
Beautiful character illustrations, but last generation 3D environments.
Impressive voice acting accompanied by a great soundtrack.
Classic dungeon crawler gameplay.
Both challenging and fun, Demon Gaze delivers a casual RPG experience that is easy to pick up and play.
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