I was quite curious at how Devil’s Hunt was going to turn out, the story of devils vs angels seems like a quite dramatic storyline and had me interested immediately. Although I went in expecting the game to be full of action and adventure, in a hack-and-slash format, I found Devil’s Hunt quite refreshing as I felt like I went through an interactive movie thanks to the slower-paced format. However, it didn’t actually feel like I really had any impact within the story, I was purely along for the ride – that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing though.
Based on the original novel by Paweł Leśniak, “Equilibrium”, Devil’s Hunt is out now for PC and coming next year on consoles. I’ve taken a look at the PC version for the purpose of the review on a machine higher than the recommended specs in order to ensure I have the best possible experience. So, did the game manage to keep me interested past the initial intrigue over the setting, or did it fall flat? Let’s find out…
The story revolves around Desmond, the son of a rich entrepreneur whose life suddenly turns upside down, eventually leading to his suicide. However, this isn’t the end – Desmond wakes up in hell and decides to make a deal with the devil, and thus, he gains demonic powers. He becomes the hell’s executor and is both the saviour and destroyer of life, losing whatever little humanity he has left as his thirst for vengeance grows stronger with every kill. By utilising the ‘gifts’ given to him from the devil, he must fight his way through the gates of hell and on Earth as he ultimately decides just how he is impacting the fate of humanity – for better or for worse.
Despite being quite a short game, Devil’s Hunt is rather heavy on its story. Those who are expecting a typical hack and slash, like Devil May Cry 5, might be a little disappointed as the game has a mixture of slower exploration and investigation segments with puzzles, and standard combat sections. Although there are puzzles, they aren’t that hard as everything you can interact with will be displayed on the screen – making solving them a little easier. It’s also pretty obvious when enemies are around, and a fight is about to kick-off, as Desmond will get into his fighting form – you can’t attack at all when no enemies are around.
In Devil’s Hunt, you can’t jump but you can interact with objects to jump or climb over them – similar to games such as God of War. As such, it’s impossible to go back on yourself once you advance within an area, so you need to be careful if you don’t want to miss a collectable item. I found that most items only contained a sentence or a picture, so they can easily be skipped unless you want to go for the achievements, but they’re not really important to the story.
You’ll also find hidden souls scattered around the place as you explore and progress within the game, or by defeating enemies. These are much more important than the collectables as they allow you to unlock skills with them. There are three different skill trees and different forms you can use your souls with. The good thing here is that once you unlock a skill, you can change your mind later on and get the souls back anytime you want, so there is no need to think too hard about what to invest your souls into – it’s fully adjustable based on the situation.
There’s also a special gauge which gets filled up when Desmond hits an enemy and when it’s full, he can activate his demon form which deals a lot of damage for a short time of period.
There are different difficulty settings you can choose from, in case you either just want to experience the story or have some more challenge along the way. However, Devil’s Hunt isn’t a hard game as it focuses on its story more than the combat, but having the choice to adjust it if you need to is always welcome – and something some games refuse to implement these days. Regarding the story, there are many cutscenes as you advance which tells you more about Desmond and the hell he is occasionally visiting as well as flashbacks to his past life.
Unlike most slash and hack games, Devil’s Hunt doesn’t use weapons, armour, nor a level system. In this game, it’s not necessary to grind at all, nor collect any important items you will need in order to advance with the story or be able to beat certain bosses. Desmond simply punches and kicks his enemies until they’re dead (combined with his demonic powers). I have to say, the fighting is actually quite cool and in all honesty, it feels especially satisfying to beat your enemies to death!
The only thing that slightly annoyed me was that you can’t dodge while attacking an enemy. Since you can’t break up combos at certain times, whilst you’re mid-animation, this meant you occasionally ended up taking a hit.
While the graphics of Devil’s Hunt are really pretty, some movements of the characters in the cutscenes look stiff and unnatural. There are several moments you could tell the quality could be better, as well as clipping issues, sudden blur, etc. Sadly, even on powerful PCs, Devil’s Hunt has frame drops in certain areas which greatly disturbed my immersion. I also noticed that some areas run really smooth but others ran with a few stutters and frame drops, even after turning the graphics down. Additionally, while the voice acting is alright, certain voices are a lot quieter than others, once again impacting my immersion.
Despite looking like a full-on action game, Devil’s Hunt focuses on its story and narrative heavily. While cutscenes are often used in this game, I never felt like they were too much nor too long and was well balanced between fighting scenes and story elements. This game is very linear and thus, it’s impossible to get stuck, and the gameplay is fairly easy as well. Sadly, Devil’s Hunt has a few graphical and framerate issues, but it has decent visuals overall. That being said, I can highly recommend Devil’s Hunt if you enjoy a narrative-driven game with battle elements throughout.