Devil’s Third Review

by on August 26, 2015
Details
 
Platform
Publisher
Reviewed On
Release Date

August 28, 2015.

 

On paper, Devil’s Third is my kind of game. A third-person hack and slash shooter with nods to under-appreciated efforts like Wet and 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand, it was first announced for PS3 and 360 several years back under THQ’s banner. After they closed for business, rights passed to developers Valhalla Games, and Devil’s Third was eventually picked up by Nintendo to be released as a Wii U exclusive.

To call Devil’s Third a “bad game” would be far too neat for such a messy experience. There are stages of bad in Devil’s Third – there are layers of bad. For instance, Ivan (the protagonist) is a six-foot-four, shaven-headed, heavily-tattooed, chain-smoking Russian. Just read that sentence again. Visually, it’s even worse. It’s hard to imagine the meeting of executives where this design beat off the competition – but then you wonder if that’s the point. Did someone say, “I’m sick of action heroes looking like Nathan Drake. Let’s go nuts!”? And how many times do we have to see him nonchalantly light a cigarette mid-firefight before we accept that he is the coolest soldier ever to walk into a war zone topless? It’s almost painful to watch such awkwardly macho posturing.

Devil's Third screenshot

The story plays out as though it desperately wants to be Metal Gear Solid. All the world’s satellites are destroyed by a terrorist organisation called the Sword, whose cadre of lethal assassins – including a blonde whose body suit might as well be painted on, and a Mickey Rourke lookalike called “Big Mouse” (seriously) – used to employ Ivan and a sniper code-named C4. When Ivan and C4 refused to take part in the murder of innocent civilians, children in particular, Big Mouse turned on them. Although C4 helped Ivan escape, she was shot and presumably killed, while Ivan himself was arrested by the UN and thrown in prison until the events of Devil’s Third.

It all kicks off when the bad guys start dropping satellites out of the sky, resulting in a complete information blackout and leading to a global war for supremacy, because that’s the only possible outcome of any worldwide catastrophe. Regardless of the silly premise, all roads lead to professional hard-nut Ivan going on a suicide mission with a squad of veteran marines to get his revenge and, if there’s enough time between vengeance and drinking, maybe save that world thingamajig that everyone’s so concerned about.

Oddly, mirth aside, there are surprising story beats to Devil’s Third that hint at the possibility of a deeper, more emotive plot. That they’re side-lined almost instantly every time in favour of another one-liner or another gargantuan boss to fight is more disappointing than infuriating. I’m not suggesting Devil’s Third has the foundations to be much more than it is, but there are occasional flashes of emotion, the odd line here or there in the script, that makes you believe it could have been greater. Whether it could have or not, it damn well should have been.

Devil's Third boss

Everything is just sloppy. The shooting is imprecise, the melee combat messy and unfocused. You can switch seamlessly between guns and whichever melee weapon you’re currently rocking mid-fight, which would be really useful if it wasn’t all so hit and miss. Without a dedicated target lock or responsive controls, melee combat isn’t the joy that Valhalla want you to think it is. It’s taken pains to include a different execution animation for every weapon, and some of them are satisfying the first few times they happen, but they soon get old. Actually, they’re kind of indicative of Devil’s Third as a whole: everything is cool for about five minutes, then you realise that this is a game without a single original bone in its body.

The graphics swing between passable and awful, with low-detail textures, bland environments, and decidedly last-gen animations. Nothing really has any impact and within a few hours I found myself just button-mashing through the identikit stages, jumping on a mounted gun here, lasing a target for airstrike there. The missions are far too long, culminating in boss fights that range from mildly entertaining to horrendously cheap. One knife-wielding boss fairly early on had me rage-quit three times before I managed to fluke my way past him. After that I kind of resigned myself to the fact that Devil’s Third was never going to be real fun, but at least forcing myself through it might feel like an achievement.

Devil's Third

Things that should be present in action games nowadays simply aren’t here. Environments are indestructible, and even cardboard boxes and wooden barriers can weather a sustained barrage of weapons fire before they finally disintegrate. There’s no substance to it all, no real context to coherently tie it all together: every mission consists of walking forward while shooting any enemy dumb enough to poke his head out – which is all of them.

If there’s any fun to be had at all, it’s in the multiplayer. While you can opt to join one of two factions or remain a factionless mercenary with no loyalties, there aren’t a great many differences between sides. The trick is still to kill your enemies quickly and brutally, while earning one of three different in-game currencies with which to buy cosmetic upgrades, new weapons and mods or special abilities like airstrikes. The multiplayer works surprisingly well, in fact, mostly because it takes the stuff that Devil’s Third gets right – manic, balls-out action – and removes all the clumsy, posturing storytelling and unleashes you on each other in arenas designed for going crazy in.

Devil's Third multiplayer

It suffers no less stuttering, glitching and slowdown as the campaign, but you mind less because it’s so mindlessly cathartic. Even some of the unlockables are bonkers, adding psychedelic chickens and artillery barrages to the mix. The messy controls work well here, too. Charging up walls with the weird jump-scramble move is a great way to get the vantage point, and it makes the maps wonderfully vertical. Melee kills are gruesome and brutal – and highly satisfying with it. The various modes aren’t anything particularly interesting, but Battle Royale’s free-for-all insanity might be the best option available.

While a decent multiplayer element just about saves it from being complete failure, even that can only deflect so much ire. Devil’s Third is an ugly, unoriginal, archaic adventure that seems determined to sabotage everything good in it. The mid-game bait and switch is heavily signposted by the second boss fight, so even the potential “what the hell” moment is dampened.

The sad fact is that Devil’s Third is not good enough in 2015, regardless of which console it’s released for. The Wii U may not have the horsepower to match PS4 and Xbox One, but this is the console that gave us ZombiU and Bayonetta 2. It can handle a lot more than Devil’s Third is dishing out, and Valhalla’s game simply under-performs in every area that counts.

Review code provided by publisher.
Positives

Multiplayer can be fun, with loads to unlock.

Negatives

Dated visuals.
Dated gameplay.
Dated concept.

Editor Rating
 
Our Score
3.0

SCORE OUT OF TEN
3.0


In Short
 

Devil's Third is an ugly, unoriginal, archaic adventure that seems determined to sabotage everything good in it.

comments
 
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  • ReveltheDog
    August 26, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Day one then?

    Reply

  • NOAcommies
    August 26, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    no voice chat no buy period.nintendo can go fuck themselves.

    Reply

  • Tee-boz
    August 26, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Just what are Nintendo doing? They should really stick to hand helds.

    Reply

    • andy cadle
      August 26, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      Because:
      A) this clearly wasn’t made by Nintendo
      B) Nintendo first party games are always among the best in the industry, and the Wii U has plenty of them and
      C) Youre an absolute fucking moron.

      Reply

      • Andy Cadle's Mum
        August 27, 2015 at 10:33 pm

        D) Fan boys will defend any old rubbish that has their chosen brand against it.
        E) My son Andy is a keyboard warrior who likes to write rude words on the Internet.
        F) Nintendo allowed this abomination to be published under their branding.

        Reply

        • andy cadle
          August 27, 2015 at 10:37 pm

          You’ve made a new account just for this?
          A for effort, F for execution im afraid…

          Reply

          • Aufziehvogel
            August 28, 2015 at 3:40 am

            In my world, even the effort was pathetic : D
            He clearly don’t get Nintendo had nothing to do with the development or any other aspect of the Game. They simply published it (which clearly was a mistake) and may donated a few bucks to Valhalla so they were finally able to complete the Game. NoA even refused to publish it in the US in the first place (XSEED was meant to be the Publisher).

            So yeah maybe some Games were meant to be canceled. Kinda feel sorry for Itagaki. Devil’s Third was in Development Hell for too long.


          • Mario Wii U
            October 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

            And it’s good, give it a try.


      • Tee-boz
        August 27, 2015 at 10:38 pm

        I think this is the first even Nintendo fan boy I have ever came across. Ohh bless, they’re like the dog that’s about to be out to sleep. That’s it Wii U, you’ve had a good life. Shhhhh sleep tight old boy.

        Reply

        • andy cadle
          August 27, 2015 at 10:40 pm

          You know what?? Feel sorry for trolls like you.
          Yawn…

          Reply

          • Tee-boz
            August 28, 2015 at 10:41 am

            Andy, nobody set out to troll you. However it was you who initiated the negative personal comments. Maybe be a bit more positive and less defensive, thanks.


          • andy cadle
            August 28, 2015 at 11:01 am

            The ‘they should stick to hand helds’ comment suggests otherwise.

            Smh.


          • Tee-boz
            August 28, 2015 at 11:31 am

            They should!! You’re not seriously telling me that The Wii U can compete with the other two machines?


          • andy cadle
            August 28, 2015 at 11:36 am

            Sales of the Wii U have been disappointing, yes. Guess Nintendo needs to reassess what business model it wants to follow in the home console market.
            Lest we forget that the Wii sold over 100 million units (personally I hated that console…); think one failed console isn’t the end of them.

            Just be thankful that Nintendo aren’t afraid to innovate, do its own thing and stand out from Sony/MS.

            While I appreciate the PS4/Xbox One, Nintendo are always trying to think outside the box- If you take that away from the industry it could be very boring indeed…


          • Tee-boz
            August 28, 2015 at 12:08 pm

            I’ll agree with most of that, the Wii was a revolution, and gave birth to the connect and silly PS move. Innovation at its core. Nintendo are innovators, and the industry needs innovation. All I was saying that with dwindling sales and very little AAA titles on the books, would it not a better business plan to produce the obligatory Mario cart, builder, Party etc and focus on the more sustainable hand held market? Look at the competition? Mobile and a poor Vita.


          • Mario Wii U
            October 9, 2015 at 10:18 am

            I’m saying it can.


        • Geminiman555
          September 3, 2015 at 6:58 am

          kill yourself

          Reply

      • Tee-boz
        August 27, 2015 at 10:40 pm

        “Publisher: Nintendo”

        Reply

      • Mr.Sixes
        August 28, 2015 at 2:29 am

        Nintendo had a huge hand in this game, especially when you see where it was back in 2010 (it looked better, the action looked A LOT more fluid) and then we got…*points to above review*

        Reply

        • Mario Wii U
          October 9, 2015 at 10:17 am

          Play it and see for yourself.

          Reply

          • Mr.Sixes
            October 10, 2015 at 1:09 am

            No. I’m not buying a Wii U for this, I’ve looked at several people’s impression that aren’t getting paid for reviews or on youtube and it’s all generally negative. Also I don’t support games with Pay to win strats.


          • Mario Wii U
            October 10, 2015 at 6:33 am

            I’m not getting paid.


          • Mr.Sixes
            October 12, 2015 at 5:37 am

            and I’d only buy a wii u for Zelda but even this upcoming one is being hidden too much for me to care orthink buying a wii u is worht it. Also I’m giving you an idea of who I consulted and more people I consulted the more I’ve had a resounding “it’s a crappy game with very little redeeming value.” I was using the people getting paid as reference game spot and IGN who people accuse all the time “Oh well guess they didn’t pay you guys for a high score”


  • Mario Wii U
    October 9, 2015 at 10:14 am

    This game is actually really good!!
    This is not an opinion, this is a bag out!
    If anyone doesn’t like this game, it is not because it is shit. It is because the person doesn’t like this style of game.
    If you like call of duty and mass effect 3 style games, you will love Devil’s Third.
    I have mates that come over to play this game because they only have a ps4.
    Who would drive all the way over to my place just to play this game if it was crap?

    Reply

    • Mr.Sixes
      October 10, 2015 at 1:10 am

      I like ninja gaiden, I’ve seen several people who like Ninja gaiden, Bayonetta and action games like that (devil may cry, vanquish, Transformers DevasatioN) who HATE this s***

      Reply

      • Mario Wii U
        October 10, 2015 at 6:32 am

        I love Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta!!

        Reply

        • Mr.Sixes
          October 12, 2015 at 5:38 am

          and? your voice of someone who has been doing nothing but trying to convice meit’s good against the voice of nearl 100 people telling me “it”s pretty shit”

          Reply

          • Mario Wii U
            October 12, 2015 at 10:05 am

            Lucky I didn’t listen to those 100 people that you know!
            Otherwise I would of missed out on playing Devils Third!
            You don’t have to buy or play the game ever if you don’t want to.
            I love the game and so does everyone else I know that is a gamer. So not sure why your 100 mates don’t like it?
            Anyway sixes, I said before that I wouldn’t buy a Wii U just for this game. I need other games like Mario Kart, Zelda & Smash Brothers to really satisfy me. But I also need some awesome serious stuff to keep that side of me happy. Devils Third is good like that.
            I really like that game and that is all I am trying to say to you.
            You can think, oh ok someone does think it’s cool… Or you can think, no my 100 mates think it is shit, so I will think it is shit.


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