Developer: Experience Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Genre: RPG, Dungeon Crawler
Rating: T for Teen
There are few genres that are as old-school as the dungeon-RPG. It’s been a stalwart in gaming since the mid 1980’s with both Dungeons & Dragons, as well as the Wizardry series providing an outlet for our imaginations to run rampant. Fortunately we have newer experiences, starting with the original Demon Gaze released back in 2014 for PS Vita and more recently, its sequel by developer Experience Inc., Demon Gaze II for both PS4 and PS Vita.
Spiritual content: Just from judging the title, you will be dealing with demons, and many of them have flawed characteristics. However, they can be converted to your cause to fight other enemies contrary to how demons are mostly portrayed as not being redeemable. There are mentions of a higher power, but this is never expanded upon on in the base game. Players will mainly deal with otherworldly beasts and other monsters.
Violence: You will be taking your characters into dungeons to battle all manner of monsters and creatures. No blood is present other than what may appear on a zombie-like creature with all hits from a weapon and magic spells only showing an effect when performed.
Language/crude humor: D*** and a** are used multiple times throughout the story and mild obscenities of calling someone an idiot or stupid are used in dialogue. Some crude remarks are made by the characters when referring to mild sexual escapades with past relationships.
Sexual content: The demons have a flirtatious nature to them due to not being in contact with humans very much. A few demons and some of your companions are also skimpily clad, flaunting specific body parts like breasts or butts but without nudity. A mini-game you can perform with all the demons involves touching them in specific body parts to try and grow their relationship with you. This foreplay is accompanied by some moaning and giggling. Nothing is ever stripped off though during these segments.
Demon Gaze II is a dungeon-crawling RPG which means it is played through a first-person perspective while exploring dungeons and battling monsters in a turn-based battle system. The story of Demon Gaze II takes place a few years after the original with a separate cast of characters, though there are a few that make a return from the original. This is an independent story meaning you don’t have to play the original to understand and enjoy Demon Gaze II.
You play as a character who is working with a rebel group, and unfortunately you end up getting captured and experimented on. After being released and getting back to your rebel faction you have no idea whats going on, but you have a new ability: the ability to demon gaze. This ability allows you to interact with demons and get them to join your side.
Demon Gaze II is heavily reliant on its story and you’ll have many scenes from before and after the areas that you explore with each of the various characters. Most of the dialogue is decent enough with a few parts making me chuckle. You’ll have dialogue choices throughout, although they do not have much significance other than changing a few of the reactions of the characters.
Some of the other changes from the original game include there being much less customization for your character, but now there are difficulty choices. For veterans of dungeon crawlers, this means you will be able to skip to harder battles right away and deliver more of a challenge you expect to have from the genre; if you are new to the genre, you can skip these tougher battles and have a much more accessible experience. Most of the traversal from area to area is handled via the menu with there being no open world or towns to explore. Mainly you will be selecting which part of the rebel house you want to go to or selecting what towns you wish to visit.
Your main objective for most of Demon Gaze II, other than when you are exploring the rebel base, is to go into these restrictive zones which work as the dungeons and take over points of interest. After taking them all over, a demon’s lair will appear where you can take on the area-specific demon. Defeating it will allow it to join your side and then you can use it to fight in your party. You can have up to five other demons in your party at a time, and there are about fifteen demons you can acquire throughout the adventure mixing and matching as you so choose.
Each of the demons has a certain amount of skills they can use, which can be magic or attack-based. Only your main character starts with middle-of the-road stats that you can customize in any way you want with each demon being set down a predetermined path for leveling up.
Battles are pretty standard and have some streamlined features with you being able to set up the party’s attacks, and usage of items and spells. You can also have your team set up so whatever you did the previous turn, you can instantly do again so you can get through many of the easier battles much quicker. You’ll of course want to slow down when you make it to a harder battle or a boss fight.
Equipment in Demon Gaze II is relatively standard with a decent amount of weapon types featuring melee or longer ranged weapon as well as certain equipment only a specific character can equip. The neat part is, when you have extra items and equipment you won’t be using, you can either sell it in order to buy other items or you can turn it into ether which can be used to upgrade the equipment you are currently using on your characters.
Another great way Demon Gaze II handles getting new equipment is through the crystals in the dungeons. When you come across these—many of which you have to take over to get a demons lair to appear—you have to set a gem. The gems all range from different items to equippable armaments and you can put up to three in a crystal, but you have to at least have one. A battle will ensue and once you have completed it successfully, you’ll get an item in that category from gems used in the crystal. This is the only way to receive rarer items, and they are important for finding success while exploring the dungeons.
While Demon Gaze II has a decent amount of dungeons to explore, I wish there was more variety to them. Many of the dungeons use recycled environments and bland textures making for boredom to settle in. Dungeons also have locked doors that you will not be able to enter initially, but if you come back you will be able to enter them. This basically works as a second dungeon within a dungeon, only resulting in making the available areas longer instead of more unique.
There is also a fair amount going on in the rebel house itself where you will be able to setup furniture in your room, buy new rooms for the demons, and furnish their rooms in order to grow a rapport with them. You can then go on dates with the demons by building affection with them. Lastly, there is a touching mini-game where if you touch them in the right spot, you can build affection with them as well as get these dating cutscenes which aren’t as graphic as they sound in the content guide, but they are still uncomfortable to take part in.
Overall, Demon Gaze II is a solid dungeon crawling RPG. I do wish there was more animation with the characters and enemies with many of the dungeons looking stagnant in design. Experience Inc. might have been aiming for a more basic look, but the game would have nevertheless benefited from more of a graphical overhaul. If you are looking for new dungeon crawling RPG though, Demon Gaze II may be the one for you. The flexible difficulties will allow many players who usually shy away from this genre to give it a fair chance.
The Bottom Line
Demon Gaze II is a hefty adventure with many things to do. This is one of the only dungeon crawling RPGs on PS4, and is a great entry point for those new to the genre due to its forgiving nature.