Dark Devotion opens with a promising, yet cryptic, story-telling sequence. The dark introduction immediately intrigues the player, and leads you to want to find out more. Dark Devotion is an action RPG, using a lot of rogue-like elements throughout the adventure. However, it is incredibly unforgiving, which provides a wonderful challenge if you have the patience, gaming skill, and honestly, if you’re feeling lucky.
You begin the game with a vague idea of what’s about to happen: You are a female templar, responsible for traversing through a mysterious temple to prove your faith. Unfortunately, this is about all we know about the main story.
The enigmatic introduction was an amazing starting point for what I was hoping would be an equally interesting plot, but that’s the most we ever learn. NPC’s giving you goals are just as vague, and you never come to find out more about your objective.
Dark Devotion definitely gives “Dark Souls” vibes, leaning heavily on combat gameplay mixed with the pixel art that gives the player a mostly clear vision of the game. One of the core mechanics is using your faith to pray at altars to sometimes grant health or other benefits, like opening a hidden door, but the game doesn’t do a good job at explaining exactly what they do every time.
The controls give you two buttons for dodging left and right, respectively, with the other two triggers used for using a one-handed weapon, and the other for a shield. As you tread throughout the temple, you do have the chance to loot some better armor and weapons, possibly even some spells that help to switch up the combat techniques a bit.
The graphics in Dark Devotion are absolutely phenomenal. The pixel art style separates it from similar games, and definitely give the overall game an ominous feel throughout.
From the word go, you know you’re in for a challenge. When you inevitably die, you start back at the safe haven, having lost any weapons or consumable items you found during that run. While this will definitely test a player’s patience, it also gives a chance to experiment with different strategies for the next run. Enemies will respawn, and weapons and consumables will be randomly regenerated, so each run is distinct.
You’ll also run into a vast number of different bosses, depending on the paths you take throughout the adventure. Each boss is incredibly unique, with different attacks and different loot dropped for the player to find, and tremendously differing appearances. This gives the player a real sense of an adventure, and lack of repetitiveness.
Now, while the bosses might all be unique, I couldn’t say the same for the lower level enemies, especially in early game. A lot of them are terribly repetitive, and with no backstory to go on, it really makes no sense. Maybe a bit of story would help make sense, or a better variety of enemies.
Like mentioned before, this game will definitely test a player’s patience. While that can be exactly what some players are looking for, it’s also not very friendly to anyone just wanting to play casually. Since the weapons are always randomly generated, a lot of your success will be based on luck. You might get a great weapon with several helpful consumables…or you might not, so you’re feeling empty-handed.
The last issues I had were all smaller. I ran into a small number of bugs, where weapons would spawn in the floor where they were unreachable. Lastly, the reaction time in combat is a bit slow for the play style. It is mostly strategy, but also a lot of trial-and-error.
Overall, this is a great game, just overshadowed by the few flaws at times. Dark Devotion is absolutely a fun game for those looking for a real challenge. It’s addicting, and the sometimes one-way exploration gives a player a real reason to continue playing. For $20 on the PS4 store, you can’t go too wrong if this is the type of game you’re wanting to play.