I have often found it supremely silly to judge an MMO by its cover, even if that cover is 20+ hours long. As such, in the interest of fairness, we will call these my first impressions, as I’m sure Devilian has a wealth of intricacies yet to be explored by this humble gamer. Let’s explore our devilish side!
Developer: Bluehole Ginno
Publisher: Trion Worlds
Reviewed on: PC (Review code provided by publisher)
So we might as well start off at the beginning – Character creation. Devilian has four classes to choose from, which doesn’t seem much, but with the devil transformations at your disposal can be considered eight.. You have the choice of Evoker, Berserker, Shadow Dancer and Cannoneer, which you can customise in a supremely limited fashion. If you pride yourself on being unique, you might be a little upset here.
Once you are done with your minimal tinkering, you will be sent off into the wild to save the land of Aelkenia. Once arrived, you’ll find a surprisingly good looking game that resembles a cross between Diablo and TERA, scantily clad armour and isometric view withstanding. Trion Worlds have made it so that you can use the more traditional WASD control scheme to navigate their world. However, the truth of the matter is, you will most likely be pointing and clicking your way around. Alas, do not be fooled by the control scheme, view or the ARPG moniker, Devilian is very much an MMO. If you manage to forget this point at any time, the quest system will remind you with a firm slap to the face. What we have here is your typical system of go to A, kill, collect or click on X amount of B, return and repeat. It can be argued that it’s a proven system and it works, but that doesn’t make it fun. While other games may attempt to disguise this formula in different ways, Devilian makes very little effort to. Quests are supposedly split into three types: tutorial, main story and filler, however they all follow the aforementioned schematic. In short, if you were not a fan of the genre, Devilian is not here to make you change your mind. The addition of an auto run function (runs you to your objective with some wondrous pathfinding) is decidedly ingenious, and after countless MMO’s it was more than welcome. It does however also presents a problem, where there is not so insignificant amount of time, where you are just watching your avatar run from point A to B.
Combat is also somewhat of a mixed bag. On one hand it is fun. If you have been playing WoW clones for a while, the switch in pace is refreshing. It is more combo oriented as you might expect and almost has DMC like appeal. The problem stems from the lack of challenge most enemies present, thus limiting the need to explore the system much at all. For the first 4 hours or so, I got by simply mashing 1 and 2. This was rather disappointing, as there is an adequate skill tree and plenty of skills to use. This might be acceptable in a traditional MMO, but when you have a somewhat decent combo system in place, enemy variety is a must. My second issue, pretty much stems from the first. “Devil mode” which requires separate leveling, and comes with its own brand new set of skills, feels a little wasted and unnecessary outside of boss monsters.
Speaking of boss monsters – As usual the dungeons are the highlight of this foray, with the exception of the first few, which we will put down to the developers easing you in. Tackling them with others is a joy and challenging and unlike the rest of the game can require some finesse. If you need more boss challenging action, there are rifts and the Abyssal Tower to take part in. The first instances you out into a group fighting a big bad, the latter being a ten floor tower for you to conquer. PvP currently seems a little unbalanced right now, which is nothing new when there are so many skills to mix and match. A lot of MMOs have fallen into the same problems, and it’s something Trion will need to look into, with ranged classes, seemingly having an advantage over the others.
On a technical front the only hiccup I encountered was specific to a certain area of the map, where silhouettes of textureless models were flying around screen. All things considered it’s a pretty bad bug and horrible jarring. Aside from this, everything was solid. Frame-rates remained consistent, but I wouldn’t expect Devilian to tax my GTX 980, despite its relatively good looks.
Now, Trion gets a pretty bad rap for how it handles its free to play games, but the store was pretty unobtrusive and rarely was there reason to spend any real money on the title, unless you have a group of friends and are going to invest large amounts of time into it. From what I could tell, all purchases you do make in Devilian are completely at your discretion and don’t seem to be forced in any way.
So far, Devilian seems like a pretty decent free to play title that you can happily burn a few hours away with. Is it a revolutionary merging of both the MMO and ARPG genre? No, but it does both sufficiently well to warrant a try. However if you already have an MMO addiction, I can’t see this tearing you away from your monthly subscription any time soon. I imagine those that commit enough time to getting to the level cap will enjoy the end game raiding, if the leveling dungeons are any indication.