When Demon Gaze released in 2014 on Vita, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, it’s one of the games in that genre that I enjoyed the most. A bigger focus on narrative and characters, as well as tight gameplay and a terrific OST, made it a delight to play. I’m happy to confirm that the sequel is bigger and better, and now it’s on PS4 as well as Vita.
Set a handful of years after the events of the first Demon Gaze, Demon Gaze II follows the journey of a new demon gazer. The protagonist fights alongside the resistance as he tries to regain his recently lost memories, and a fresh new cast of characters (as well as a few returning faces) are here to help. Fighting against immeasurable odds, the protagonist needs to use his powers as a demon gazer to bring powerful demons over to the side of the resistance so that they can stand a fighting chance. This means hunting them down and defeating them in battle, and then you’ll be to convert them and utilise them in your fight for freedom.
Fighting battles, exploring dungeons and solving puzzles is the meat of Demon Gaze II, and each dungeon is home to a powerful demon who’s ripe for converting. You’ll have to take control of all circles in the dungeon before being able to battle the dungeon’s leader and, upon defeating them, you can take them back to Stella’s Place (the resistance’s base) to have them join your party.
Each demon is unique and specialises in different aspects such as healing, magic, strength, stealth and more, and so picking only four demons to take with you into battle becomes rather difficult as you keep converting demons.
There’s a mini-game where you can touch the demons (of course) to improve their stats and relationship with you, and then you can take them out on dates to learn more about them. They even learn new skills, so it’s well worth doing! You need maintenance stones to do this though, so you best pick your favourites in case you don’t get around to everybody.
The dungeon-crawling is in first-person, and you’ll be battling countless enemies whilst trying to find all of the dungeon’s circles as well as its leader. Various traps litter the floors and walls, and it doesn’t take long to see your team wiped out if you’re being careless. Each character will learn unique abilities as they level up, with each demon being able to use different weapons to help sway the tide of battle.
Some are fit for the back row whilst others are fit for the front row, so you might find yourself not able to use the five characters you like — some demons are basically useless when placed in the wrong row. You have a star gauge which allows you to change the form of your equipped demons so that they’re in their more powerful state, and then you have access to a whole new set of skills, buffs and debuffs — it’s pretty easy to have this on a lot of the time, but it’s great for hordes and boss fights. I mostly hit triangle and just have it quickly speed through a series of normal attacks though, and that generally does the trick.
I adore the art for Demon Gaze II. The eyes and eyelashes look particularly lovely when seeing a character close-up, and the characters and locales are bursting with colour and look crisp and clear. Demon Gaze II is a gorgeous game with plenty to feast your eyes on, and I wish we had a few more CG images to look at. I also wish that there were more options for when customising your character, but c’est la vie.
The first Demon Gaze had a great soundtrack, and I’m happy to see that a similar sound has been created for the sequel. It’s very cheerful and quirky, and it helps to provide an energetic, chill atmosphere to the game. The narrative may be pressing, but Demon Gaze II wants you to have fun with it. The voice-acting is solid with perky and enjoyable performances, and it sounds like everybody involved had a blast creating this game. The audio says a lot about Demon Gaze II, and it’s only good things.
Demon Gaze II is an improvement upon its predecessor, and it’s journey to the PS4 is smooth one. It looks and feels great, and it’ll keep you busy for a good few dozen hours. Whilst it may not blow you away in terms of narrative and gameplay, it does everything it attempts well and is a joy to play. Demon Gaze II knows how to have fun, and it’s easy to have fun right alongside it.