Although the game borrows liberally from its contemporaries, Devil Kings manages to have fun with the formula by removing any sense of pretension or seriousness, leaving a game that's a lot of fun to play.
- 12 unique characters to play as
- Simple but fun gameplay
- Varied missions and fun boss fights
- The wide variety of enemies keeps the fights interesting.
- Uncooperative camera
- Annoying character voices.
Devil Kings is a flashy, fast-paced button masher in the vein of the inviolable Dynasty Warriors series. Actually, it pretty much is Dynasty Warriors, if Dynasty Warriors decided to abandon its ancient Chinese roots and go all crazy fantasy-action on everybody. Although the game borrows liberally from its contemporaries, Devil Kings manages to have fun with the formula by removing any sense of pretension or seriousness, leaving a game that's not only accessible, but also a lot of fun to play.
The story is an entirely fictional account of a great struggle between several insanely overpowered warriors in a setting that somewhat resembles feudal Japan. Each warrior has a unique--if rather gimmicky--personality and fighting style. You don't get much background info when you start up the game, and the limited amount of depth the story has is revealed entirely through the goofy interactions between characters in the frequently rendered cutscenes. These cutscenes have a sort of Tekken 5-style of ridiculous humor going for them, and it's a great showcase of these badass warriors' foibles and follies between battles. Granted, these scenes don't do much for the story, but they're fun nonetheless. Oddly, the serious storytelling is done through several lengthy and well-done anime-style sequences. It's a bit strange to switch between rendered and animated cutscenes, but it's still entertaining to watch events as they unfold between battles.
When you begin the game you can choose to play as one of six characters, each with unique weapons and special moves. By completing conquest mode with each character, you'll unlock six more playable characters. Each character has the basic health, attack, and defense stats, which improve as you play with that character. Every character has a darkness, fire, ice, or lighting elemental attribute as well. These elements are manifested in the form of special attacks and special weapon enhancements.
The character designs showcase an interesting mix of styles. There's the wicked Devil King, who wields both a sword and a shotgun; Lady Butterfly, whose elegance and beauty belie deadly skill with a pair of revolvers and a chaingun; and the strange little girl named Puff, who lives in the frigid northern regions, wields a massive hammer, and speaks with a Dixie accent. You could say the characters are bizarre, but each one is interesting and varied enough to make it worth your time to play through each of the campaigns.
Most of the gameplay in Devil Kings takes place in conquest mode. In this mode you are basically given a territory as your home base, and from there you must conquer all of the other territories on the map. There are 15 territories in all, and some characters start out with more than one. You can choose where you want to go next while you're on the map screen, as long as it's adjacent to a territory you own. You'll then engage in a battle at the contested stage, and if you win you'll take over that territory. Sometimes you can battle for multiple territories in a single mission, so in that case there aren't actually 14 separate missions in each campaign.