Never dead, just always dismembered
DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS GAME ON HARD MODE.
Unless you are a trophy-hungry sado-masochist with plenty of time on your hands.
This game will kick your ass on Hard mode. Evidently, there is a thin line between a game being challenging and it being plain tedious. 90% of the games I play or played were beat on the hardest mode. I like a good challenge, I like being careful and I like whatever immersion comes with being careful.
This game however is an exception. Within the first hour or so of the game you will be dismembered almost constantly, even when attacked and bitten by the smallest foes. It's like you are this demon hunter whose body is designed like a deck of cards.
After playing for about an hour on hard mode and having to deal with re-spawning enemies, YES RE-SPAWNING ENEMIES about 60% of the time, AND having a game breaking bug whereby my dismembered body kept falling into a limbo, I had to restart the game and start on easy since there are no save/load files and only one checkpoint per level.
So seriously, why have re-spawning annoying enemies? I thought call Call of Duty series was the only series still doing that crap. You can work around the re-spawn somewhat by finding and killing the demonic wombs that continuously spawn little Pokemon kind of demons. Come to think of it, almost every other demon in the game is kind of a ugly Pokemon-looking thing with razor blades, tentacles, teeth and statues of baby faces attached to their rear ends. There are no humanoid-type demons except the annoying flying harpies-kind of looking things.
In addition to re-spawning enemies, sometimes you get confined to your already limited areas by having tissue-like growth blocking your passage. We got the same thing in the God of War series with those appearing impenetrable red walls that set your temporary arena.
You can use your right analog stick to swing the sword in whatever direction you want to. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to use the damn thing in the first place since if you skip the tutorial message and restart the checkpoint, the tutorial message will not appear again. So anyway, you have to hold the L1 button and then swing your right analog stick back and forth. You can swing the sword from left and right, up and down, etc. Since I don't want to shake the right tendon of my right thumb too much, I decided to use the open palm to swing the sword. Also, when you swing the sword you cannot move left or right, your character automatically moves forward and the screen keeps jerking ahead, it's kind of nauseating at times. Plus your back is always exposed when you do that, so even when you swing away and think that you are doing damage, you WILL take damage from the back.
Eventually, you get the ability to regenerate your limbs only if you still have your head attached to your torso. If you are just a rolling head then you best find your torso first and then crawl towards your other limbs, because without your torso having limbs attached to your rolling head is pretty useless. To add to the frustration, your head can only reconnect with your torso around the neck area which might be continually blocked by the enemies, the debris or adjacent walls, not to mention you can't always tell where the neck area even is with these graphics.
So if you take this game at face value, what was the thing most advertised? of yeah, you can't really die and you can throw your dismembered limbs at enemies, that is pretty much it. I could throw my limbs around in the tower stages of the last Mortal Kombat btw. Okay, there are some environments that can be destroyed and there are some conveniently placed structures that can kill dozens of enemies if timely destroyed, but otherwise, this is just a third-person rail shooter with a few new original ideas. Sometimes enemies can kill themselves by making structures collapse on top of them. Just like Red Faction Armageddon which featured a full blown never ending insect fest featured by hordes of bugs, this game is kind of the same. There is an enemy variety but almost every single one of enemy type is elusive and frustrating to battle. The AI does not have to be intelligent, since it's just demons, so all they do is pretty much chase you around. There are some bosses though that require timed hits, retreats, rolls, repeats, etc.
So it's kind of a Catch 22, they came up with something totally new about the gameplay yet those mechanics practically break the gameplay itself.
So yeah, you continuously get dismembered (even on the easy mode) but at least you do not have regenerating health and red screen continuously indicating that you are near death.
When upgrading, the only thing I was thinking about was how the hell do I make this game more playable and enjoyable? so yeah, I had to increase the limb regeneration time, I had to decrease the distance between the two gun reticules that kind of made me feel cross-eyed at times (I don't understand why they had two different reticules with giant circles around them taking up half the screen in the first place), and increase the weapon damage.
Another thing I didn't like is hunting for and collecting these floating red hearts in strategically placed locations throughout the levels. By strategically placed I mean being placed in the corners of any premises, that way you spend more time playing the game by having an excuse to run from corner to corner collecting these damn hearts. Kind of like in that Wolverine game where you had to run around and collecting floating orbs.
So anyway, in this game instead of being knocked back or having your health drained slowly you near-constantly find yourself dismembered. So it kind of breaks the continuity of action, just when you feel that you are about to blow up that conveniently placed oil barrel in the center of New York City and kill dozens of demons you fall apart like a defective crash test dummy.
The main character, Bryce, always has something to say, even though he has at most 10 catch phrases, he repeats them CONSTANTLY, and I mean every dozen or so seconds. Coupled with horrendous loud-banging rock or pumping kind of music in the background is kind of annoying. I had to promptly turn off the music within 10 seconds of gameplay since it's on a continuous few second loop anyway. He is not a hateable character but he is not that likable either.
What's even more annoying is sometimes having to save this Arcadia chick. She is a fellow mortal demon hunter yet she is not dressed accordingly. You don't have to save her that often on easy but if you find yourself dismembered while she needs help you need to roll to your torso first and then chose whether you want to crawl to her first and help her and take damage in the process or look for a couple of limbs while running out of time to help her. I mean come on, we had enough of that crap in Resident Evil 4. Either make a co-op single player campaign or let us do our own thing without having to worry about the saving AI.
You get to meet a few more characters in the game that help you there and there so at least you are not the only one fighting. But you still have to save some of them even though none of them are interesting.
Since this game was made for both systems, forget about having any kind of Uncharted anti-aliasing here.
The story itself is practically nonexistent. There is no internal conflict within the main character, apparently he is a demon hunter because he gets paid for it. He is like the badder version of highlander. There are some cool moments but there are very few of them. Overall, the game stinks of frustration, if demon hunting is a job, then playing as a demon hunter on your console should NOT feel like a job.
On a personal note, I must confess, I never wanted to return a game back to gamestop this fast. And that's saying a lot in my case because I go easy on most games.
If you do decide to get this game, then get ready to get dismembered about five hundred times.