I’m really glad that video games are such a vast medium. There really is something for everyone, if you dig enough. That being said, I can respect when a game isn’t exactly for me. I can see glimpses of a pretty alright game in Demon Gaze, but what is good isn’t for me, and what is bad turns me away from getting truly invested.
Demon Gaze is a first person dungeon crawler with some extremely basic RPG fare. Buy stuff from the weapons and items salesmen, accept some quests, hire new allies or equip your old ones, then go into the world to kill some monsters and complete said objectives. The main objectives in this game are defeating demons, which are in the most basic sense the bosses of each dungeon. Once you defeat a demon, things get a bit more interesting. You can equip a demon during battle as an extra party member, thanks to the titular Demon Gaze ability you possesses. The demons can heal you or damage foes, making combat move far more quickly. Without this system, fighting would be a chore. You can also hold down the triangle button to re-enter the same commands as the last turn, allowing you to breeze through grinding. The game is friendly to people who aren’t super into it, but it allows depth for those who want it.
Grinding is an immense part of Demon Gaze. You grind enemies for EXP and you grind demon rings — areas where you place summoning gems — for items. Demon rings also summon the dungeon’s boss. Each demon boss is immensely powerful, but the monsters you encounter are so easy you could roll your eyes and knock a couple into submission with the shockwave. The vast difference between the strength of the boss vs the minions makes sense in theory, but it makes leveling up a chore and the bosses can crush you even after five hours of grind.
Grinding also levels up your weaponry, but you can also craft same-type weapons into your current weapon (staff to staff, bow to bow, etc.) to boost its strength. This is a neat idea that allows you to get a good amount of use out of the items you get from defeating so many weaklings. Demon Gaze would probably be a six hour long game without the grind, but the boss fights are fun enough that I was able to slog through the grinding and get to the goods. It felt rewarding to beat a boss by the skin of my teeth, and using the demons to assist me made it even more fun. The slog is demanding, but overall satisfying.
Even though the gameplay is pretty good, the writing is not. Don’t worry, it’s not The Witch and the Hundred Knight levels of shameful, but it’s pretty shameless. There’s multiple scenes of “HAHA, DONGS!” and at one point the game forced me to grab a girl’s boobs even though I was picking dialogue options that would lead me not to. It was like the game thought I was trying not to look bad. I’m all for a few dick and butt jokes here and there, but this is the extent of Demon Gaze’s comedy. The characters are all pretty bland but there’s moments where they butt heads in semi-interesting ways. There’s also an eyepatch lady with a huge scar across her gazonga. It’s pretty male-gazey, but it’s nothing ultra offensive. Quests mostly involve doing small favors for these characters, such as defeating a specific enemy or finding an item. You must also pay rent to the innkeeper, Fran, which goes up every time you return from a mission.
A weird part of Demon Gaze is the character creation, or lack thereof. At the start of the game, you can choose from forty-odd character designs to stand for yourself in combat. They vary from human, elf, catgirl, and more. However, the game makes a point to state that it will only ever refer to you as a human male. This is one of the oddest ways I have ever seen a game flop in attempting diversity. Why even give me the option? You can choose from the same cast of characters to customize other party members, but they can be any race and gender you prefer. It’s such an absolutely baffling move, one I’ll never understand.
Overall Demon Gaze is a pretty forgettable yet pretty forgivable romp. I had an enjoyable time with it, but I don’t think I’d ever pick up a sequel without some vast adjustments. It’s cliche to say “fans of the genre will enjoy this”, but games like Demon Gaze are why that cliche exists in the first place. This will not turn you into a dungeon crawler fanatic, but if you’re on that path already, it’ll keep your feet straight on that trail.
Take a gaze at me ass
Demon Gaze has a few neat ideas, but they're strangled by a bad script and boring RPG battle systems.