I’ve never heard of The Devil Within: Satgat prior to the developers reaching out to us. Newcore (the developers and publisher) offered to let us experience the first few hours of the game and I was pretty free…so I said why not.
One of the best choices I made this year because The Devil Within: Satgat is damn fun.
So what is it?
The Devil Within: Satgat is a 2D Souls-like infused with a ton of Metroidvania elements. Caught your attention right? That’s what’s got me interested too!
Combat is fast and furious like a Castlevania game with unlockable combos, special moves and skills. You also get special abilities at certain points in the game that opens up previously inaccessible areas. You know, like a typical Metroidvania.
Where The Devil Within: Satgat shines is the setting.
Set in an undetermined date, the game’s modern apocalyptic look is a departure from the fantasy or gothic trappings for the genre. There’s a story in the beta but I just skipped through the cutscenes and dialogue because I didn’t want to spoil myself the plot until released.
The Souls-like elements that permeate the game are the usual.
There’s a stamina meter (called the AP bar) but it ONLY goes down when you do hard attacks, dodge, parry or do special combos. That means you’re not penalized for using the normal attacks, which gives the game it’s fast pacing. You’re not limited to powerful plodding blows, backing off as your stamina recovers and then going back into the fray.
In The Devil Within: Satgat you can integrate normal attacks in between your power blows so you can keep on the offensive as your stamina recovers. The AP bar is split into chunks (and you can get more chunks as you level up) and recovery is fast enough without you feeling handicapped at all.
Mixing the fast and flashy combos felt real good and the combat already feels very satisfying. Enemies react to getting hit (even bosses do), so it really feels like you’re doing damage with your blows. I love the combat as it is, and I really think it’ll be damn awesome when Kim Rip’s full repertoire of moves are available in the final game.
During the beta, a boatload of skills were available and all of them looked cool in execution. There’s a definite feel of growing more powerful as you level up, as Kim Rip (the character you control) gains levels and get access to new equipment.
The game rewards technical skill, as perfectly timed parries, dodges and charges all enable you to unleash powerful counterattacks that can blow away the baddies.
Sadly, enemies don’t drop equipment or items when killed (they’re found in the world), so I was only able to get another sword and a rifle in the beta, at selected points in the game.
Only the rifle changed the game significantly, as it allowed me to shoot at enemies from afar, get to previously unreachable items and areas. The rifle’s governed by its battery (Kim Rip can increase it by upgrading the appropriate stat when he levels up) so you can’t just shoot as you please.
I’m actually a bit bummed there’s no drops from the enemies (I’d love to farm for more weapons and guns) but I guess you can’t have everything.
Death is handled the regular Dark Souls way. You drop a shiny marker with all your collected souls (or whatever the in-game equivalent is) and you need to make your way back to where you died to recollect. Awesomely, the enemies you damaged or eliminated in the previous run stayed that way!
It does lessen the risk but it’s super forgiving to those new to the genre as they can just progress from where they died with little repercussions. There’s no way to change it to the regular Dark Souls style though so gamers who want more challenge are out of luck.
One thing that I don’t really like is how the game handles level ups.
You’re basically given a colored resource (I call them orbs) that correspond to a different skill trees. You don’t get every resource every time you level up though. Sometimes you get the yellow one, sometimes you get a red one. It seems really random.
Even worse, the skills you unlocked correspond to the orbs you get from leveling. If you don’t have the color, tough. You can’t unlock that skill. Since you don’t know when you might get an orb of that color, you don’t really know when you’re able to unlock the skill. Even worse, despite the skill trees having colors that correspond to the orbs, some skills need orbs of other colors to unlock their skills. WHY?!
I hate crapshoots like this and I really hope the developers go to the drawing board and make things more transparent and upfront.
The unlocks are real cool, but unlocking stuff…that’s a damn hassle and sorely needs a rework.
Other than the huge guffaw with the skills though The Devil Within: Satgat is shaping up to be a damn good game. It certainly is something I’m going to keep my eye on and if you’re at all interested in the genre, you should too. Don’t forget to give the Steam demo a shot!