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Japanese and European cover art
|Developer(s)||Valhalla Game Studios
|Distributor(s)||Valhalla Game Studios (PC)|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||Wii U|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, hack and slash, shooter|
|Mode(s)||Single-player (Wii U), multiplayer|
Devil's Third (デビルズサード Debiruzu Sādo?) is an action-adventure hack and slash shooter video game by Tomonobu Itagaki's Valhalla Game Studios, developed for Wii U and Microsoft Windows, with the latter version being an online multiplayer-only title. The Wii U version was released in Japan on August 4, 2015, Europe on August 28, 2015, Australia on August 29, 2015 and in North America on December 11, 2015.
In an official live stream event, Valhalla Game Studios had announced their partnership with Korean publisher Nexon for the PC version, now entitled Devil's Third Online. The free-to-play title will have a closed beta period between November 27 and December 1 in Japan. An open beta was also planned for January 2016, and the game was to be officially launched by the end of the month, but was delayed and finally released in Japan on June 2016.
Whilst the PC version is largely similar to the Wii U multiplayer, the final release will include an exclusive mode called "Chimera Clean Up", whilst the "Seize Match" mode will include new rules. The PC version also supports voice-chat, which the Wii U version completely lacks.
Despite receiving positive reviews in Japan, the Wii U version received mixed to negative reviews upon release in the west, receiving an aggregated score of 43/100 on Metacritic and 43.56% on GameRankings, respectively. Critics praised the game's multiplayer mode, but criticized the game's outdated graphics, technical issues, poor story and characters, clunky controls, and use of microtransactions in multiplayer.
While the camera is usually set to follow Ivan, the player character, the camera shifts into a first person perspective when aiming. Unlike many modern third-person shooters, it does not adopt an over-the-shoulder approach, instead opting for a more traditional camera that is directly behind the character, save for when ducking behind cover. Melee combat consists of chaining together a series of attacks, often followed with a cinematic takedown. In addition, melee weapons can be swapped, thrown at enemies, and stolen mid-counter.
It features online play and a means of reshaping the battlefield via a sort of level editor. It features three types of progression currency: Clan Funds, Dollen, and Golden Eggs. Among choosing sides in game modes, there is a third side known as the "Free Entry" option, which is said to be the option that would appeal to the Lone Wolf type of player. It isn't clear as to what this actually does, but it is implied that "Free Entry" players fight as a third force that does not contribute to either team. On December 29, 2016 at 1PM Japan Standard Time, Nintendo will shut down the servers for the Wii U version of Devil's Third.
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The game's backstory is based on the Kessler syndrome theory. Debris from artificial satellites in orbit has created a cascading effect of collisions, leading to the destruction of nearly all satellites, both civilian and military. In the resulting turmoil, war erupts around the world as the balance of military power is thrown into chaos. Infantry battle is altered in a world without satellite technology. It can be seen from concept art that the game will be taking place around the world with Asian, European and American locations.
This is the first game developed by Tomonobu Itagaki after leaving Tecmo in 2008 and forming his own game studio, Valhalla Game Studios, with other members of Team Ninja who left Tecmo in 2009. The game is a departure from Itagaki's previous genres, hack and slash and fighting games.
Devil's Third switched engines during its development, as the company responsible for making its original engine closed down. Since that time, Valhalla Game Studios have continued development using an adaptation of video game developer Relic Entertainment's engine. Although a version of Devil's Third for the Wii U was not confirmed at the time, Itagaki reported that the game would run perfectly fine on the system. Devil's Third then used the same game engine as Darksiders II. It now uses Unreal Engine 3 as the main game engine.
The game was originally announced by THQ, and was planned to be released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Following THQ's closure in 2013, the intellectual property rights to Devil's Third were given back to Valhalla Game Studios and Nintendo picked up publishing duties for the title to be released for their own console. Devil's Third new development as a Nintendo-published Wii U-exclusive was eventually officially announced by Nintendo at E3 2014 post their Digital Event presentation.
North American release
Despite anticipation, and prior confirmation of the Japanese and European region release dates, the game was not featured at E3 2015 however, and prior to this its Nintendo eShop listing disappeared without explanation. It was later revealed by gaming news outlet Siliconera that Nintendo of America decided not to publish the game, although the game is still confirmed for North American release. However, an alternative publisher was not announced at that point. While no official reasons were given, Liam Robertson of Unseen64, a website that archives video game betas (including cancelled games), whom originally tipped the public about Nintendo of America dropping publishing duties for Devil's Third, stated the subsidiary "lost faith" in the title, similar to the Wii title Disaster: Day of Crisis, which never saw a North American release. Robertson claims this information comes from an anonymous insider source while investigating the development of the cancelled Wii title Project H.A.M.M.E.R..
On July 11, 2015, Nintendo of America revealed that they would be sharing more information in regards to Devil's Third soon, but did not state whether or not they would be publishing the title in North America. Multiple sources had reported to Nintendo Life and Nintendo World Report that Nintendo of America did indeed drop publishing duties but had since reconsidered due to backlash against the decision.
On July 21, Nintendo of America officially announced they are publishing Devil's Third in the region, releasing the title in the fourth quarter of 2015. They also announced that the multiplayer mode of the game would be released on the PC from Valhalla as a free-to-play game, albeit in limited form by comparison. Unlike Nintendo of Europe, Nintendo of America did not send advance review copies to journalists. They could only begin reviewing once the game goes on sale. The game also saw a limited retail release in the region, with Destructoid reporting that GameStop only received 420 copies to sell on their online store for the entire U.S. Despite low expectations, retail copies were already sold out in most American chains. eBay vendors began selling factory-new copies of the game for very high prices.
On June 23, Nintendo announced that the online portion on the Wii U version will be discontinued on December 28, 2016, only 16 months after the game's initial release.
Early previews for the single player campaign have been mixed to negative with most complaints being the game's poor graphics, heavily inconsistent framerate, stiff aiming, and input lag. Despite negative reception, designer Itagaki thought that the game would be a "breakthrough for the industry", and that it would elevate the genre to a new level.
The game received a mostly positive reception in Japan. Japanese magazine Famitsu gave the game a score of 33/40, with four individual reviewers scoring it 8, 9, 8 and 8 out of 10. Since the game was exclusive to Amazon in Japan, sales weren't available for tracking, but the game received a mostly positive reception from users.
In contrast to its original Japanese release, the international release of Devil's Third received mixed to negative reviews. It received an aggregated score of 43/100 on Metacritic based on 54 reviews, and 43.56% on GameRankings based on 32 reviews. Overall, praise was given to the game's design, gameplay and multiplayer elements, while most panned the game's campaign, controls, graphics, and inconsistent framerate.
Nintendo Life gave Devil's Third 5/10 summarising that "Devil's Third is tricky to recommend, ultimately. There's undoubted fun to be had online, but at the same time this is an action game that sells Wii U gamers short. It's packed with good intentions and ambition, but Valhalla Game Studios was unable to execute its vision well enough. The devil is in the detail, and that's the problem".
Sean Bell from GameSpot rated the game 3/10, praising multiplayer modes and occasional comedic moments, but heavily criticizing microtransactions in multiplayer, clunky controls and technical issues.
Kirk McKeand of Digital Spy gave the game just 1/5 stating "Devil's Third is an offensively bad - sometimes actually offensive - action game, with sub-standard melee combat and fiddly gunplay. Riddled with technical issues, it's almost completely devoid of any redeeming qualities. It also has killer bats".
IGN gave it a 3.5 out of 10, praising the game for mixing gunplay and melee combat, but criticized the game's poor presentation, simple and repetitive combat, random damage spikes, and pay to win multiplayer, calling it "an exercise in cynicism, a video game seemingly created for people who secretly hate them. There’s barely even a seed of a good idea here, let alone a fully formed one. There isn’t a single part of Devil’s Third that does not feel as though it were ripped straight from a decade-old playbook, and its nihilistic reliance on simplistic violence reinforces that fact with every severed limb."
The game failed to make the UK Top 40 sales charts in its first week on sale in the region. The game is rumored to have sold only 3,000 copies in North America in its first month of release in the region.
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