Deep Down Preview
It was one of the first games unveiled for Sony's new PlayStation 4. We were a little disappointed to learn that Deep Down was a ways off, but the title remains hugely promising. This one will remind you of Dark Souls: The medieval-themed setting is very reminiscent of From Software's award-winning franchise, and the challenge could be pretty damn stiff, too. Designed to be played with others, Capcom's brand new IP should also be a sprawling, dungeon-filled, immensely dangerous adventure. Provided the mechanics are sound and the multiplayer rules, this one should be great.
The plot is a little hazy but here's what we know: Special warriors, called Ravens, travel back in time to face off against the nastiest creatures to ever walk the earth. We're not sure why the Ravens are doing this; perhaps it's a thrill-seeking thing. Whatever the reason, we will come across all manner of grotesque beasts, both freaky and aggressive. We'll be strapped into our cumbersome yet protective heavy armor suits, which is good 'cuz there's no knowing what lurks around the corner. We've seen a massive fire-breathing dragon in the tech demo, along with pig-like foes that reminded me of Beebop (TMNT).
Capcom is preparing a highly visceral experience. Powered by the much-lauded Panta Rhei engine, Deep Down should look fantastic. The effects will be loaded with plenty of blood, along with the sickening crunch of metal slamming into flesh and bone. You will encounter enemies in real-time, and the combat mechanic relies on positioning and timing. You can perform a quick back-step to give you some breathing room, and your long pike weapon will give you the distance edge. Other weapons will be featured as well, but I like the idea of staying the hell away from these hellish foes.
For the most part, combat will be fast-paced and demanding. Each one might feel like your last fight, so you'll have to be vigilant. Quick on the uptake, fast to react, that's you. Strategy is more difficult due to the procedurally generated areas, which will never be the same twice. Warp points will allow you to travel between these areas, but you can only activate the warp after you clear the dungeon. Survival doesn't merely rely upon your combat ability, either, because the developers have tossed in deadly traps for good measure. Flaming arrows that fly out of the wall, fire jets, etc. Very "Indiana Jones-y."
As you progress, you collect mana orbs, which are earned after defeating enemies. You can also find them in well-hidden treasure chests. Mana can be used for crowd-pleasing special attacks, but Capcom says the useful substance will have other uses as well. We don't have exact details concerning character advancement, but we imagine it'll be relatively complex. The game is definitely considered role-playing, so perhaps progression will be similar to Capcom's well-received Dragon's Dogma. It seems clear that they used the latter title as inspiration for the upcoming PS4 exclusive.
Now, let's not forget that as far as we know, Deep Down is a free-to-play online multiplayer game. It won't be playable until E3, so I won't be passing judgment, but F2P isn't always a popular model among the gaming populace. Capcom has said they want to deliver this title "as soon as possible" and we expect more details are just around the corner. However, if microtransactions start to feel very necessary, there are going to be some very disappointed individuals out there. That all being said, if Deep Down is as good as it can be, if Capcom puts their heart and soul into it, it might end up being a must-play title for the PS4.
1/30/2014 Ben Dutka