Deep Down started me off in a well-lit area, where I got a handle on my spear. As we’ve mentioned previously, R1 and R2 operate as different spear attacks. R1 is a regular stab, and R2 had my character jump back and stab. Holding L2 zoomed the camera into a third-person-shooter-like camera angle and modified each attack, making R1 a quicker attack and R2 a heavier one that didn’t involve jumping back.
It certainly wasn’t an HD take on the action-gamey mechanics of Dragon’s Dogma, but it didn’t quite feel as deliberate and committal as Monster Hunter either.
Once I had a general idea of how to use the spear, I decided to venture forth into the dungeon. Stepping onto a platform and waiting a moment created the dungeon around me. And it was very brown and gray. While I understand that caves aren’t usually the most colorful places in the world, there weren’t even any stalactites or stalagmites to liven things up, things just felt kind of boxy. Then, of course, the Hogs (imagine a combination of a troll and a pig) started attacking.
I managed to keep the first couple in front of me, walking backwards and stabbing them as they got too close, leaving pierce wounds with each strike. After putting a few holes in both of them, I decided to try a special attack with triangle, and my character dashed forward through his enemies with an attack reminiscent of Devil May Cry’s Stinger, killing the hogs instantly.
The next encounter was a bit more aggressive. My enemies attacked me from both in front and behind. The one in front struck first and landed a clean hit. It was about that moment that I realized one very important thing about the demo I was playing: there was no blocking.
After I took the first hit, I readied my spear and prepared for vengeance. It just so happened that I attacked in the general vicinity his next attack was coming from, so we parried each other. A series of parries continued for a good three seconds (with no damage to either of us) until the second enemy showed up behind me and covered the majority of my screen. He and the front enemy smacked me around for a while as I tried to find a way to escape, or at least adjust the camera into a position that wasn’t 90% enemy back. When this proved fruitless, I toggled through the special abilities at my disposal until I found a whirling slash.
Using it killed the two of them, but I was left with little enough health (or so I thought, at least—the minimalistic UI that the character wore on his belt seemed to be flashing to warn me of something) that I thought it’d be wise to use a potion.
Now, items in Deep Down aren’t used immediately. Pressing square and selecting an item from the menu will put it into your hand, and you press an attack button to use it. The potion worked as expected, but I also found a bomb that had found its way into my inventory. Seeing a couple of incoming Hogs, I readied it and tossed it into their path, igniting (but not killing) them. The fire looked beautiful, but their continued survival meant that I got a bit more parry practice in before they met their demise.
I kept going through the randomly generated dungeon and found a couple of treasure boxes and ladder that led to a dead end. Once I realized where to go, I found a platform like the one that brought me into the dungeon, stood on it, and the short demo was over. Not even a reference to the dragon fight that Capcom’s been teasing (maybe they want to save that for when you have a shield to melt). I wish the demo would have let me do more than run around a boxy cave and poke Hogs, but I’m curious to see how Deep Down will play with more than just a spear.