A First Look at Capcom's Deep Down

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There were a few games during the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era that brought back the excitement of playing an old school dungeon crawler. In this day and age, it seems as though traditional genres are changing to become fast-paced action games. Even the Final Fantasy series plays more like an action game than a traditional RPG these days.

When Capcom revealed Deep Down at the PlayStation 4 unveiling last year, our first impression was that it was a return to the days of old, similar in style to Dragon's Dogma or Dark Souls. The game was absent at E3 2013, but it made an appearance at the Tokyo Game Show. We still don't have a great deal of details, but let's go over what we know about the title thus far.

If you're expecting a fast-paced action game, Deep Down is not going to fill that need. While the atmosphere definitely feels similar to Dark Souls, the action is much slower with a more traditional dungeon crawler vibe. In fact, from what we've seen, the game is more about navigating dungeon-like mazes than it is fast-paced battles.

What takes the game to the next level is the atmosphere combined with the randomness of the dungeons. It's been known for a while that the game will feature randomly generated dungeons, and it looks like it will be presented similar to the Assassin's Creed Animus system. It takes place in 2094 New York, which means that's probably just where the real world begins. Touching long lost artifacts generates a random dungeon that we presume will be loosely tied to the artifact. Much like in Assassin's Creed, how you get to the dungeon isn't important. It's what you do after you arrive that matters.

While you slowly make your way through each dungeon, you won't know what to expect. Moving beyond the fact that the dungeon is randomly generated, it's simply hard to tell what's ahead of you. You'll hear a monster lurking in the shadows, you'll know it's there and closing in on you, but you won't know when or where it will attack. Most of the twists and turns in each dungeon are blind corners, so you won't know what to expect until you physically look around a corner. It's eerie and almost gives you that frightened feeling similar to the first time you played Resident Evil back in the day.

Strategically, you'll have to use the limited tools available to overcome the mysterious and random nature of each dungeon. The combat system features the ability to parry or deflect attacks with proper timing, but damage doesn't seem to be a concern at this point. Once we've seen a build of the game closer to final, it's likely damage will play a role, so knowing how to take down an enemy will be key.

Alchemy plays a big role in the combat system. You can throw bomb-like objects at enemies like a grenade, or set them up as traps similar to proximity or timed mines. If you're skilled in melee combat, using the parry system seems to work well. However, if melee combat isn't your thing, you can play around with the alchemy traps to dispatch your enemies.

There are various items to pick up as you traverse each dungeon. At the moment, they don't have much use, but we expect them to offer health and possibly damage-boosting power-ups in the future. While we haven't seen much in the way of weapon variety, it is assumed that weapons will change with each dungeon, if not mid-dungeon. The combat will likely see a few changes between now and the final release of the game, so things are still a bit mysterious.

At the moment, Deep Down does not have a firm release date. Most people expect to see it by the end of 2014, but there's been no confirmation of that from Capcom. What we do know is that Deep Down is a unique title given the slim offerings of the newly released next-generation consoles. We'll have more information on the PlayStation 4 exclusive as soon as it becomes available. At the very least, we expect the title to make an appearance at E3 2014 in a few months.

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