Tokyo Game Show was arguably a little light on big, never-before-seen new games this year. Sure, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Driveclub, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Resogun, and the like were all present, correct, and looking very shiny. But if you were after something truly fresh out of the oven, pickings were slim.
There were a handful of exceptions, of course: Yakuza Ishin from Sega (as yet unconfirmed for a Western release), the very sexy looking Soul Sacrifice Delta on PS Vita, and Deep Down — Capcom’s ambitious PS4 exclusive.
Along with Yakuza, Deep Down was the game that scored the biggest queues at the show, and my very first port of call. On the face of it, it looks like something gamers will have played more than a few times before. You step into the sabatons of an armour-clad knight as he explores a dimly-lit dungeon, crawling with hideous creatures, and armed only with a lance. So far, so Dark Souls. However, there are three aspects to the Deep Down experience that set it apart as something entirely different.
Firstly, all its dungeons are procedurally generated. As with, say, Diablo III or Spelunky, you’ll never explore the same set of caverns twice. Secondly, while it might appear that this game plays out in some medieval dimension, it’s actually set in New York City in the year 2094. And thirdly, according to an announcement from Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono during this year’s show, it will be free to play on PS4. Interest piqued?
The TGS demo was brief, but offered just enough gameplay to get a glimpse at how a few of Deep Down’s systems will work. Your knight spawns in a claustrophobic corridor lit by flickering torches. Inching slowly forward, you must find your way to the exit — a glowing blue disc on the floor. Naturally, there are a few obstacles in your way — namely a series of turrets that periodically shoot out streams of fire, and an unknown number of burly ogres hunting for some lunch.
Clicking the Dualshock 4’s touch pad brings up a map. But doesn’t offer much hint at where your foes might be hiding, so you must carefully inch forward peering round corners to scope out the path ahead. When you do find yourself in a confrontation, which you inevitably will, the combat mechanics feel pleasingly weighty and straightforward. One shoulder button aims your spear while the other thrusts it forward. You also have a special move attack, and a dodge.
My first instinct when confronted by one of the creatures was to turn on my heel and retreat. Maybe that would have worked in another playthrough, but in this case it led me straight into the jaws of another enemy approaching from an adjoining chamber, resulting in a furious scuffle. Once finally vanquished, the enemies dump loot and power-ups in a traditional fashion, though what exactly it’s all for remains unclear at this stage. A couple of wrong turns and anxious encounters later, and I’m at the exit — and the demo’s conclusion.
There are, of course, plenty of unanswered questions. How does all this fit into Deep Down’s promised future-New York setting? How will the free-to-play setup work in practice? How much variety will be on offer? For the time being you’ll have to wait and wonder. However, what’s certain is that Deep Down is one of the most intriguing AAA PS4 prospects on the horizon, promising to venture into some very interesting places indeed.
And what’s more, it’s an absolute stunner. The reveal trailer way back at the PS4 announcement event in New York this February wasn’t selling you a dummy. It really does look that impressive in action.
One to watch, then. Stay tuned to PlayStation.Blog for more on Capcom’s adventure over the coming months — we’ll have more news on development as it comes in.