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Hands-on with Capcom's Deep Down for PlayStation 4

Capcom's first PlayStation 4 game, Deep Down, is certainly pretty, if (currently) a little shallow, based on our hands-on time with the medieval-meets-modern-day dungeon crawler.

As the first major Japanese-developed PS4 game, Deep Down drew large crowds and long lines at the PlayStation booth at Tokyo Game Show. The third-person action game is certainly impressive from a visual standpoint, largely thanks to its gorgeous photorealistic lighting effects and stunning high-resolution textures.

Gameplay-wise, however, Deep Down isn't particularly impressive yet.

The TGS demo offers just a small slice of what the game hopefully has to offer, giving players one of two armored medieval soldiers to control as they wander through a randomly generated dungeon. Those soldiers come armed with a spear and a few special abilities, like the ability to perform a rushing attack or a spinning slash, each with limited uses.

Melee combat in the Deep Down demo didn't appear to be too complex. Players can perform thrusts with their spear as well as an attack that's paired with a defensive backstep. There's also a loose lock-on that helps provide a bit more accuracy when engaged in combat. Players will also have access to a handful of elemental attack items, like an explosive fireball and a deadly vortex, than can be thrown at enemies from a distance.

Based on our hands-on time, there's not much to Deep Down's combat beyond that. No blocking, parrying or dodge maneuvers; just head-to-head action. There's a real sense of weight to combat, but not much of an impression that you have total control of your character's movement.

Deep Down's TGS demo drops players into a randomly generated dungeon populated with monsters, fire-spewing traps and the occasional treasure chest. The layout of that dungeon is simple and grid-based in its layout, as illustrated by a holographic map that players can pull up by tapping the PS4 controller's touchpad. That dungeon absolutely smacks of something randomly generated, as opposed to organic or intentionally designed, an aspect of Deep Down that doesn't feel suited to a next-generation experience.

While wandering around the algorithmically designed dungeons of Deep Down is entertaining, and its combat serviceable in the slice Capcom brought to Tokyo Game Show, it's the game's visuals that stand out above all else. Characters and environments are beautifully, believably lit, and your soldier animates in an impressively realistic way. The demo doesn't offer the impressive player-versus-massive dragon fights that drew us to Deep Down when it was first unveiled, merely offering a taste of what Capcom has planned for PlayStation 4.

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