Dusk Diver (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 24.10.2019

Review for Dusk Diver on Nintendo Switch

Crafted by the Taiwanese developer JFI Games, and published by PQube, Dusk Diver is a musou-style action title, with light RPG elements, and a vibrant, anime aesthetic, which takes place in the famous Ximending district of Taipei, where a typical young lady finds herself embroiled in a supernatural war that goes on behinds the scenes. Is it a fun action title? More importantly, though, should one play it on the Nintendo Switch, or are the PS4 and PC versions significantly better?

According to the developer, "This is the first game to capture the vibrant and exciting lifestyle of Ximending district, one of the country's most popular tourist locations." No. No it doesn't capture it one bit. Dusk Diver's Ximending, is just another, boring, annoyingly MMO-ish hub-world. It's just the place where you can buy or find stuff, before entering the actual stages where the real gameplay is at. It's definitely nice-looking, but nothing more than that.

Lovers of "living" game worlds with strong atmosphere will be disappointed to find that the one at hand is more like a movie studio. From the people that stand around motionless (and monochromatic, before you get close), to the streets and buildings, it's like watching at props. Not much interactivity either. You run from A to B, occasionally buy items, do some light questing that usually revolves around rapidly pressing the skip button, and move on to the next point of interest.

Screenshot for Dusk Diver on Nintendo Switch

The story, which follows a young schoolgirl named Yang Yumo, is equally forgettable. It's not due to the unoriginality of it all (fight creatures of chaos, in a mirrored, parallel dimension of sorts), but because of the subpar writing. In all honesty, the "Supernatural good vs. Supernatural evil" part of the plot is dull, as you'll literally get more enjoyment from the banter between the main characters, due to the faint-to-adequate traces of humour found in those interactions.

In the end it all boils down to entering the "other" world to fight. This is where the real meat is, right? Well, it definitely is, but sadly Dusk Diver wants you to waste time with a handful of tedious tasks beforehand, with the worse of them being the collection of certain stones that act as keys for the dimensional fissures you'll have to enter, in order to finally play the darn game. Mind you, it's not a challenging ordeal - just painfully boring, and needless in an action title such as this.

Okay, so Yang has endured this stale "overworld" for about 10 minutes. She finally gets to enter the fray, and kick and punch her way towards victory. Is this the better half? Compared to the boredom that is Ximending, it surely is, but that doesn't say much. The visual aspect is the perfect analogy. The parallel dimension is way cooler from the real Taipei, as it's more striking, Yang turns into her Super Saiyan-ish form, and she doesn't just walk anymore... but, meh. Nothing spectacular

Screenshot for Dusk Diver on Nintendo Switch

While Dusk Diver occasionally dabbles with platforming, as well as a tiny bit of exploration, gameplay mainly consists of following a straight line, and fighting with the groups of monsters that appear in specific areas, blocking your progression. A typical crowd of mobs consists of a dozen of worthless punch bags that are simply there to charge up your SP, which can then be used in the bigger beasts, either by creating an area-of-effect blast, or by unleashing one of your summons.

All that sound great in theory, but the implementation of those mechanics is severely lacking, with the main reason being the rigid, clunky way Yang fights. The controls are in no way unresponsive, but your moves don't really "connect" as well as they should. Pulling off combos (and there are many), summoning your gods, creating the aforementioned super blast; there's always an annoying pause between them all that ruins the overall pace and flow of the battle.

Moreover, foes behave as if they are actually more bored than you. You simply can't lose in a battle with non-boss enemies, as they rarely attack. As mentioned before, most are waiting to get their behinds kicked, and while the bigger opponents hit, and hit much harder, even genre newbies will find this to be an irritatingly easy ordeal - and repetitive. Oh, sweet, chubby Mazu, how repetitive this can be, especially in the first five or so hours, where nothing ever seems to change.

Screenshot for Dusk Diver on Nintendo Switch

Not only are battles painfully easy, not much will be asked from the player. The combat mechanics aren't simple, but simplistic - it's all about charging your SP via ordinary attacks, and then pressing a button at the right moment to pull off a special move. The heroine can also use SP to summon one of her three super friends for a few seconds, and these behave different from each other, but a deeply tactical affair, the battlefield of Dusk Diver is not.

Sure, it all looks cool. While somewhat underwhelming compared to other anime-style action titles, seeing Yang & Co. move around, creating their fireworks, is far from an ugly sight, especially when it comes to the character design itself. From the protagonist's neat sense of fashion (this is a Ximending local, after all), and Leo's mafia style, to the kawaii-ness that is Nemea, and Le Viada's mammoth... talents, these folk are definitely the better half of the game's visual aspect.

...That being said, the Switch version is depressingly inferior. First of all, the use of locked 30FPS looks a bit too "choppy" due to the high-octane action at hand - most importantly, however, it all looks so... last gen. The aliasing is unnecessarily evident, which would be easy to accept if this had "realistic" graphics like in Skyrim or Assassin's Creed III, but it really sticks out because of Dusk Diver's cel-shaded-esque, anime aesthetic.

Screenshot for Dusk Diver on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Playing Dusk Diver isn't a bad experience. Just an unfulfilling one. There are some things to like here. Walking around the colourful Ximending district of Taipei, interacting with the small cast of main characters, and then watching them battle monsters is kind of cool. Kind of cool. At its core, Dusk Diver is a simplistic, repetitive, and uninspiring, musou-style brawler.

Developer

JFI Games

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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