Devil's Third is 4 1/2 hours long and reminded me somewhat of The Order 1886. You could probably stop reading my review now as that should be enough to dissuade you from purchase, but I will go on. After all, humor can still be wrung from some of Valhalla Studios terrible design decisions.
Devil's Third follows the story of our ex-terrorist protagonist Ivan, who has been released from Guantanamo in order to help the American government foil his own buddy's latest plot. I won't spoil it too much, but it involves a level of steroid abuse that would make even Chris Redfield blush. Not that our "hardman" protagonist seems shy of the sauce himself.
Actually, this campy, self-aware humor is something Devil's Third isn't bad at. Ivan is so hard that he continues to go topless in the harshest of Siberian winters. He will light up a cigarette at a moments lapse in action, and his ability to powerslide upstairs matches his katana wielding preference. Ivan is the Duke Nukem we deserved but never quite got in Duke Nukem Forever, and I found him pretty likable. Aside from this, epic amounts of gore, drawn out kill animations, and varied, wacky bosses show that Devil's Third isn't taking itself too seriously. Although I don't know how it could.
The gameplay is irredeemable in its awfulness. I like many of the ideas at work, such as a combination of melee and shooter, vehicle sections and boss battles, but none of them are executed well. Glitches and clipping are mostly hilarious, though sometimes annoying; enemies are not really varied; and the difficulty is ramped up with quantity over quality. Aside from this, the controls are fiddly and switching between melee and machine gun is a fairly huge pain in the ass. There are also large sections of cover based shooting and chest high walls, something I find fairly lazy and uncreative. Then there are the bosses ...
I actually found the boss characters quite interesting and varied in character as well as attack patterns. But from a story perspective, they were often not introduced before the battle began leaving you feel very little emotion towards the actual fight. On top of this, some bosses have one-hit-kill moves with little or no warning animation. One minute you are happily dodging and chipping away at their health, the next you're starting all over again, and all in a very unfair way. The biggest design sin of all, however, is how the story simply ends just short of anything "good" or "interesting" happening. For example, it's usually a good idea to conclude games by wrapping up long established plot points and relationships *cough*.
Gameplay is mixed up with a variety of artillery. As well as your standard sniper rifles, machine guns, and pistols et al, there is a range of more unusual weaponry, such as the flamethrower, which I was fond of more for its visual effects than its ability to deal damage. There was also a range of melee weapons such as pipes, axes, and of course katana, but Ivan's katana was so superior to everything else that there was little point in switching unless your katana flies out of your hands and you lose it, as I often did.
I'll admit that I'm not an expert on gunplay, though I've been told that Devil's Third's is adequate though not the easiest or most satisfying to control. Ivan's katana combos make melee action quite visually pleasurable and controls okay. But often there are too many enemies on screen to make melee a valid strategy and those overblown kill animations can become fairly tiresome.
I would talk about the multiplayer more—and I heard it can have its moments—but unfortunately, it was difficult for me to find even just 2 other individuals playing at the same time as me. When I did, they were often hugely leveled up keenos, who were then pitted against me two to one. I wasn't too hurt by this though because I didn't like the gameplay, and the multiplayer modes are more often than not more of the same. The final design sin that Devil's Third commits is perhaps the biggest in gaming: the multiplayer has pay to win microtransactions in a $60 game.
Despite complaints that Devil's Third is both very bad—and yet not so bad that it comes back around to good again—I found myself having fun with it at points. The humor and self-awareness is certainly its saving grace, though it's not nearly enough to offer Devil's Third any serious form of retribution.
Devil's Third was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on the WiiU. You can purchase your copy on Amazon.