In Dusk Diver you play as Yumo. She’s a young girl who’s living her life like any young teen in the big city of Ximending. Everything is cool until her and her friend are somehow sucked into a mystical version of her home. This place is known as Youshanding and within reside gods and demons. She is attacked by these creatures known as Chaos Beasts and is saved by Leo a Kunlunian (mystical being). Unfortunately, she accidentally absorbs all his powers and he loses his form transforming into an adorable chibi version of his true form.
When Leo and his Boss (a ceramic bear) explain to Yumo she needs to protect Youshanding and Ximending with her newfound power until they figure out how to fix what has happened Yumo learns about a mystical and fantastical world and her place in it.
At the time of twilight, the adventure begins
In Dusk Diver the player is thrust into this make-believe world where you (Yumo) battle against demonic forces. The gameplay is akin to the Dynasty Warriors franchise. You are 1 versus 1000 or at least it tries to anyway. You are up against multiple enemies possibly 50 enemies at a time and you utilise combos to devastate their numbers. The levels usually take 10 – 15 minutes with a boss battle at the end and nothing is especially interesting in these levels that are filled with generic monsters.
The best way to describe the design of Youshanding and the monsters within it is it’s a neon nightclub. Everything has bright streaks running through them and at first it’s decent to look at but as you progress further through Dusk Diver nothing much is changed. The levels of Youshanding barely change in design and it was a real shame.
Punch, punch, maybe a kick and repeat
So as I stated earlier Yumo fights multiple enemies utilising the powers of her guardian forces. You first get Leo and his fire powers are all offense. Then there is Bahet who is all about speed, and finally, Le Viada who is more of a trap expert with guns. All these abilities are decent and they mix up the combat. Slowly but surely you can upgrade their abilities as well as Yumo’s by spending points which is the essence you get from defeated enemies. If I’m being honest apart from upgrading your special moves you don’t feel like you are increasing your strength when you are facing the chaos beasts.
You fight enemies with light attacks and heavy attacks so not particularly imaginative. You absorb SP to utilise the summon moves. Summons attacks can be combined with your heavy attack in a variety of ways and these are substantially more powerful.
This is all sadly let down by sluggish controls. The fighting system is clearly going for a fast-paced battle style but the game just can’t keep up with the button input and it’s terrible when a current-gen game feels more like the previous gen.
Between the battles
So while you’re going from Youshanding and Ximending Dusk Diver lets you connect further with the people around you with side quests. These side quests are numerous and build the personality of the city and the people who live in it.
The quests are nothing special though, they range from eating different types of food and reporting back to someone to reuniting a family of weirdos. This fleshes out the length of the game and it also helps you gain new abilities with Leo and the rest of the gang. The biggest issue with this is that it just feels like the devs played Persona 5 and thought we could do this, just nowhere near as compelling.
In the end, I have to say I enjoyed Dusk Diver, but there are several issues with it that stop it from being anything other than a game I recommend if you see it in the bargain bin. It’s average, has some decent gameplay but it’s unoriginal, the characters are generic and the level design is unimpressive.
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