What would you get if you took two games like Dynasty Warriors and Persona and mixed them together? Well I would imagine you’d get something a little like Dusk Diver, the new game from developer JFI Games and publisher PQube. This game is very similar to those other two franchises I mentioned in terms of combat, visual look, and characters. Some things about it won’t be for everyone but it has some well put together mechanics that can be enjoyable.
The story of Dusk Diver follows highschool girl Yang Yumo and takes place in the city of Ximending. Early in the story she and her friend Yusha end up being transported to an alternate dimension called Youshanding and wind up separated. Yumo is then attacked by things known as Chaos Beasts and ends up being rescued by a guardian of this world named Leo. When they meet though Yumo somehow ends up having all of Leo’s power transferred to her making her a formidable force but also leaving Leo as a tiny stone lion. From this point on it’s up to Yumo to fight back the chaos beasts and save the world. I enjoyed the story for what it was as I’ve watched a lot of anime and it’s a pretty typical anime like story line.
If you want to know what the gameplay is like then just imagine what any Dynasty Warriors game, or Musou game as they are also known as, plays like and you’ll know what Dusk Diver has to offer. It’s really all about just attacking tons of enemies at a time with combos by stringing together both light and heavy attacks. Yumo can also use guardian spirits like Leo and La Viada to unleash some stronger attacks. You get a few of them to use throughout the game and they can be switched between using the D-Pad. Leo has the strongest attacks out of the guardians while La Viada has abilities that let you bypass certain enemy defenses. Using them will drain your SP gauge though and you’ll have to wait for it to recharge before being able to do certain things again. One way to instantly refill it though is by dodging enemy attacks at just the right time. It’s something you’ll want to get the hang of so that you can constantly have SP to use. Overall the combat is simple and easy for anyone to pick up but just like any Musou game it can also be a bit boring and repetitive.
You’ll proceed through the game by doing main missions and side missions and most of them are pretty short for the most part. Every mission gives you a rank at the end depending on how fast you finished it and getting higher ranks will reward you with more skill points that can be spent on increasing Yumo’s abilities and the abilities of the guardians. Things like Yumo’s strength can be increased along with obtaining new combo attacks. Another way to improve the guardians is to build up a relationship bond with them. You do this just by using them and once you increase it enough you’ll unlock a special side quest related to that guardian that will reward you with new moves for them when completed.
When not doing missions you can roam the streets of Ximending and take in the chatter that the people are spewing. You can also find places to eat that will grant you bonuses when on missions, vending machines that will give you new outfits and concept art and find hidden collectibles scattered around the city. That said I did wish there was more to do because even with those few things the city can feel kind of empty and bland. The game isn’t very long either as I finished it in around six hours. This isn’t a full priced game but that short length might not be worth the $40 asking price this game is currently sitting at for some people.
The visuals in Dusk Diver look pretty good for an anime style game. Character animations while in combat are smooth and transition well. The city of Ximending is bright and colorful as are all the citizens populating it and the world is full of tiny details to admire. The voice acting is done well and there are English subtitles to go along with it. The soundtrack is also quite good and I liked how both worlds have their own musical style. The score is more relaxing while in Ximending but once you’re in Youshading it amps up with some nice hard rock that’s perfect for kicking Chaos Beasts around. The trophy list on PS4 has 38 in total including a Platinum. It’s a pretty typical completionist kind of list asking you to finish the story, get all of the collectibles, max out your guardian bonds, get an S rank on every mission and so on.
If you’re in the mood for an anime Musuo game then Dusk Diver is something you’ll likely enjoy. The game fills your screen with enemies and lets you loose to wipe the floor with them with massive combos. The story was fine and most of the characters were fun to interact with when you could. I enjoyed it for what it was but I do wish the world had more to do in it and that it wasn’t over quite so soon.
*Dusk Diver is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
- Fans of Musou games will enjoy the smooth combat here
- Anime visuals look great and both worlds have a lot of detail in them
- Solid anime story with some fun characters
- The world feels empty with not much to do
- Only lasts a few hours
- Combat isn't very deep and can feel repetitive