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Review: Serment - Contract with a Devil (PC)By Gabriel PVJ Jones At 07.04.2019 09:54

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To break it down in basic terms, Serment - Contract with a Devil is part dungeon-crawler, part time-management. In order to pay off the debt, players must explore a large dungeon, battle its foes, and amass tons of gold. There's also a town that features a fair number of amenities and quests to partake in. Making friends and helping them with their problems is a sure-fire way to make one's journey easier. Keep in mind however that traveling between locations and engaging in fights eats up a lot of time. If the bill isn't paid at the end of every week, then the protagonist's soul is forfeit.

Speaking of protagonists, there are actually four to choose from. Each has their own weapons and abilities, as well as slight differences in story and event scenes. The character choice will also affect the difficulty of the game. A warrior, for example, doesn't have a large array of skills, but she can wear heavy armour, and do a ton of damage with her sword. On the other hand, a freelancer is a woman of many talents. She can even learn skills from adversaries. However, her lack of armour and pitiful weaponry makes for more difficult battles. After deciding on a character, the player is free to name them. Leanne is merely used for this review's convenience.

Moving along, players will quickly gain an understanding of how the game works. At the beginning of each day, Leanne awakens in her home. From there she can travel to Lucifer's mansion. Lucy is happy to provide stat upgrades to each party member, for a price. The heroine can also choose to visit the shop, where equipment can be purchased or crafted. Next up is the pub, which is home to temporary stat-boosting foods and occasional fighting tournaments. Then there's the library and river, where unique events can sometimes occur. Finally it's on to the dungeon, where the bulk of adventure takes place.

Exploration of this dread labyrinth is handled in a typical grid-based format. Each floor consists of many hallways. Some lead to rooms filled with treasure, others lead to key-items that are necessary for progress. With every step, the chances of encountering monsters will increase. The battles are turn-based, with gauges that determine who is next to act. For the most part, the action taken will determine how much of the gauge is spent. If someone chooses to cast a powerful spell, it'll take longer to recover than if they had just used a healing item.

Over the course of Leanne's quest, she'll meet and recruit up to five allies, all of whom have their own strengths and weaknesses. Maria can use spells to heal her friends or crush her foes, but her low HP guarantees that she'll get knocked out of battle, if she isn't well-protected. Iris is a tank in every sense of the word. She's slow, but very durable. Only three members can be in the active party, but it's possible to swap between all six, even in the middle of battle. Be sure to mind everyone's stamina. It drops whenever they take damage. Once exhausted, they'll leave the party for the rest of the day.

For the most part, there's really not a whole lot to do, aside from exploring the dungeon. Special events aren't all that frequent, so it doesn't do a lot of good to wander in the town for long. Still, it's worth taking the time to keep an eye out for them, as they tend to offer unique benefits. Completing certain side-quests will reward items that cut down on travel time, or reduce stamina loss in the dungeon.

Then again, some of the jobs feel a bit useless. At one point, a waitress at the pub asked Leanne if she could help out for a while. After spending an entire day serving customers, the warrior was rewarded a measly 1,500 gold. She could've earned far more in the dungeon, not to mention the experience gains from fighting monsters. Also unfortunate is that since the waitress didn't have any outfits that fit Leanne, the player isn't even awarded a CG scene.

Considering the yuri theme, there's surprisingly little in the way of fanservice. Granted, this can be dependent on the chosen character, since some have their own scenes. In any case, don't expect to see numerous pictures of salacious conduct, or ladies engaging in lewd activities. Much of this game's focus is on the gameplay. The dungeons offer a nice touch of puzzle-solving, and the battles are concise and decently entertaining. While not especially challenging, the level of difficulty is open-ended. There's enough freedom to make things as easy or hard as the player desires.

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Final Score
[i]Serment - Contract with a Devil[/i] is a fine way to spend a weekend or two. There's a fair amount of depth to both exploration and fighting. The cast isn't especially complex or interesting, but it helps to move the story along. Also, it's really nice that the developer is engaged in post-launch support. Alongside a handful of bug-fixes, there are plans for additional content, including some sort of post-game mode, and more event scenes. Dungeon crawler fans looking for a temporary reprieve from the latest Etrian Odyssey might enjoy their time in this demon world.

6

/10

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