Release Date: January 15, 2013
Developer(s): Ninja Theory
Platform(s): PS3 / X360 / PC
When the rebirth of the Devil May Cry series was first announced back during the Tokyo Game Show 2010, plenty of boos and jeers echoed through the crowds therein. The negative reception came about thanks to the “emo goth punk” look surrounding the new Dante, as well as the fact that this game was being developed by someone other than Hideki Kamiya and Capcom. What nobody expected was for this reboot known as DmC: Devil May Cry to knock it out of the park. Indeed, developer Ninja Theory (known primarily for Heavenly Sword) has taken up the tough job of continuing the Devil May Cry legacy with splendid results.
DmC: Devil May Cry is the result of Capcom handing over the developing duties to a more “western” developer on one of their key properties. This isn’t the first time this has happened, as they did the same with Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City to rather disappointing results to say the least. Thus, I understand the apprehensive response from fans and gamers alike. Nevertheless, DmC may only bear the Capcom name for publishing purposes, and it may not include the genius ideas of Hideki Kamiya, yet that doesn’t stop it from relaunching Dante back onto the catwalk. DmC: Devil May Cry show us exactly why this rude, crude, and haughty dude named Dante is still everyone’s “it” boy.
Many elements found in the previous games mark a return here, like Dante’s shiny longsword, Rebellion, and his twin pair of rapid fire pistols, Ebony and Ivory, the ability to effectively chain complex combos together, and soul collecting for upgrades. Moreover, DmC also introduces several constituents that more than set it apart from its predecessors. For one, the game incorporates two new modes which modify the way Dante fights his opposition. One of them is “Angel” mode which consists of Dante swiftly charging at enemies with a scythe called Osiris. The other is “Demon” Mode which allows Dante to wield a giant and much slower, albeit more powerful ax called Arbiter. These said modes also give Dante the opportunity to perform abilities outside of battle, such as gliding and pulling over gaps.
Better yet, these modes–when combined with Dante’s other deadly movesets–make up for some audaciously devastating combos. Dante’s move arsenal is by far one of the best parts about DmC, because it gives you the choice of how to dispose of your enemies. You can hack-and-slash, send your enemy flying (no matter how far away), just to pull yourself either away or close to him by using Angel/Demon Modes. Then again, you can also start off in Angel/Demon Mode, send your opponent sky high, and proceed to switch to your pistols Ebony and Ivory to continue chaining your combo from a distance. As you make progress through the game, you’ll come across other unique weapons that will add even more variety to Dante’s eclectic moveset. This in turn, makes for some deeply rewarding and diverse gameplay that never seems to exhaust itself. You, the player, on the other hand is a different story.
While the variety aggregates the necessary zest to DmC’s sophomoric set pieces, it also overwhelmed me in more ways than one. As you acquire more abilities, powers, and weapons, there will be an almost innumerable number of ways to approach a battle. There will be tutorials which explain how to use these weapons, while strongly recommending you to learn to chain them together alongside Dante’s other movesets. On top of that, the game also ranks your performance on how well you chain combos together, and whether these are stylish enough or not. In other words, don’t expect to “wow” the judges on how good Dante looks on that runway if you’re performing the same moves again and again.
Since DmC urges you to make Dante look gracefully glamorous, and you have all of these ways you can make that happen, you’re sure to be at your wit’s end sometimes not knowing how to strategize properly in some situations. This adversely makes the game return to mindless button-mashing territory (a criticism common in other Devil May Cry titles). Fortunately, that doesn’t last as the variety of moves instills you to become strategic. It’s a dramatic double edged sword that has no mercy on your wearied hands. Furthermore, DmC’s difficulty levels stacks with this gameplay factor which will most decidedly test your patience and skill. The “Hell And Hell” difficulty mode – consisting of enemies having standard health, whereas Dante dies from being hit once – is specifically designed to prove your might… as well as your fingers.
DmC: Devil May Cry is a reboot, therefore you don’t need to be familiar with the overarching plot of the previous games in the series. This is another one of the turning points that will either turn the faithful away, or maintain them. The plot is simple: we’re introduced to our immature, alcoholic, party animal Dante who woos all the women at the nightclubs in Limbo City every night. It so happens that one night Dante receives a visit from a young psychic named Kat, who exposes the true facets of Limbo City to him. Kat shows Dante that Limbo City and its inhabitants are controlled by a fearsome demon named Mundus. He controls the media (through Raptor News Network), the food industry, and even the government and politicians. Kat eventually takes Dante to “The Order,” a vigilante group conspiring directly against Mundus and his reign. Leading The Order is a mysterious masked man who reveals himself to Dante as Vergil, his twin brother. Vergil ultimately convinces Dante to join him in taking down Mundus after showing Dante his true origins.
The story is similar to previous games in the series, yet it’s not afraid to make a place for its own existence. In fact, it’s thanks to the witty writing behind the modified characters that the game works extremely well. Introducing the already initiated, as well as new souls into the Devil May Cry universe, through the eyes of young inexperienced antihero Dante–a snotty, ill-mannered, and painfully uneducated individual – was a brilliant idea. This Dante retains his contradictory short temper and collectedly cool, badass attitude, and brings a bratty, spoiled demeanor into the mix. I guess his age doesn’t help, as this Dante is much younger than his ancestor. Regardless, he still brings plenty of smart-mouthed quips and facetious remarks, much to the chagrin of those who first labeled him as “emo.” The rest of the cast is also invested in the satire and have their fair share of clever one-liners at some point. I mean, who doesn’t think Raptor News Network anchor Bob Barbas isn’t supposed to resemble Fox News Commentator Bill O’Reilly? DmC’s main story serves as both a great alternate retelling and social commentary, even if we’re not meant to take it seriously.
What I will take seriously is the penumbral, yet kaleidoscopic art direction found all throughout DmC’s environments. This can be best appreciated when the game throws you into “Limbo,” a skewed world parallel to the conventional one. The backdrop artistry becomes the primary focus in Limbo as you take Dante across its many colored passages. Most of the colors used here have a tinge of abrasive red and blue variants. Additionally, the graphics are in full force here. This is where Dante looks like a professional supermodel showcasing his supercool presence, and the same goes for the rest of the cast. It’s also quite impressive how the Unreal Engine maintains placidity against DmC’s frenetic set pieces. The frame rate never drops, even as the graphics do battle with the game’s unyielding demands.
All of the praise must be directed towards Ninja Theory for handling the daunting task of perpetuating Devil May Cry in the minds of all. Despite the fact that Hideki Kamiya and Shinji Mikami (the original game’s producer) are not involved in this production whatsoever, it doesn’t take away one bit from DmC’s room presence. It’s been almost five years since the last Devil May Cry game, and some may consider this to be an inadequate time for a reboot (considering only four games besides this one have been released); I digress, however. I think a new vision from the fresh blood at Ninja Theory is what the franchise needed to remind us that the brash, foul-mouthed invitee Dante is here and has always been a vital part of the party. If the Devil May Cry franchise continues to bash in this direction, then it’s more than in good hands.
- New, fresh origin
- Gameplay is tight and eclectic
- Despite several changes, Dante can still bring life to the party
- It can turn the uninitiated and restore the faith of non-believers
- Hyperkinetic graphics against the strikingly multicolored art direction
- Gameplay, especially the combat, can at times overwhelm you