When UK-based game developer Ninja Theory announced that they would be releasing a reboot of the Devil May Cry series, fans were very sceptical With good reason, too. Their beloved action hero being re imagined was a hard pill to swallow. With the removal of his iconic white hair, new punk garbs, and his age set back a few years, Dante’s redesign sparked anger and multiple arguments across the internet, with fans wondering why they would change something that was already a great thing.
I can honestly say after playing DmC, that the change was for the better. They needed a fresh slate; a brand new Dante without any of the previous series chains. This is so Ninja Theory could build him better, make his personality more relatable and form a path all on their own. They had to establish that this was the same Dante, with a brand new world and story in front of him. They took a character that is mostly static throughout the DmC series and made him dynamic. Dante changes through the game, and starts to grow up a bit, and it made for an engaging character that I can’t wait to see more of.
The world is bigger, and has more personality then all of the previous games put together. Limbo is introduced as an alternate reality where the demons drag Dante to trap him and fight him. This world is beautiful all the time, with a varying amount of bright colours contrasting dark corruption creeping through it’s alleys and tearing apart the setting as you run through it. It’s a world where anything goes, creating some of the best looking platforming I have seen in some time. My favourite part about Limbo, is that it forces Dante to rely on other characters to get him out, and to build trust with those he may not have needed.
Gameplay is divided up into 3 major areas in the DmC series: Platforming, Combat, and Puzzles. Because this game only has one simple puzzle, I will skip that section and go straight into the combat.
Combat in DmC is great, fluid, and makes for some very awesome battles. With three firearms, two demonic weapons, two angelic weapons, two grabbing tools, and his classic sword Rebellion, Dante is armed to the teeth. While they may not be as interesting as the weapons presented in Devil May Cry 3, I prefer this combat for one main reason: I can use every single weapon in my arsenal, any time I choose, without having to go into a menu. Using the trigger buttons, I am able to switch between my demon weapons, angelic weapons, and human weapons. by simply holding down the triggers you can change your movement, your grabs, and your weapons mid combo. This makes for an unparalleled level of possibilities in your combat, and allows you to adapt to new situations as they develop in fights.
The downside to this, is that because the trigger buttons are in use, there is no real way to lock onto your enemies. This would be very helpful in situations where I’m trying to focus one large damage dealing beast, instead of watching Dante lunge across the room to stab the wimpy demon next to him. It didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the fights, but it would have made them easier to manage.
The difficulty of the Devil May Cry series has always been a large deterrent for new players. Ninja Theory decided to balance this by offering 7 difficulties. The first three that are available are all fairly easy if you have played the previous instalments but the next four will push you to the limit of your abilities as Dante. I’m especially fond of the new “Heaven and Hell” mode, which is a mode where Dante will die after being hit once, but so will his enemies. This mode creates a challenge that even the most ardent of players will find brutal.
The ranking system is back, but it seems very broken. I can understand lowering the difficulty of the game, but anyone can get an SSS rank in the levels with a bit of luck and a good ability to dodge. As long as you avoid being hit, your multiplier will not go down. Also at the end of the level, you get an 8 times multiplier automatically as long as you found all of the collectables and secrets in the level. You only have to do this once, so after you find them, you can rush through the level getting style points, and get an automatic SSS. This was disappointing, as it made getting these difficult ranks less of a challenge.
Platforming is very fun to watch, but gets dull after time. With the world crumbling beneath your feet, you have to act fast to traverse Limbo. Dante’s platforming tools include the two hookshot-esque tools he has acquired. One is for pulling objects toward him, the other is for pulling him toward platforms. These make for some cool times where Dante is flying through the air, but aside from an air boost, you don’t get any other platforming tools. While beautiful to go through, the world is not very challenging, and I was never really stumped on how to get to any location. It doesn’t help that you attain every platforming device within the first 3 levels of the game. This doesn’t make the travel any less entertaining, as Limbo is so immersive that you will feel like you’re fighting the world while you run, but it does get stale after time.
DmC uses the unreal engine for this adventure, and while it looks alright on PlayStation 3, it still has some lag issues, and texture problems. The frame rate jumps around a bit, which would be understandable if it was only in Limbo, but during cutscenes in the bleak real world? This is an issue that can pull you out of the game, and can make you a bit irked. The engine holds up better on Xbox 360, but if you want the full experience and have a gaming pc, I suggest you wait. While I haven’t played it yet due to it’s postponed release, screenshots are very very impressive in comparison. If you have a high end gaming pc, don’t settle for the console version.
The sound effects are very cool, but they will drown out the music over time. All of the songs are original, and sound great from what I can hear, but most of the time all I can make out is a couple guitar rifts and screams. The opening sequence really made me want to hear more of the music, but by the time the adventure was over, I couldn’t think of any other notable song; and I’m sure there were plenty.
Aside from some stalling loading screens and texture errors though, the game looks great. These issues don’t distract from the action, in which you have bigger things to worry about then the bench 10 meters away just sharpening it’s shadows. All of the characters have very modern, fresh designs and the enemies are stunningly eerie They all have this creepy, Silent Hill type style to them that makes the intriguing and frightening at times. The most notable of these was a large succubus that died in a very fashionable way.
This is probably the best story that the series has seen. It is more engaging, gives you a greater sense of purpose, and has more character development than any of the previous games. You get to see Dante’s transformation from a punk apathetic teenager into the protector of humans and the demon hunter that we know. You see him care much more for people by the end of the game, especially the psychic Kat, that he and his brother are working with.
It opens with Dante living in a board walk trailer park, hunted by Mundus, a demon king who controls the world through debt. Dante is unknowingly a nephalim; half demon, half angel. The only being who can kill a demon king. So it’s obvious why Mundus would want him out of the way. After learning that Mundus murdered his mother and enslaved his father, Dante joins his brother Vergil, who is the leader of a ‘terrorist group’ trying to overthrow Mundus’ corrupt grasp on humanity. They take out his mind control beverage company, (which honestly felt like it was ripped straight from the Futurama episode ‘Fry and The Slurm Factory’) and the media network that is run by demons, and lead the assault to kill him. There is so much more that happens throughout the game, and you see Dante become an amazing character who walks the line between Angel and Demon well.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but I can say that it’s very dark, very offensive, and very violent. I don’t recommend this game to anyone who is nervous about blood and murder, as scenes from this will leave you feeling disgusted, and possibly angry. There are certainly people who will go into this leaving shocked, and many have already given this game 0/10 for the offensive themes in the story.
By the end of the game, I was pumped as ever for the sequel. You can be sure I’ll be getting it when Ninja Theory busts out Dante’s next adventure
-Awesome fresh take of DMC, great way to bring in a new Dante; exactly what the series needed.
-Fresh fluid combat system with a limitless amount of options.
-Limbo is beautiful and works so well in the game.
-Refundable skills give you consequence-free experimentation.
-7 difficulties keep the party going.
-Few texture issues.
-Music gets drowned out.
- Platforming gets stale towards the end.
Jake Elsasser is an avid gamer from the United States. When he's not diving into adventures on his pc or PS3, he's playing with his sugar glider Nook. Any questions or hate mail? You can reach him at JElsasser@live.com, or follow him on twitter! @JDElsasser