DmC: Devil May Cry has been amid a hailstorm of pessimism and scrutiny since it’s unveiling at the Tokyo Game Show back in 2010. Capcom’s decision to reboot the Devil May Cry series, thus calling for a character re-design of the game’s protagonist Dante, has proven to be one of the boldest moves taken by any AAA franchise in this generation. Ninja Theory (developer of Heavenly Sword and Enslaved) was tasked with the weighty mission of bringing that same Devil May Cry intensity yet in a completely different style which appealed to a wider range of gamers (mainly the western and mainstream demographic). Did they live up to the expectations and succeed at doing this? At least for me, they more than rose to the occasion.
As soon as DmC commences, it is blatantly apparent that what you’re about to experience is more than a rehashed character model thrown into a mediocre retelling of an old narrative. Ninja Theory was careless about making Devil May Cry their own; an attitude that was overall beneficial to the game’s development. This same attitude carried over into Dante’s persona. He’s a careless, f-bomb dropping, over confident, heavy metal punk playboy who’s a sliver between having a chip on his shoulder and not giving a shit about anything.
This time around, Dante is a Nephilim (half demon/half angel) and the fate of freeing mankind’s souls from the possession of demonic forces rest on his shoulders. Of course he doesn’t know this from the get go, but you plunge into why this is so along with Dante’s past as you play through the game. Fans of the older Devil May Cry franchise will recognize some of the characters and notice their retooling right away. Ninja Theory built a good cast of characters to fit their vision of the new direction for DmC.
The story is delivered in a flashy, almost Quentin Tarantino-esque fashion that seems to never stall out from start to finish. Every new enemy you come across has a special little intro to beef up the intensity of the encounter before battle. The amount of cut-scenes and the fashion in which they are executed is definitely a shining point and helps to progress the story without the cut-scenes being too excessive or obstructive.
The dialogue in this game is as obscene as you’ll hear in any game this generation. There are no shortage of“fuck you”s or references to genitalia when playing through this. This sets a the tone for the rugged environment that DmC takes place in and definitely helps to submerge you into the game even more. You still have your over-the-top Devil May Cry stylistic comedy but the game is done with a serious adult tone.
Though there was already a foundation set from the previous Devil May Cry games’ stories, Ninja Theory truly took that entire narrative and went completely in their own direction. They wrote a fresh rendition of Dante’s story that you can enjoy regardless of whether you played the preceding games or not.
Despite the many gripes that any Devil May Cry hipster can conjure about Dante’s appearance, one thing theycan’t deny is how solidly the new DmC plays. As you play through the story the first time, you unlock weapons and skill upgrades to use during combat. DmC’s combat system is incredibly fluid, easy and is sure to be addictive once you get the hang of it. You’ll find yourself switching weapons, linking combos and creating different juggles with the robust amount of combat options at your disposal. Sometimes when playing hack-and-slash games, you feel the need to adjust to the games mechanics; be them sluggish or flat out broken. I never felt that way playing DmC as playing the game just felt natural, which provided a much more pleasurable experience.
You’ll have to channel your inner Mario when playing through as there is quite a bit of platforming to be done with the many ledge-to-ledge sequences. There are times when these can get somewhat annoying. You’ll be faced with many QTE-like moments where you have to jump/dash/grapple to certain areas before the environment crumbles from under your feet plunging you into no-mans-land. Luckily missing a jump doesn’t kill you off completely. Instead, it simply takes a sliver of health from you only to start you back on the ledge you leaped off of to try again.
The game does these very sweet slow-motion death sequences when you eliminate the last enemy in a section and you get to watch them rip apart as all of their entrails poor out along with the power-up items you absorb from defeated enemies. This is normally followed by a cut-away close up to Dante who smoothly turns his head towards what follows. From there either the story continues or he is introduced to more enemies to defeat. Little intricacies like this make you feel like a badass because they are so well done.
While DmC does have an online leaderboard where players can upload their level performance scores and compare them with folks on their friends list, there is no actual multiplayer component available. This of course is sure to raise the concern of replay value and the question of whether a single player game alone can warrant a $60 purchase. For a person like me who normally only plays games for the stories, I’ve even found myself going back to play the game on the unlocked difficulties to claim all the unlockable skins/costumes and items. I credit this more so to the addictive combat system that Ninja Theory has constructed. It’s almost as if they took shining points from their previous games (which both had phenomenal combat systems), sprinkled some Devil May Cry dust on top of those and out came DmC’s excellent combat mechanics. The likes of Bayonetta and God Of War have not only been rivaled but in my opinion bested. If you simply can’t live without multiplayer, then don’t shell out 60 bones for this game. But if there are single player games that actually are worth the price tag, Devil May Cry is definitely one of them.
In all of the explosions, destruction and chaos that took place in DmC, I saw pure beauty. You want to talk about some of the best use of the Unreal Engine to date, then this would definitely be in the discussion. Ninja Theory has never failed at delivering compelling visuals before, but DmC has to be their best work. The ultra-realistic facial structures/movement that they’re known for is back along with the sickest environmental design in any game of this generation yet. Bold statements galore in this last paragraph, yet I say it in all in extreme confidence.
In DmC, the environment is actively trying to murder you and man this has got to be one of the sexiest things done visually in a game. The debris, the ground crumbling before before splitting down the middle and going separate directions, structures shifting upside down to cause the player to fall to their death, the list goes on. Dante’s action mostly takes place in Limbo, which is a parallel dimension to humans’ earth. While in Limbo, you see the silhouettes of bystanders in the parallel dimension all while still seeing the treachery of the dimension you’re stuck in currently. There are also a slew of textual threats and demonic taunts that display in a huge illuminated font across different parts of the environment as you play through. These work wonders in further plunging the player into the setting and are altogether creepy.
The musical selection DmC offers is nothing short of blissful pandemonium. There’s a constant blend of Heavy Metal, Dubstep and Punk Rock tunes that play while you lavishly tear through hordes of demons. The music quiets to a hum as you’re traveling through scenery and intensifies upon every enemy confrontation. If you’re not amped up about a forthcoming battle, the loud shrieks of heavy metal music or the massive thumb of a dropping bass will get you to sit up straight.
Voice acting was spot on for this game as well. Everything from comedic timing to matching the energy of the moments was well done and definitely complimentary to the excellent writing.
DmC is a bold, unapologetic adaptation of one of the best hack and slash franchises of all time. The exponential expectations that Ninja Theory had to live up to on this title were met with the same smug and in your face confidence exuded by the game’s protagonist. Capcom bet big on this one and should be commended for it. They’ve done something you don’t see as much these days in the gaming industry and that’s take a risk. DmC is an example of a big risk paying off and us gamers reaping the benefits of that.
Ninja Theory once again delivers a solid experience and that makes them 3/3 this generation in making great games. As much as I love Platinum Games and what they’ve created (lord knows they’ve currently got a ton of great things in the works themselves), I’d have to go out on a limb and say that this is the best Devil May Cry game to date. This game gets a very stout THUMBS UP.
But that’s just my opinion! Make sure you make your voice heard and rate the game. Also feel free to leave feedback in the comments as well.