A reboot that does it right, DmC reinvents its hero and gameplay but still feels like older games in the series.
danny_dm_moore wrote this review on .
Other series have tried and failed, but Capcom made the wise decision to hand one of its most popular, but sadly flagging, franchises over to Cambridge developer Ninja Theory to deliver a reboot, and boy were they successful. DmC Devil May Cry reinvents series anti-hero Dante in a meaningful, mature way, does away with a lot of the 'Japanness' of the series and still manages to retain that sense of wise cracking bad-assery that the game needs.
They haven't done anything nuts like change it to a first person shooter, this is still a character action game through and through, only now the story is way better than past games in the series. We join Dante as a young man, struggling to find his place in the world and not remembering exactly who is parents are and what happened to them. It's a bit of a clichéd tale to start with, but as the story builds and we see Dante develop as a character, it grows into a good start for a series that severely needed something new, while also keeping a great sense of fun and humour at all times.
Changes to the gameplay are meaningful as well, striking the right balance between accessibility and depth. Normal strikes are linked to triangle, heavy to circle and shooting to square. That may seem like a simple control scheme, and to be fair it is, but as the game progresses and more weapons are unlocked and abilities upgraded, it is more than enough to provide plenty of depth as you rip your way through hundreds of enemies.
As the story progresses, Dante is granted access to 'Demon Weapons', changing his regular Rebellion sword into Demon or Angel weapons, such as an angelic Scythe or Demon Axe. Why Angel weapons you ask? Well Dante's mom was an Angel, and his father a Demon, so you know, story reasons. It makes sense, and these weapons provide new ways to attack, mixing up streaks of hits as well as providing new evasion options.
Mixing up attacks is highly encouraged, with the style points system from previous games making a return here. Now, I personally always found this system to be a strange disconnect in previous games, not really meshing with the rest of the title. However, here I find it a fun way to make you mix up attacks and string together demon destroying combos. That may sound strange, but I think it is due to the less complicated control scheme allowing me to actually rack up the odd 'SSS' rank and make me feel like a true demon hunter.
To gain said rank, you must switch weapons in the middle of combo's, as well as use different attacks with each one. The demon weapons are activated by pressing L2 for the angel weapons and R2 for the demon weapons and keeping them held. Attacks are pulled using the previously mentioned controls and it works brilliantly. There is nothing like shooting a demon with iconic guns Ebony and Ivory, following with a couple of sword strikes and launcher, jumping to the victim, slashing them with your angelic Scythe then slamming them back to the ground with your demon Axe.
I am not the worlds greatest DmC player, not by a long shot, but when even I can pull off some killer combo's, not getting hit once and ripping through hordes of enemies you know that the game is doing something right. I played on normal difficulty and it provides more than enough of a challenge, though hardcore players of previous games may want to increase it a bit.
Boss battles are excellent, forcing you to use all of Dante's abilities to beat them and providing excellent reasons as to why you are fighting them. The final boss is a little too easy I felt, but I also didn't have to spend an hour just trying to figure out how to beat it either. The look great and can easily rival things found in similar games.
The game looks gorgeous, the real world sections looking appropriately decayed and 'inner city', while Limbo, the alternate reality Dante is pulled into to fight, and where most of the game takes place, looks appropriately other worldly. Things that happen in Limbo can affect the real world and that is a very nice touch, foregoing what could have been a glaring disconnect in an otherwise very cohesive game.
It does suffer from graphical oddities however. There can be some very bad screen tearing during cut scenes, and some strange jerking on character movements. It doesn't make the game completely unplayable or unwatchable, but it is enough that it can throw you out of the game. However, that is the worst thing I can really say about the game on a technical level, and that achievement cannot be lauded enough.
DmC Devil May Cry is one of those titles that does everything right, but just feels a little bit lacking. It is my firm belief that this is mostly down to it being essentially the first game in the series, with the developer finding its feet story wise and establishing a new mythos and characters ready for the sequel. It plays fantastically, but by the end of the game I still wanted just a bit more of...something.
The games meta story of how society is a slave to consumerism and just how much power the media can have over us is admirable, and something more games need to look at - having something to say about real life is no bad thing. DmC is a fantastic game, brilliantly fun with a good story and a great sense of humour. It provides everything you want from a reboot of this classic franchise, with a deceptively deep combat system that allows for killer combos that make you feel like Dante - a wise cracking, demon slaying bad-ass, and that is no bad thing, I just wish it had a little bit more bite.