DmC: Devil May Cry is a great action game, even if it's a little on the easy side.
The story starts with young Dante bringing two strippers home. He was then woken up by a knock at the door, he answers to find a girl. This seemingly random meeting with this girl propels Dante through a plan to kill the Demon King Mundas as a member of the supposed terrorist cell "The Order". His trailer is attacked by a hunter demon and he is left with no other choice, but to help them out. He is then sent to different demon dens to clear them out, hurting the Demon King's empire.
It's not an incredibly deep story, it's basically a "Tear down the Government" story and not a good one at that. It has it's angsty moments, but I did enjoy the dark, modern demons rather than the ancient demons from the previous games. The story still has it's fair share of cheese for you to enjoy, but it's hidden beneath pointless dialogue about taking Mundas down and trips to places that seem kind of pointless to be going to, such as a soda-factory. Also, Dante as a character can be likable, he's not a jerk like you'd think. It's your typical teen revolt, so try to either ignore it or don't take it seriously.
The gameplay is where Devil May Cry always shines and DmC is no different. You hack at your enemies and perform different combos to slaughter with variety and variety is key to DmC's rating system. As you fight and perform different combos, your style meter rises; starting at D and ending at SSS. You also get Angel and Demon weapons and you switch between Angel, Demon and Rebellion by holding the L2 or R2 buttons. This lets you perform different combos and the ability to switch between the other styles on the fly can lead to some impressive strings if you are good enough.
One downside to the game is the lack of combos for each weapon. Each weapon only has a few moves and the game forces you to constantly switch between them all to keep the style meter rising. This is bad because it prevents you from sticking with your favorite, of course it's a good thing as well since it keeps you changing between everything forcing you to get good at adapting. Another downside is the difficulty. Devil May Cry is known for being on of the hardest PS2 games around and Devil May Cry 3 and 4 carried that tradition on, though Devil May Cry 4 was a little easier. DmC, on the other hand, is a cake-walk. Dante takes little damage on the default difficulty and I found myself dying only a few times over the course of the game. Of course, there are multiple difficulties.
Another positive is the new traversal mechanics. While in either demon or angel stance, you can either pull things to you or pull you to things. This is used quite frequently in both combat and traversal and makes for some entertaining platforming, even if it is easy. This is the best Dante's platforming skills have ever been and his jump is much more manageable now, allowing you to change direction in the air.
There are a few bosses in the game and some special enemies. The bosses just boil down to exploiting patterns and weakness, but they are satisfying and fun; especially the final boss. The special enemies on the other hand are just simple creatures colored either blue or red and can only be killed by either angel or demon weapons. Some of these enemies are done well, such as Ghost Rage and Blood Rage, but the more generic ones you see are pathetically easy. Another point to mention would be the air combos and the ability to nerf all challenge at the expense of low style.
Knock and enemy into the air, hack them a little and pull them back to you before they fall to start the combo all over again. This shouldn't be possible since it makes a lot of the normal fights easy, but it's amusing and, once again, satisfying to torment your enemies so. You can perform some epic air combos here, with the angel weapons being the preferred choice in the air. It takes some skill to perform some of these combos, though they aren't required to succeed. Overall, it's still Devil May Cry and it more functional and enjoyable than the first game's gameplay, but it's incredibly easy while still remaining satisfying. Did I mention that the game is completely free of the Quick-Time Events that inhabit other games in the genre?
The audio is as mixed as Devil May Cry games usually go. The voice work is solid, even with the iffy writing and the music is pretty fitting. The music is either electronic or metal or a mix of the two. The sound effects are great as well. Of course, whether or not you like what you hear stems from your like of the type of music. While I'm not a fan of the type of metal on display, I found it fitting and felt it added to the game rather than took away.
The visuals are another high point. The character models look great and, while not many people like him, I like Dante's new design. I'd still rather the old Dante, obviously, but I'm not complaining about the new one. The environments look great and some of the best Limbo scenes look fantastic. The darker art style brings back feelings from the first game, just that it's modern not old. The enemy design is a little limited, but what you do battle still look great. Limbo allows the artists to bring a more creative spark to DmC's environments and it pays off. The camera pan after every battle is also a neat little touch and it let's you know you can rest easy.
The combat looks as satisfying as it plays and it's thanks to Dante's great animations as well as his cool new weapons. Some areas look better than others and there are a lot of corridors here meaning less freedom. This is fitting since the city is actively trying to kill Dante, even writing insults on it's surface. The simple, but effective HUD stays out of the way and leaves the action looking clutter-free. It runs at 30 frames which is disappointing compared to the series original 60, but you wouldn't notice unless you were actively looking for it. It also runs on the Unreal Engine which brings with it the typical problems; texture loading, some odd shadows, some samey textures and that unreal look but it takes these issues and still manages to build a cool world and a great presentation.
- Satisfying combat
- Dante's old personality is still hidden there
- Limbo is fantastic
- Fitting music and great voice work
- Fluid animations and clutter-free action
- No noticeable performance issues means smooth gameplay
- Art style is a winner
- Ability to switch styles mid-combo
- That final boss
- No QTEs
- The story is pointless and stupid
- Villain is mostly in the sidelines
- Gameplay is really easy
- Not much variety in combos for each weapon
- Lack of enemy variety
- Music can be off-putting
- Not original Dante
- Attempted a serious story and failed hard
Overall, DmC: Devil May Cry is a nice attempt at changing the gameplay enough to breathe some life into a franchise that needed some air. On the flip side, it's a terrible attempt at adding some depth and seriousness to a campy series. It's combat may be a tad on the easy side and it's story might suck, but it has some of the best hack and slash gameplay around and some of the best level concepts out there. It still needs a little work, but I think I see a tear being shed.