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For you fanboys out there: This game is the worst possible path that DMC could have taken.
Now that we’ve gotten that expected response out of the way, lets get to my actual review.
As a long-time Devil May Cry franchise fan, I’ve had my eye on this game since they released info on the reboot. I was a bit skeptical when I first saw them reveal the “new Dante”, and plenty of thoughts about the new aesthetic being a different person who was tortured into thinking he was the “real Dante” and other things came about because of it. I didn’t really mind it too much since I knew this was a reboot and not a continuation of the former series.
I, honestly, found DmC to be ridiculously fun and enjoyable even compared to the older Devil May Cry games. So how does this new Dante and his game stand up to the somewhat holy name of the original games? We shall see.
Story: The Devil May Cry series has never been horribly strong on story but I honestly think this game has a better story than the previous ones. DmC is somewhat typical in its story, yes, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. Dante’s character/age fits the lines which he’s given in the game much more than the original 30+ year old man who threw out corny 90’s one-liners. Nostalgia is both a good and a bad thing with the story of DmC. The game references the older series several times either through the characters, situations, or various little easter eggs thrown into the scenery and such. I mean when one of the trophies is “Fill Your Dark Soul With Light”, you can’t help but chuckle as a series fan.
The cast of characters in this game is fairly solid, with Kat being Dante’s obvious love interest, Vergil proving the ever-capable calm and collected side of the brotherhood pair, and Mundus being as quick to anger as always. Mundus, actually, controls the world through crippling debt, his own Fox News-like network known as “Raptor News” run by Bob Barbas, and by tainting the world’s favorite soft drink, Virility, so that people stay docile. I found this storyline better than what they gave us before which was a thinly veiled “badass fights to save the world one boss at a time” story. What I liked about this game more than the previous ones, was that you felt like Dante actually grew and changed as a character even just a little. He goes from being a somewhat whiny “I don’t give a fuck” guy to a pretty nice badass who has something to fight for by the end of the game. I also found the story involving Dante’s backstory interesting. Just in case you didn’t know, he (and Vergil) is the son of an Angel and Demon. Now while some claim this is against the original story where Dante is only half demon, but also half human, this is 1) a reboot and 2) doesn’t do anything to take away from Dante having human emotions.
The bottom line here for me is that I enjoyed the story more than the previous games, despite that I really like the older games.
Gameplay: Devil May Cry has always been about frantic battles with either large groups of enemies or gigantic bosses, DmC does not skimp on this at all. I thoroughly enjoyed the combat system of this game immensely. The combo system is somewhat easier to use (which I don’t see as a bad thing since the previous games had a ridiculous amount of difficulty in getting good ranks), and yet they still require a good deal of skill in order to gain style ranks. Also, before anyone mentions how some people can go from A Rank to SSS Rank in a few hits in this game… you could do the same in the older games as well and I have seen as much myself. This is nothing new and isn’t a reason to dislike the game’s battle system. I also think it’s a good thing that the combat is simpler and more focused, because it allows people to enjoy the game, and opens up the series to new players who can’t take the acute degree at which the combo system worked in the older games. Believe me, I enjoyed the combo system in the previous games as well, but there were times where I stopped playing for great deals of time because the game frustrated me so much in terms of the difficulty that I wanted to smash my console.
Did I mention that there are several ridiculous difficulty levels? You have Human (easy), Devil Hunter (Normal), Nephilim (Hard), Son of Sparda (Very hard), Dante Must Die (Very Very hard), and two new modes which are beyond comprehension. First you have Heaven or Hell mode, which BlazBlue fans may chuckle at for the name, in which enemies can die in one hit, but so can Dante, then you have Hell or Hell mode where enemies are essentially at the Dante Must Die level of difficulty (if not higher) with full health, but Dante can die in one hit. If that's not enough levels of difficulty to satiate your masochistic need for punishment, then by all means, play a different game.
Devil Trigger returns as well, and while it is a powered up form of Dante, the biggest thing is that it sends all the enemies flying into the air where you can pound away on them until your gauge depletes (while also giving you back your health, as per usual). One little touch I thought was nice was that when you enter Devil Trigger, Dante gains white hair and his jacket turns bright red, yet another nod at the previous games.
One flaw to the battle system would be the lack of a Lock-On feature, but really I never found it to be that big of a hindrance or annoyance. As long as you keep moving and stay facing the enemy you want to attack, you will hit them.
You can also switch between 8 weapons during battle. You, of course, have Dante’s default weapon, the sword Rebellion. You also have two variants of the Angelic and Demonic weapons. The Arbiter, which is a giant demonic ax, and it’s variant Eryx which is a set of gauntlets and Osiris, which is a large Angelic scythe and its variant Aquila which is a set of throwing stars. You also have Dante’s Ebony and Ivory pistols, a shotgun called the Revenant, and a grenade launcher of sorts known as the Kablooey.
The Demonic weapons are good for powerful, but slow, strikes, and are useful for taking out shielded enemies, while the Angelic weapons are highly effective against groups of enemies. Both have their pluses and minuses, but I found I liked using the second form of the angelic weapons the most since it can also draw in groups of enemies and you can bring the pain, as it were.
I also liked the boss battles quite a deal in this game, and they are really “classic DMC” in how they play out with gigantic enemies, crushing attacks, and snooty one-liners from Dante all the while. My favorite, in terms of diversity and being different was the Bob Barbas fight where you fight a giant electronic hologram head of Barbas while in his TV broadcast. The final battle of the game was also really enjoyable, making me pull out every combo and move I could think to use just to beat it.
On top of the very good combat system are the platforming sections of the game. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed platforming in this game versus the older games. Dante, of course, keeps his typical double jump, but with the angelic and demonic weapons, he also has a grappling ability to add to the platforming sections. With the Angelic Hook you can pull yourself to areas (or enemies) and with the Demonic Hook you can pull things (or enemies) to you. It’s reminiscent of Nero’s Devil Bringer which could pull you to far areas in DMC4. Either way, these skills on top of Dante’s Angelic Glide (which is basically an air dash ability), adds some really nice diversity in the platforming gameplay. You’ll find yourself using both hooks in the air while boosting and jumping on falling platforms all to great effect. In short, for once, the Devil May Cry series has good, enjoyable, and fun platforming. You also have your obligatory secret rooms and challenges that require you to search around for certain keys to unlock, so there’s reason for replayability here as well.
Graphics: Say what you will about the game “not running at 60 fps”, it still looks great and runs fairly smoothly even with a ton of enemies surrounding you. Also, to compare, I played a bit of DMC4 just to check the whole 60 FPS argument, and it’s not valid. The game didn’t always run as smoothly as people seem to remember. Either way, DmC has a solid graphical quality.
In terms of graphics, though, I want to talk about aesthetics the most. This game has one of the best imagined worlds I’ve seen in a while, especially in a DMC game. As you most likely know, Dante gets pulled into “Limbo” every now and then on his journey to fight Mundus, and I adore the atmosphere. Limbo serves as a deconstructionist/Escher-like representation of the real world, where parts of buildings lay in all sorts of ways, sometimes making you go upside down, and everything just has an eerie air of outwardly trying to kill you. I could not get enough of Limbo, and it really ties into the game well. There’s one part of the game where you basically go into a mirrored version of the city (which is shown as a reflection on the surface of the river outside of town) and it has a wonderful sense of atmosphere with upside down rain effects and everything. Needless to say, Limbo is the perfect choice for the world of a DMC game, and I hope to see more of it in the future.
I also enjoyed the choice to have a rather demonic voice say things as they were scribed on the wall such as “Kill him” or “Trapped” and the like to punctuate the situation. Helps that it’s the same voice that goes “Devil… May… Cry…” at the beginning of the game. As an added bonus, you also have skins that you can use in the game for not only Dante but his weapons. And for all you people who don’t like Dante without white hair, you gain that after you finish the game once as a costume. while it’s not the “Classic Dante” look, it’s still close. who knows, they may put out a “Classic Dante” costume at some point.
Music: DMC has always been a dumping ground for a harder metal-ish sound when it comes to music, and this game is no exception. DmC also includes, however, more Bass and Drum music than the previous titles, which still plays very well to the game’s core. This time it features the Dutch electronic group, Noisia and Norwegian metal band Combichrist to make up the music. Overall, this fusion of styles works very well to make the soundtrack on par, if not better, than previous entries into the series. Don’t get me wrong, I love the music from DMC1-4, but I also really like the change in style for DmC. In fact, several of Combichrist’s contributions are very similar to the older games in terms of music. I’ll show a few examples below.
Never Surrender - Combichrist
- If that doesn’t scream “Devil May Cry” to you, then you haven’t really listened to the music in the series at all.
Zombie Fistfight - Combichrist
- Better get your sword ready. No telling what these zombies will do.
Crush Him - Noisia
- You might recognize this song from the trailers from the game, and honestly, I still like it for its otherworldly flair.
Bob Barbas Boss Fight - Noisia
- For reference, the beginning theme of this song is the “Raptor News Network Theme”. This battle is probably the trippiest one in the game by far and really fun, especially with the music playing. It also fits since the entire battle is essentially in a TV broadcast… like… the electronic stream of the thing. It’s hard to explain.
Secret World - Noisia
- The game is not without it’s more atmospheric tunes though, and I really happen to enjoy this one.
Poison - Noisia
- Now this kind of got the ire of some fans thanks to the demo, and while I’m not into more dubstep-y tunes, this one is so full of industrial influences, I couldn’t help but enjoy it as I beat the crap out of the Succubus boss.
Lilith’s Club - Noisia
- In terms of the atmosphere of this part of the game, this song fits PERFECTLY. Lilith runs a late-night dance club and strip bar, and once Dante shows up, she changes it into this horror house of colorful platforms and driving music. So… yeah, did you come to dance?
Hunter Theme - Noisia
- Fight fight fight. You can’t let the Hunter capture you.
No Redemption - Combichrist
- Figured I’d end on a more energetic note. Definitely gets your blood pumping while fighting.
Conclusion: DmC is, in many ways, much like its brothers in the series, but it is obviously its own game and should be viewed as such. For me, even compared with the other games in the series, I like DmC quite a bit more. With a very solid combat system, a wonderful graphical aesthetic and some of the best platforming in the series, I enjoyed the game enough to play it twice before writing this review. DmC is simply this, a reboot for a broader audience, which I think is a great thing for the franchise. For a very long time the DMC games have been too hard for a great deal of people to enjoy fully, so it’s about time it branched out. So far, this is my favorite game of 2013, so I highly recommend it.
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