DmC: Devil May Cry Review
For the sake of disclosure, I’m going to begin this review by stating that I have never been a huge fan of the original Devil May Cry series. The first three titles had their moments here and there, but it was the release of Devil May Cry 4 and the fact that you had to play through the game as one character and then play it through in reverse as another, that was the proverbial nail in the coffin of me never wanting to play any future Devil May Cry games. Fast forward five years and cue Ninja Theory, the developers behind the titles Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, who have been handed the reins of Devil May Cry and with them, the entire series has received a reboot, complete with a new style, new characters, and one hell of a new experience.
With the new developer comes a new look for Dante. The once older, white-haired, red trench coat wearing anti-hero is now a black haired, youth that lives in a trailer and is oblivious to the demonic problems that are plaguing the world. Once the Demonic overlord Mundus learns of Dante’s existence as the remaining Son of Sparda, he sends a hunter to do away with him. As the hunter tracks Dante, a girl named Kat –who oddly enough, with her blue eyeliner and facial sparkly bits, looks incredibly like many other Ninja Theory female protagonists—shows up and explains to Dante that there are two worlds; Limbo and the real world and she can allow Dante to pass through the two with her portals.
Afterwards, Dante is introduced to Virgil; the leader of a group called The Order, that is set up to stop Mundus and his plot to keep humans complacent and unaware of the demons that are hidden by way of using television news propaganda and placing special ingredients in popular energy drinks. Once the Futurama/They Live inspired subplots are out of the way, the story begins to make a little more sense and ramp up as Dante, Virgil, and Kat try to find a way into Mundus’ sanctuary to remove him and his loose-skin fitting mistress to end the infection of imperceptible demons and humankind’s unbeknownst submissiveness.
Much like in the previous Devil May Cry games, the fast-paced gameplay is based around a structured combo system that builds in ranks as Dante performs alternating attacks with his sword and guns. In addition to the 3 staple weapons, Dante also has a number of other weapons—two angelic weapons, and two demonic weapons—which can be used immediately simply by pulling the corresponding trigger; left for angelic weapons, and right for demonic. It’s all very simplistic, straight-forward, and easy to learn, but with nine different weapons available, all of which can be upgraded with new abilities; when things start to get hectic, it can get overwhelming, sometimes confusing, and when there are enemies that can only be hurt by a specific type of attack, it can quickly put you in a bad place.
As you progress through the twenty exceptionally imaginative chapters, each one brings something new to the table and changes the surroundings of the game to keep it continually feeling unique and interesting. For example there is one level that takes place in a night club, which features sound waves in the background that oscillate to the music while the shadow of a partying crowd surrounds you. Another mission allows you to interact with objects at normal speed while the rest of the world moves in slow motion as you race to avoid an approaching cascade of destruction.
As with previous games, the “arena battles” that each mission contained are still present and many times you’ll be faced with waves of enemies with an obstructed exit until they have all been vanquished. For the most part, the continuous action is rhythmic and sleek, until that is, you are trying to focus on one particular enemy in the middle of a crowd. The lack of a visual lock-on option for enemies can hurt at times, as well as missing an ability to swap targets from one enemy to the next, but with the flexibility of the fights and ease of controls, there was only a handful of times through the entire game that I wished it were present. The Devil Trigger that Dante uses is also a little different this time around from the original games. Once the meter is built up, it is then activated and all the enemies present will float in the air limply, allowing a white-haired and red trench coat wearing Dante free shots at those above him.
While there are many things different about the game, there are some fundamentals of the series that remain to keep fans happy. Once the game is completed, there are four additional difficulties that can be unlocked, giving players different attributes to complete the game with such as “Heaven and Hell mode” where both Dante and enemies die in one hit, or “Hell and Hell mode” where only Dante will die in a single hit. Many people were fearful of having the original Dante character and story tampered with and changed, but sometimes change can be good. The oddly named DmC: Devil May Cry is the rejuvenation –the shot in the arm–that the franchise needed and Ninja Theory has done the dwindling series a tremendous service with their reimagining of the younger Dante and his devil may care attitude.
Title: DmC: Devil May Cry