DmC: Devil May Cry
Review by Bkstunt_31
"Dante may not look the same, but don't let that stop you from enjoying a great game!"
People are resistant to change. It's just kinda human nature, to be honest. We like what we're familiar with, but in the world of video games becoming stale can downright kill a franchise. The newest Devil May Cry finds itself on this edge with a series reboot (probably due to how "Meh" Devil May Cry 4 was), and so we have an all-new looking Dante. With that comes a new developer as well: Ninja Theory, best known for Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. While many people can't seem to look past the fact that the series has changed (which is their right, I suppose), let me tell you what you can expect out of DmC: Devil May Cry as neutrally as I can.
Always something to say...
While Dante has changed... he really hasn't. Sure he LOOKS different but he still seems like the same cocky "I don't care" party animal we all knew before. Dante never really had much of a back-story to be honest, and he still really doesn't have much of one here either. What he does have though is attitude: with plenty of confidence and a quick tongue Dante isn't about to take crap from anyone.
And that's exactly what Vergil needs. In a world ruled behind the scenes by demons, Vergil and "The Order" are trying to fight back against the Demon King Mundus, who controls the population through the media and poisons them through a local soft drink. Mundus gained his position by killing Dante's father, Spardas, and has been keeping his eye on Dante ever since. So when a member of The Order (Kat) comes looking for Dante's aid, Mundus tries to kill Dante immediately which does nothing but throw Dante into the fight.
The Order's fight against Mundus and his stranglehold on the world is fairly interesting. While the cast of characters isn't too large the game still does a fantastic job of presentation and really seems to put an emphasis on story telling and story progression (and, in this one reviewer's opinion, puts previous Devil May Cry game's "Stories" to shame). This is still very much an action game at heart, but anyone who can appreciate a well-paced story will enjoy the narrative here.
As much as I think the story is an improvement in the series it doesn't mean much if the game play isn't up to par. Devil May Cry always had weapon selection with plenty of combos and an emphasis on style, after all, and I'm sure that's what fans are expecting. Thankfully Ninja Theory pulls this off.
You start the game with Dante's faithful sidekick, his broadsword Rebellion. From there you'll go on to obtain four more main melee weapons and three firearms. Melee weapons include the demonic axe Arbiter, the angelic scythe Osiris, the demonic gauntlets Eryx and the angelic glaives Aquila. Firearms include Ebony and Ivory (your faithful handguns - you get them quickly after the game starts), the shotgun Revenant and an explosive dart gun named Kablooey. So yeah, the weapon selection is pretty good. However the way you equip and use weapons is even better. Rebellion is your default weapon and is a perfect go-to weapon. However once you gain new weapons you will be able to hold down L2 and R2 and instantly switch to your angelic and demonic weapons. Once you gain more than one of each, a quick tap on the directional pad can instantly switch equipped weapons.
So what does this mean? Well, frankly it means that combos are SUPER easy to pull off with some training. With the press of a button you can instantly chain a Rebellion attack into an Osiris attack and back into a Rebellion attack. Dante will also gain the ability (much like Nero from Devil May Cry 4) to use two different whips that allow you to either pull enemies to your or pull yourself over to them. Combine that with the intuitive weapon swapping and you can pull off a ton of crazy combos. Aerial combos are trickier but the whips really help. As you play you'll earn upgrade points which allow you to purchase new abilities and moves for your weapons and trust me when I say there is a wealth of moves. Combo masters and hack-and-slash enthusiasts should be well pleased with the options here. Dante is pretty mobile as well, with a boost move, a regular evade and an air evade. You can unlock some more evasive moves as well, but I do wish they included a guard or blocking option (perhaps something akin to the "Royal Guard").
The STYLE gauge is back as well and basically keeps track of how well you are playing giving you scores from D (the lowest) to SSS (the highest). Maintaining a high style gauge helps you earn upgrade points faster and contributes to your end score (which also takes into account time, deaths and items used). The stages you play through are both varied and well-designed, in large part due to the fact that all fighting takes place in "Limbo" instead of the real world, which lets the Developers essentially do whatever they want graphically (an undeniably smart move on their part). Enemy variety is also well appreciated as you'll deal with aerial and ground forces, shields, and enemies that can only be damages with angelic or demon weapons.
In the end the game play is easy to pick up and gives you all the tools to pull off some sick combos with multiple weapons. The interface here is extremely user friendly but it still takes some skill to get through the game with style. The only flaw I can really find to complain about in the game play is the camera (which can be irritating when you're fighting enemies in corners) and lack of a lock-on function (which can make gun play spotty at times). Other than that... the game play is a blast!
For those of you worried about difficulty, the game has three difficulties available from the start and two harder modes (along with two other modes) available as you play the game. I remember playing through Devil May Cry 3 and thinking it was rough on normal (which made beating it more gratifying) and my gut tells me that DmC isn't nearly as tough from the start. Those looking for a challenge should find it on the harder difficulties though.
An ever-changing world.
One of the SMARTEST decisions in this reboot was introducing "Limbo". ALL of Dante's fighting takes place in Limbo which in and of itself is out to kill him. In Limbo the city and environments can shift and change at a moments notice which as you can imagine greatly facilitates both the game play (especially the platforming) and the graphics.
The variety of places you'll visit is pretty cool, from start to finish. There's some repeated environments from time to time (including some backtracking), but it's not bad at all. The things Limbo can do ensure that you'll always have something to look at and some picturesque views from time to time. Enemy and character designs are good. I remember the outrage most people had over Dante's first look (and his initial look I didn't like either), but he's been redesigned since than and looks good now. I also like how slim the Rebellion sword is compared to previous games. It just looks and feels much better now.
Sorry, I didn't understand a word of that...
The sound track to DmC is... interesting. There's definitely two distinct styles of music going on in the game and if I had to describe it as a whole I'd have to say that it is somewhere between dubstep and hard rock. The soundtrack is composed by two bands, Noisia and Combichrist (which admittedly I've never really heard of: Noisia seems to be the dubstep band while Combichrist is decidedly much more heavy). That being said, you can expect half the track to be fast-paced club tunes (which I never find to be very memorable) with some rock thrown in. Combichrist has several songs where they sing, and it's hard to deny that several of them are very catchy (such as "Never Surrender"). However I use the term "sing" loosely as their version of singing is really shouting. I don't know about you but I strongly believe if you're going to add words to the song they should be heard. Still, the music in the game does it's job well, even if you can't understand all of it.
The voice acting in the game was well done, especially Vergil, Dante and Kat (the three main characters you'll hear the most). Timing was extremely well done and all of the sound effects were satisfying.
This party's just getting started!
DmC isn't a very long game. You can easily beat it in two to three afternoons if you wished. It's got 20 chapters in total that range from extremely short to nice and long. It does have several forms of hidden items such as the Lost Souls and hidden keys that unlock hidden challenge rooms. These things often necessitate re-playing chapters but still the game isn't terribly long. I mentioned the different difficulties earlier, but I didn't really touch on the two modes you can unlock. These are "Heaven and Hell" where everything including you dies in a single hit and "Hell and Hell" where only you die in a single hit. I haven't braved these myself but they sound pretty rough. And then there is Dante Must Die mode. Old-school Devil May Cry fans complaining about how easy the game is should find their challenge here.
In the end, DmC is a great addition to the franchise. The game play is intuitive and entertaining and the focus on story combined with the fantastic pacing will keep you hooked. Additionally the concept of Limbo was just downright brilliant from a graphical point of view. The game has some minor annoyances like the camera and lock-on mechanics (at times), and perhaps the music depending on your tastes, but in the big picture this is a very good hack-and-slash game, especially when it comes to the combat.
However, you have to remember that the game is still undeniably SHORT and if you don't plan to replay the heck out of it I would strongly suggest a rental. Have fun and keep playing!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/28/13
Game Release: DmC: Devil May Cry (US, 01/15/13)
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