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DmC: Devil May Cry Review

From its first announcement at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, DmC: Devil May Cry had caused a lot of controversy and whether it was down to Dante's change of appearance, the new direction the series was headed, or simply the fact an inexperienced studio was responsible for creating the new game, it didn't matter. Fans were disheartened and disappointed, especially considering how long they had all waited for the next chapter in the series. Needless to say Capcom and Ninja Theory’s collaboration brought with it some interesting ideas and concepts, but did they all work?

Set in a new non-canonical universe but borrowing a lot of the concepts that made DMC1 and 3 so successful, we’re put in the shoes of Dante, a being of Angelic and Demonic origin living in the human world amongst us and hunted down by Demons on a daily basis. Although not as recognisable as the Dante of previous games, this tale is one of self discovery for our main protagonist. The people he meets, the scenes he witnesses and the shock of betrayal he experiences across his journey are what help to define him and shape him into the character we’re much more familiar with.
Whoa! I'm me again!
As you progress through the story, you meet a number of characters, both new and old to the series. The first of which is Kat, a Wiccan who can see into the Demonic realm (Limbo) through astral projection. As your sidekick, Kat is responsible for aiding you through your perilous journey and warning you of any incoming threats or ambushes. She’s also working for your twin brother Vergil, who tells you that a big bad evil guy named Mundus (who fans of the original DMC will know) is actually controlling the human world along with his lower ranked puppets, under the guise of Kyle Ryder. Upon discovering what Mundus did to he and his newly discovered family, vengeance is what carries Dante all the way up to his final showdown with Mundus but misguidance and betrayal is what ends this adventure and it’s something fans of the series have witnessed before, only this time it’s underwhelming and anti-climactic.

Like most stories though, DmC’s tale is one that has been told a million times over, with narrative being well paced and informative (leaving little to the imagination), but sadly falling short when it comes to building character, tension and immersion in a less than exciting world.

A tutorial is available from the start, and if selected, the game will pause at certain parts of each level, explaining how the combat works in the form of easy to read pop up graphics/messages. These messages tell you anything from how to dodge both normally and as an advanced player, along with giving clear and concise explanations as to how you use each weapon as you acquire them. I feel that this is a great way to invite newcomers to the series and for veterans of the series, the ability to play with this option off is even better.

The opening level revolves around this idea and teaches those new to the series basic moves and assets available to them. You begin with Dante's trusty sword, the Rebellion, which is the first weapon you'll be getting to grips with and as the level progresses, Dante recovers both his guns and jacket (heavy night out, huh?), readying you as the player for your first and final showdown with the initial boss, The Hunter Demon. Now, before I go any further, there are two main areas to DmC and they are platforming and combat. Both of which seamlessly flow into each other, in a cleverly integrated system that allows for you to use your Ophion Lift and Pull abilities (Demon and Angel platforming tools) not only for navigating the realm of Limbo, but also for pulling yourself towards enemies, or enemies to you, revealing boss and enemy weaknesses to exploit them, and also to keep combo's successfully flowing through the entire course of a battle.
Plunge that sword deep into my forehead!
Being branded as a Devil May Cry title, one of the key things needed to make this game a success was incredibly stylish and in depth combat. Needless to say, the reboot does a pretty good job here. Although more realistic, the combat is still over the top, offering a vast array of gravity defying moves and actions, limited only by your own imagination. Combo's naturally flow into one another, meaning you can start a combo with Rebellion and finish it with your final and more powerful Arbiter (your Demonic Axe) attack. This speeds up the attack process by cancelling out the slower animations, giving you a combat advantage with a much faster and stronger finishing blow. This can be done with any weapon and is one of the reasons why the combat feels so rewarding.

Also worth noting is that the hit detection is pretty accurate, and although the hard lock-on system of previous Devil May Cry's has been removed, the soft-lock replacement is intelligent and has a good understanding of who you want to attack (for the most part at least). There's also a very rewarding parry system in place, which allows for you to knock back any attack (boss or enemy, it doesn't matter) with the right timing, leaving them stunned and open for a beating!

The only issues I see with the combat are the actual weapon designs, a lack of upgradable combo's for each specific weapon and a lack of weapons throughout the game. What this means is that although the combat is good, without the use of a Style System (DMC3) clouding the fact you have limited moves and abilities with the option of changing styles to unlock more, because there's only one play style, seeing the same moves over and over again can get repetitive, which is why the need for more upgradable combo's is so present.
Prop Shredder's now exclusive to Osiris.
So, I mentioned earlier that Ophion Lift and Pull are used for DmC's platforming segments. This works in the same way as combat. You can pull floating debris towards yourself or pull yourself towards out of reach places, but due to how user friendly the controls are, there just isn't any real kind of challenge to it. Ultimately, it's just a fun way to traverse from point A to B.

Now that most of the gameplay has been covered, the question remains; how much does the game actually challenge you? Nephilim is the hardest difficulty setting available from the start of the game, and for veterans of the DMC series like myself, it’s far too easy. Son of Sparda is unlocked upon Nephilim’s completion, with Dante Must Die following the completion of Son of Sparda. There isn't much of a challenge on Son of Sparda either, so if it's a challenge you're after, Dante Must Die is the mode you'll want to run through.

Although not as hard as the likes of Devil May Cry 1, Dante Must Die still offers a challenge for the hardcore gamers among us. Enemies are a little more vicious in their attacks, more aggressive in how they approach you, and like in previous titles, each have the ability to activate their own form of Devil Trigger. When activated, they have more life and a much higher damage output, making them a lot more resilient to your attacks and far deadlier than their watered down versions of the lower difficulty settings. Personally though, I grew bored of this mode because even the most basic of enemies can take a long time to die. The good point to this however, is that it gives you longer to retain your SSS ranks, allowing for you to build up incredibly high scores on the world Leaderboards for each level.

With DmC's settings being mostly City based, locations can often feel repetitive. However, there are some locations that seem to stand out, one in particular being Lilith's Nightclub. Lighting is also works on a whole, but can often seem broken when textures don't react to it and tone properly. It can make objects, models, textures and characters seem out of place at times but it seems to be something you would hardly notice. Though it is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the game is so hard to immerse yourself in.

The level designs are some of the more imaginative I’ve seen, with areas ranging from open arenas to closed corridor sections with walls, floors and ceilings that break apart, close in and crumble from beneath you. On top of this, Limbo itself is a very vibrant place, which in turn is a refreshing contrast to the cold and drab palette of the human world.
Put a spin on this, Douch├ębag!
I felt that the weapon designs were a little too unimaginative for my liking. The aesthetic designs of the weapons fail to stand out unlike previous weapons of the series (Alastor, Ifrit Gloves, Nevan Guitar, Beowulf Gloves) because they're just too plain in design. What prevents them from boring the player however is the fact that each weapon has a stylish and creative attack animation with every combo it can produce.

In relation to sound, the music consists of raw noise and profanity infused electro/drum‘n’bass/rock from the likes of Noisia and CombiChrist. The soundtrack and dialogue synergise well, with help from the raw and gritty combat, though ultimately the tracks used share the same profanities found within the games poorly constructed dialogue and are often annoying. Thankfully though, DmC features custom soundtracks (hello Daft Punk and Calvin Harris!), allowing for you to replace the background music with that of your own tastes. Dialogue is still layered over the top, so with a little playing about you can easily hear and understand the plot.

Final Verdict
For an action game, DmC is great. For a DMC game, it's got a lot to learn, but for lack of a decent story, DmC offers a great combat system, with difficulty levels forgiving enough to entice new players unfamiliar to the genre to get on board, and enough collectibles to keep you playing for some time. This may not be the best the genre has to offer, but it had a lot to live up to and at the very least, is an enjoyable title that should be tried at least once.

Story = 5/10
Gameplay = 8/10
Graphics/Sound = 8/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 7/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
DmC: Devil May Cry Review
Reviewed by CaptainCortez
on Jan 31 2013

Rating: 7/10