DmC: Devil May Cry Review
publisher: Capcom Entertainment
developer: Ninja Theory
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Jan 15, 13
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Devil May Cry has been a hot topic around the office lately. Vince and I had a chat about it and he claims that he never understood the appeal of such games (well, that's your PC-oriented MMORPG player speaking right there). If he said that to me years ago, I would've probably agreed straight away. Mind you, my first step into the franchise was made when Capcom released Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360. Captivated by the dynamic hack-and-slash gameplay and immaculate art direction, DMC became one of my favorites very fast. Capcom did an excellent job with both the Xbox 360 and PC version of DMC 4. Although I'm not all-too keen on Capcom after witnessing what they've done to the Resident Evil series and its 6th incarnation, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they attempt to reboot Devil May Cry with DmC.
For the first time in the series' history the development process was handed over to a studio called Ninja Theory, a name that should be recognized instantly by ardent PS3 gamers. They have created the much praised PS3-exclsuive Heavenly Sword and the mildly received action adventure Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Dmc kicks off with the main character Dante waking up after a wild night out. Dealing with a nasty hangover, Dante is suddenly attacked by a Hunter demon and is transported into Limbo, a twisted version of reality dominated by hideous monsters and demons. During his clash with the demon, our hero stumbles across a girl named Kat who is a member of 'The Order' - an organization that's locked in a conflict with demons and its leader Mundus. At the outset of this story, Mundus becomes aware of Dante's presence and is eager to hunt him down and kill him.
Okay, I'm really sorry I tagged you in those photos on Facebook, okaay?
That's it, you just jump, I'll be waiting for you with a pointed stick.
The story may seem idiotically childish, but its simplicity and weird-looking setting make it unique and enjoyable. Believe it or not, this is the most coherent narrative in the series so far. As things begin to unravel, you can actually understand most of it and you even grow to like the characters, no matter how tacky they may seem at first. This is one of the reasons why fans should not fret, because the game gives one of the best accounts of the main character Dante and offers more backdrop on him than any of the previous iterations.
Although this is the first time Ninja Theory had a crack at the series, it's blatant that they've accomplished quite a bit with this game. Right from the beginning of the game you'll notice many familiar elements that have made the series so popular. The combat is as exciting and clear-cut as ever and there's a whole new range of combos to choose from. When Dante starts slicing his way through hordes of freakish-looking monstrosities, he'll be able to wield five powerful melee weapons, in addition to three rather handy ranged weapons. One of the major differences when compared to previous DMC titles, is the Devil and Angel weapon modes. Dante can, basically, switch from mode to mode with one simple push of a trigger button, thus gaining immediate access to a melee weapon. It's a very cool combat system, since it allows you to combine a virtually endless amount of moves that can lead to some pretty awesome action scenes. As before, players are motivated by the game's ranking system, which evaluates your combat as you engage foes. Achieving a top ranking at the end of a battle grants all sorts of cool bonuses, so the better you play, the more goodies you can unlock.
Boss encounters are a trademark of the series and they play a solid part in this game as well. However, this segment may need a bit more flavor and challenge. Not that the boss fights aren't fun, but they do seem a bit underwhelming and a bit easy when compared to those in, say, Devil May Cry 4. Again, the bosses are actually a cool part of the game and you're gonna have fun experiencing each encounter, although you'll always end up thinking: "well, that could've been a bit harder." Overall, this doesn't make the experience any less enjoyable.
Luckily, it's possibly to ramp up the difficulty with four new modes - Son of Sparda, Dante Must Die, Heaven or Hell or Hell and Hell. The last two modes are clearly for hardcore DMC players, albeit I highly recommend them to all gamers. They can be extremely satisfying if you start getting the hang of it. They might also help you improve your play style.
Ninja Theory presented an assortment of well-designed levels that often challenge the player to think beyond the frenetic combat and the main story. Most of the sections in the game encourage you to explore every nook and cranny just so you can get your mitts on that hidden souls (the in-game currency used for purchasing weapon upgrades and such) and other items that increase Dante's health bar and general abilities (jumps and other moves).
Dmc brings an amazing variety of beautifully crafted environments, some of which contain a breathtaking amount of detail. Players are tossed into a world that presents a distorted and completely screwed up version of reality. It's truly a marvel to behold. Few games are esthetically unique in this day and age, and yet Ninja Theory has done a commendable job in that department. The voiceovers are pretty solid and the game's soundtrack, featuring the music of Noisia and Combichrist, was fused skillfully into the whole experience. So, thumbs up on the audio guys.
Stuffed with cool weapons and foes to keep you going for hours the game feels fresh and a great improvement over previous installments, good for new-comers and fans alike, levels encourage exploration, great soundtrack and good voice acting, fabulous art direction;
Bosses could've been slightly more challenging, aside from the sporadic frame-rate drop during a few cut-scenes and the fact that the main campaign is a bit short, there really isn't any other downside we can think of that would spoil the fun for us.