DmC has been on the forefront of a lot of gamers minds since we saw the new-look Dante. A lot of original fans of the earlier entries in the series said they would boycott the game entirely, whilst people who hadn’t seen Devil May Cry before didn’t see what the problem was. Hopefully the gameplay will silence the people who dislike it based on appearance or perceived wrongs, because this is a damned good game.
You play as Dante, not the one that everyone is familiar with, but an alternate universe Dante (the game isn’t considered as canon in the Devil May Cry universe) who is recruited to join The Order, which is led by his brother Virgil. The Order is perpetuated to be a bunch of terrorists, with Dante being the worst of the lot. Whereas, in reality, they are trying to take down the Demons who are taking over the world through subterfuge and guerrilla tactics rather than all-out warfare. The plot thickens as you get further into the game, but considering one of the screenwriters was Alex Garland, the screenwriter for 28 Days Later, it isn’t surprising that the plot and characters are well crafted.
A lot of people will have a problem with the new look Dante, he has some smarmy one-liners and is completely cocky and arrogant, much like every teenager out there at the moment. He is also full of profanity, but not for the sake of seeming “edgy”, it just flows naturally from him. However, as the story-line progresses, we get more of an insight into Dante and he isn’t all that he was portrayed to be, he has a heart and he does care about people. This is what makes him an extremely likeable character, and even all the nay-sayers who hated him on first glance will feel their hearts soften towards him, especially towards the middle of the game. If you’re coming into the game expecting the original Dante with a new make-over you’re going to be disappointed. He has a completely different back story now (although he is still the son of Sparda) but instead of his mother being human, she is now Eva, an Angel. This means that Dante has both Demon and Angelic powers and both serve him well in different ways.
The game is set in both the real world and Limbo, the world existing just below. For the most part you are fighting through Limbo, which is definitely a plus because the world shifts around you as you are running along meaning that what you thought was a short, straight corridor has actually been manipulated so it’s triple the length and you need to jump and grab various platforms to move along. There is a lot of platforming throughout, with you needing to either pull out parts of the environment or grab onto a ledge suspended in mid-air. This breaks up the constant Hack N’ Slash combat rather well.
Now, as this is a Hack N’ Slash game, if the fighting is poor, then no matter how pretty it is, or how well the story is written, the game will just fall flat on its face. Thankfully this isn’t the case for DmC as you get a variety of moves to learn and upgrade as well as a multitude of both long range and close combat weapons. The close combat weapons are variations of all the bosses that you defeat, so you get more than just experience and a good feeling when you defeat one of the bosses. Also, the weapons aren’t just there to make the combat look prettier, there are two different variations. You have the Angel and the Demon weapons, which are also used to take down specific enemies. To begin with you only have Dante’s standard Rebellion and Ebony and Ivory, but as you progress you begin to unlock your angel and demon weapons such as Osiris (Angel Scythe) and Arbiter (Demon Axe) as well as others. You also get some random guns as well, such as the rather aptly named Kablooey, where you shoot a dart into an enemy, and then you get to blow them up.
The one part of the combat that just didn’t sit right with me was the Devil Trigger. It seemed like the aesthetics of it was thrown in as a concession to the older fans. It features Dante’s hair going white and his coat going a strangely familiar shade of red. Yes, in Devil Trigger mode, you basically turn into the Dante of the original games. I would have been happier if they had stuck to their guns and turned Dante slightly more demonic. It just seems like Ninja Theory wanted to throw in something that tried to appease the older fans. The actual mode itself is good; it works really well in the context of the game, but the aesthetic style just felt entirely out of place.
The part that always made Devil May Cry great was the boss fights, and that tradition has continued with DmC , with you having to fight huge Demons and grab a smaller Demon out of their stomach in one boss fight. This is also done without the use of Quick Time Events, which is always a pleasure. Instead of QTE’s you use your Demon and Angel powers to either grab something or pull yourself up to their level. It makes the combat flow a lot more freely and you don’t have to mash a button to just stab someone whilst watching a screen, you get to grab their eye with your demon grab, and pull it out in a cut-scene. Whilst it would have been nice to see it happen within real game time, not having to mash buttons is always pleasant and you get to watch it all in its gory detail.
Overall this is an excellent game that whilst it has some minor technical flaws, surpasses my expectations. This is definitely a must buy for any Hack N’ Slash gamers, especially if you have never entered the world of Devil May Cry before.