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DmC: Devil May Cry review

Yet again, we’re faced with a franchise reboot derided by seemingly overprotective fans. DmC marks a new beginning for Capcom’s Devil May Cry franchise- not only is it a completely new, non-numbered title, but it’s also been developed by an entirely new studio. Ninja Theory, the UK studio of Heavenly Sword and Enslaved fame, set out to put a new spin on the beloved franchise, to many fans’ dismay.

Boy, was all that fan hate ill-spent.

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A new face

DmC  in many ways doesn’t even stray from it’s source material. We’re once again introduced to Dante, the smart-mouthed, pizza-eating demon killer, son of a demon father and angel mother. Lost and astray, Dante soon discovers he has a twin brother and joins him on a quest to free mankind from the grip of the evil Mundus.

This tale of Dante is a familiar one, but presented in a completely different context and tone. The world of DmC is a recognizable one, trading spooky castle islands and twisted horror-cities for a more realistic, human-filled city unaware of the Orwellian control of lurking demons. DmC’s humanity is herded and controlled by the demon’s manipulation through junk food and media. This serves as a fun, if somewhat less-than-subtle take on problems with our own society, and meshes well with the characters and their environment.

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Tricks of the trade

Playable character Dante is quicker than ever thanks to an all new combat engine that takes the fundamentals of the series and puts them into overdrive. Not only is combat precise and lightning quick, it’s incredibly varied and deep. A three weapon system mapped to the left and right triggers triples combat output, and adds a pretty big layer of depth on a basic setup. Guns are still present, but lack the utilitarian punch series weapons are known for. That being said, DmC’s combat manages to feel distinctly Devil May Cry while simultaneously breaking incredible new ground.

Combat does have it’s caveats. Occasionally, as with any complicated control scheme, inputs don’t always work out as intended, and combos can be flubbed from fiddling with the controller. Later in the game, enemies are introduced that force the player to exclusively utilize trigger-mapped angelic or demonic weapons attacks. These “hot and cold” enemies, while initially a clever way to shake up player strategy in battle, turn into infuriatingly difficult roadblocks on higher difficulty levels.

A push/pull dynamic serves as a core pillar of DmC’s mechanics, and not only manages to add another layer to aerial combos but seamlessly integrates with platforming sequences as well. While they initially seem out of place, platforming segments work into some of the major action set pieces of the game and turn out to be less goofy and more engaging than one might think. Dante swings across chasms, runs down falling buildings, and thrusts rubble around to jump on all in breathtaking, controller-gripping fashion.

Despite the occasional control misfire, DmC is truly a marvel of third-person hack-and-slash action.

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The verdict

DmC’s bombastic, ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek-yet-over-serious tale blazes forward at a breakneck pace. Nary a hiccup in the somewhat simplistic narrative, the game takes you through some incredible-looking levels that are constantly twisting, writhing, or exploding around the player. The game boasts a small number of old-school-style boss battles that are unique and memorable but laughably easy. Thankfully, clever and fun (although simplistic) writing brings these bosses to life in an entertaining fashion, along with the rest of the well voice-acted cast. It’s a quick ride– clocking in at about 7 hours, DmC is thankfully fun enough and chock-full of difficulty levels and costumes that it warrants another play-through.

While DmC is quick and somewhat easy, Ninja Theory manages to successfully present a refreshing new spin on the Devil May Cry mythos with it’s own sense of identity and charm. It has it’s flaws, but the incredible combat proves to be loads of fun and begs to be replayed upon completion. DmC also swiftly paves the way for an exciting sequel. Hopefully by then naysayers of the reboot will be proven wrong.

  • Release date: January 15, 2013
  • Genre: Third Person Action
  • Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed), Playstation 3, PC
  • Developer: Ninja Theory
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • ESRB Rating: M
  • MSRP: $59.99

Our Score: 4/5

 

 

About Jake Baldino

Grocery store manager by day, video game journalist by night. Jake spends his limited non-video game-time tweaking his iPhone and reading the occasional comic book. A proud New Yorker with a big mouth, you can find him talking games on The Nerd Word and the Pretty Much It show on YouTube.

Comments

  1. Massacred says:

    I seriously do not understand why, nearly every journalist gaming site has decided to brand anyone who dislikes something that a developer or publisher decides to push, either entitled or childish.
    At any rate, back to the subject at hand the new Devil May Cry title.
    While, the new look of Dante is purely aesthetic, it lies at the heart of a much larger problem. I believe at the core, the nuances, that the original fan base came to know and love from the pre-reboot series, have changed been enough, so that one could arguably no longer even call it a Devil May Cry game.
    Sure subtleties like the new hair color, re-design of the character, varied music choices, and new voice actors were annoying at first, but the fans could get over them if the rest of the game was well grounded in the series. The much larger problem lies in core changes; to the combat system, to the difficulty of the game, to the dropping frame rate etc. . .
    These changes, while certainly interesting ideas, really did not mesh well in the game series. It is because of this that I believe that many of the fans of the original series dislike the reboot.
    I would have been much more keen on seeing Ninja Theory create their own series (IP) with new characters, rather then attempt, yet fail miserably, at recreating pre-existing ones.
    Personally, after playing the demo, I decided that the game created no longer appeals to me, but of course, I am just one person.

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