2013 had barely even started when we received one of the biggest releases of the year. DmC: Devil May Cry has been a constant source of debate amongst gamers since it’s public debut in 2010, and despite the incredibly positive previews not always for the better. However, Chit Hot has often maintained that gamers are the last people you should ask when wondering what it is that gamers actually want. DmC: Devil May Cry is a cast iron example of the reasons why.
DmC Dante is Still Dante
The elephant in the room here is the new look. DmC: Devil May Cry was a reboot of one of the defining action titles of the previous generation of consoles. Along with the likes of God of War and God Hand, the original Devil May Cry trilogy rounded-out a genre that was truly making use of its host system in a way that others could only dream of doing. These were true recreations of the classic scrolling beat-‘em-up on modern hardware. Making the leap into 3D not by default, but with a passion for both their heritage. The new potential that was unlocked with more powerful hardware changed the course of the genre.
Devil May Cry 4 however, launching in the early days of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, was merely a graphical update. Utilising the same formula we’d all seen three times previously the game achieved critical acclaim and modest commercial success, but failed to truly astound anyone. Enter Ninja Theory and their mission to do Dante justice. A modernisation built from the ground up for a modern audience, on modern hardware.
DmC: Devil May Cry is Still Devil May Cry
Of course, DmC: Devil May Cry is still a Devil May Cry game. It sees our hero Dante fighting against hordes of demons and brutal, screen-filling bosses with a variety of lightning fast combos. And just like the series’ previous high point – Devil May Cry 3 – players are limited by their knowledge of the combat system more than by animation sequences or stuttered inputs. Combos are created by mixing together all of the available manoeuvres in any order the player chooses. Of course, there are certain combinations that work better than others. Learning which are the superior openers and finishers is part of the joy.
DmC: Devil May Cry features a variety of movesets, but these no longer come from switching combat styles. Instead the player begins with the basic sword (Rebellion) and twin pistols (Ebony & Ivory) and will gain additional weapons in the early levels. These weapons each offer a new series of different attacks which can be introduced into a combo at any point.
Players are positively encouraged to use varying movesets to increase the stylish nature of their combos. This will increase their score, bringing them closer to those all-important ‘SSS’ ranks. Further to this player-centric design there are dozens of enemies that require different strategies to take down. DmC: Devil May Cry regularly mixes many different types to provide fresh challenges. The combat system is simply a top grade production, comparable even to the likes of Bayonetta in its fluidity and the level of skill demanded. Yet still comfortably allowing players to develop with practice.
No Brains? No bother.
Sadly, DmC: Devil May Cry does omit much of the puzzle solving gameplay of it’s predecessors in favour of the action. Much like Devil May Cry 4, DmC: Devil May Cry opts for a linear structure that moves the player from one combat sequence to another. Hidden extras available when replaying earlier missions with new weapons. There are also side missions – objects to find, special challenges unlocked by collecting hidden keys – that provide ample distraction from the already lengthy campaign.
Style and Substance?
The art direction and Hollywood influenced delivery and pacing make DmC: Devil May Cry one of the defining titles of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 generation. Seven years spent building to a presentation that oozes with style and glitz in the same way that From Dusk til Dawn defines an era of mature cinematography more than it offers an intriguing story. DmC: Devil May Cry is a tour de force of technical capability, and aside from the odd unfortunately placed loading delay, is practically flawless.
The voice acting is incredibly well delivered reinforcing the feeling that DmC: Devil May Cry is more Hollywood than bedroom coding, as has been the direction of the videogames industry’s current for more than thirty years. The soundtrack is also remarkable, with strikingly powerful metal supporting the action exactly when needed; it might be otherwise disposable, but here in DmC: Devil May Cry it’s clear that Ninja Theory has made the decisions that suit the experience best, including having bands from outside of the studio create the soundtrack.
While the previous generation of consoles found itself struggling to define the 3D scrolling beat-‘em-up outside of the Devil May Cry series, there is no such issue on modern hardware. Titles such as Bayonetta, God of War III, Lollipop Chainsaw and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance showcase the results of allowing a genre to mature. As such Ninja Theory had their work cut out to prove that not only could they compete, but that they could bring the Devil May Cry franchise back to the frontline. DmC: Devil May Cry did exactly this, achieving all of its goals with style and wit; appealing to a younger demographic whilst providing enough of a hook to maintain the interest of the mature gamer. DmC: Devil May Cry enters a crowded genre and boldly states it’s taking charge. None should deny it’s right to do so.