Leave all your expectations, whether they be good or bad, at the door — because nothing can prepare you for this reboot of Devil May Cry. It doesn’t matter whether you were part of the internet frenzy caused by images of a “new Dante”, or if you are going into this as an optimist. Ninja Theory and Capcom have managed to create the ultimate tale of angels, demons, oppression and defiance.
Mundus, the demon king, controls the entire human race through fear, debt and the world’s most popular energy drink, Vitality. The throwbacks to classic tales such as Orwell’s 1984 are blatantly obvious, if not welcome in a series that has classically been built on bad dialogue and even worse hair styles.
Dante and Vigil, brothers born to a demon father and an angel mother, are Nephilim – the only ones who can stop Mundus thanks to the fusion of both angel and demon powers. While the relationship between Dante and Vigil may have hit their peak in Devil May Cry 3, this new spin in the reboot creates characters that are far more relatable.
While the story may be far more grounded than previous attempts, that isn’t to say it has become tame in this edition. The rivers run red with demon blood as Dante uncovers his hidden past and fights the entire army of hellish demons on his quest to stop Mundus. This is still the same insane Devil May Cry you fell in love with all those years ago, it’s just made the jump from daytime soap opera to multi-million dollar blockbuster.
Story will only take you so far, and the heart and soul of DmC is within the combat. Ninja Theory have proven once again that they are the masters when it comes to hack and slash gameplay, with a combat system that is varied and deep, flowing like the rivers of demon blood you will leave in your wake.
Dante has three forms in which he can defeat his enemies – human form has him swinging his sword with grace, backed up by his trusty dual pistols to dispatch his foes. His demon form summons slow, powerful attacks that can rip through metal shields like butter and smash the faces of giants with ease, while his angel form grants him quick attacks that can easily deal with a large number of demons when surrounded. The player can switch between these forms seamlessly during combat with the press of a button, meaning Dante can effectively use every form of attack in the same combo until he runs out of enemies. It’s deeply satisfying to rack up your combo and to watch the devastating results unfold as you superbly chain your abilities together one by one.
As a result of a more focused story, DmC leaves behind the all too familiar backtracking that plagued the series since launch, propelling the player forward onto the next revelation or boss battle. It may feel a little restrictive at first to long-time fans of the series, but overall it creates a far more rewarding adventure. There are plenty of secret rooms and chambers to explore at different moments, giving players a reason to come back for a second playthrough to discover all the secrets they missed.
The further you delve into the demonic world, the more weapons and abilities become available to you. Each skill and weapon can be upgraded several times, arming Dante with devastating combo moves which go further into creating one of the deepest combo systems I’ve ever seen in an action game of this nature. Learning how to juggle your enemies with your angel form weapons, switching to your guns to keep the dream alive and finishing them off with a devastating demonic combo is the heart and soul of DmC, and damn is it ever so wonderful.
Fluid combat is only half the battle, and DmC is intent on throwing you into a gauntlet of enemies throughout the game. It seems every ten minutes a new hellish creature shows up to test your mettle, and learning how to deal with hordes of varied enemies becomes a dangerous dance through thorns. Using a demonic attack to smash the shield of one enemy, while using a grappling-hook like attack to pull down a demonic cherub to ground level and then unleashing a swirling attack of gunfire becomes the bread and butter of the experience.
However, for all this over-the-top action, DmC does have a number of downfalls that mar the experience. Boss fights, for one, are uninspired happenings that are as forgettable as they are stagnant. They lack any true excitement, innovation or worth, which is largely disappointing due to the fantastic enemy design present throughout the rest of the game.
While the story is one of the major hooks during the early moments of the game, it loses steam towards the end, and peters out with a finale that is questionable at best. This strong start but a weak finish left me wanting just a little more magic as the credits were rolling down the screen.
What perks does the PC version hold over its console counterpart? A silky smooth 60fps for a start, not to mention HD textures along with your standard V-Sync, shadow, and anti-aliasing options. The only downfall here are the controls; while you can play with the keyboard and mouse, you will get a far better experience if you can use a gamepad.
DmC – Devil May Cry is close to being the perfect reboot, coming out of the gate with the strongest story the series has ever offered. Ninja Theory has combined a robust combat and upgrade system with some of the most breathtaking combat and combos you’re likely to find in gaming, and smart level design that propels the gamer forward. While the boss fights may be uninspired and the story begins to fall apart at the end, DmCis a commendable effort to kick off 2013, and sets a standard for the series moving forward.
- Robust combat and upgrade system
- Best story the series has ever offered
- Smart level design with great set pieces
- Boss fights are uninspired
- Story peters out towards the end
- Focus on story provides a more linear experience