SSS Ranking Achieved
The Devil May Cry series has been on the shelf for almost 5 years since last hitting current generation consoles with Devil May Cry 4. However, after the extended break, Dante and his stylish demon slice-and-dicing have returned– more badass than ever before. DmC: Devil May Cry is a reimagining of the franchise, featuring a new Dante and a complete overall of the previous origins of the character. Though fans of the series may be hesitant by the major changes, I’m pleased to announce those worries can be put at ease. With some of the most creative level designs I have experienced, a narrative that rivals Devil May Cry 3 and variations to the combat formula that work exceptionally well; Ninja Theory have been able to pull off an SSS Style Ranking that new and old fans will be satisfied with.
The major change to Dante’s origin is the fact he is no longer half-human and half-demon, but now a hybrid of demon and angel. His kind is known as Nephilim. For those who are unaware, Dante has a twin brother named Vergil, who is in charge of a vigilante organization called ‘The Order’. When a mysterious woman named Kat saves Dante from a demon attack we are introduced to Vergil, who informs us of the demon-god Mundus. Mundus is not only controlling the world through his demon scum, but he also killed Dante’s angel mother Eva and imprisoned his demon father Sparda for a lifetime of punishment.
The narrative allows us to discover Dante as a brash and selfish young man with no direction in his life, until he discovers who he is and is able to evolve into a respectable hero for mankind. This journey actually allows our connection with Dante to be the best the series has seen, creating a strong relationship with Vergil and Kat as the story continues. This intimate journey of discovery brought on some emotional moments, that the original series couldn’t execute.
The narrative itself is very well paced, with some memorable locations and missions scattered throughout. The world itself feels grounded in a modern society compared to the original series, with modern elements like the media, internet and product advertisements playing vital plot-points in the story. By including modern day technology, it provided many scenarios for a variety of interesting environments, that gave the narrative a grander scale.
The main story itself can be completed in about 7 hours on a normal difficulty setting, but the game offers players a real challenge with four more difficulty levels above that. Not only that, but secret missions are back and they require you to discover the door key to the mission before undertaking. This actually encourages exploration quite well, as lost souls are also scattered around the environments in hard to reach places. You will always feel the urge to go against the game’s direction, since you never know what collectibles you may discover.
The main feature of any Devil May Cry game is the combat and that is one feature that hasn’t changed, though some of the combat mechanics have been altered. You don’t change weapons by clicking a button anymore, you now hold down the corresponding L2/R2 to change into Angel/Demon mode. Both modes grant you the ability to use certain Demonic or Angelic weaponry, both, however, have their pros and cons. Angel weapons grant you a fast-paced attack but lack power, while Demon Mode allows for some slow moving weapons that pack a tonne of damage.
This new system is fluid and works well. Though the change may take fans of the series by surprise, they will be happy with the results. Dante has access to 5 melee focussed weapons at one time, along with 3 gun varieties. Combining all these weapons into one combo, alongside Dante’s trusty sword Rebellion and his pistols named Ebony and Ivory, is the best way to gain an amazing amount of style points.
Style points are more important than ever. Proud souls are gone and your style points are now your best friend when upgrading. These points unlock new abilities for Dante, more moves for weapons and can increase their attack power. Though the upgrade menu has a slight lag issue, it is an easy to understand system and you will always know how your upgrades will work before purchasing due to the small preview of each upgrade.
Ninja Theory also decided that the lock-on method from previous Devil May Cry games was to be altered in DmC. We are given an auto-lock system instead. For the most part it works very well, but there are times when the auto-lock will not allow the intricacy of the manual system. Blue orbs are also missing, in-turn replaced by Cross Fragments working in the same nature, but our favourite Red orbs are still used for purchasing consumable items. Overall the game allows an easier adventure, with Yellow Orbs costing very little to begin with and falling off environments barely setting you back. Though this was only normal difficulty, some of the hardcore players who loved the brutality of previous titles might be inclined to turn the difficulty up from the start.
One of DmC’s best features are the wacked out environments– some of these are completely bonkers for all the right reasons. DmC incorporated the world of Limbo into gameplay and it looks gorgeous. Limbo is the demonworld that mirrors our world, but adds nasty demons and a world that crumbles around you. This idea of demons controlling the world around Dante is excellent. When walls are closing in and environments are falling beneath your feet it can’t be matched. One of the absolute standouts is a nightclub that, through the power of limbo, turns into an Amplitude-style-gameshow-Mortal-Kombat-arena. Sounds crazy? Well it definitely is and you will love every single minute of it. The environments are so well designed and many months must have been spent getting these detailed locations exactly right. It’s impressive to comprehend.
Alongside the brilliant environments is a soundtrack that will entertain, created by Noisia and Combichrist. Fans will be happy to know the heavy metal nature of the series is back in spades, with the addition of some addictive electronic tracks that will be stuck in your head hours after playing.
Even the cinematic’s within DmC look extremely beautiful. All the characters have their own unique style and the actors have done and great job giving each character their own personality, with some brilliant voice acting. Even though swearing might be a little excessive, especially for the first half of the game, it doesn’t take away from the great written dialog and storytelling. Problem is, even though the cut scenes can look brilliant, some in particular look downright bad. In a handful of sections characters would be talking without their facial definition completely loaded. I also had issues with the shadow effects during cut scenes. It was almost as if the shadow effects on characters faces were outlining the pixels on display, it just didn’t look good at some points.
DmC also offers an online component similar to Devil May Cry 4. Basically after each level your final mission score is tallied and uploaded to the online leaderboards. They are fairly barebones, but work smoothly. Comparing your mission scores to friends and showing your worldwide ranking on levels, is a cool idea and will keep me coming back in hopes of keeping that top spot amongst my PSN friends. Also for those of you who enjoy stats, DmC keeps a robust stats collection and also updates you during the game on your progress towards Trophies, which is a nice touch. One other problem I encountered was the load times from mission completion to the actual mission summary screens, I encountered times where these loads could take up to a minute. With Trophy popping sounds going off, but not showing until the game loaded, it was almost in a semi-frozen state.
Re-imagining a series is no easy task, in some cases it may actually put off the original fans of the series and remove what made people love the franchise in the first place. Dante is a beloved character and worries about the attitude changes have turned out to be unjust, his evolution throughout the game makes DmC: Devil May Cry the most realized version of the character yet. DmC: Devil May Cry is a stylized journey, environments are out of this world crazy (But so good) and Dante’s journey throughout the game is one I couldn’t put the controller down to miss.
DmC: Devil May Cry is a great deal of fun and to those die-hard fans of the series still unsure, give the game a try, I think you will be happy with the end result and it would be a shame to miss out on something great. If not, give the game a big middle finger followed by some colourful language, because Dante wouldn’t have it any other way.
Excellent level design
Lock-on is missed
Final Score: 9.0/10
Jamie Briggs loved the $### out of DmC and he also manages Analog Addiction where you can find all his latest reviews, interviews and features and also like them on Facebook. Also follow his daily life on Twitter @AnalogAddiction and their videos on YouTube.