DMC: Devil May Cry
Going back and looking up articles about this reboot of one of the best loved series of console generations passed was confusing at best. I’ve never played a previous version of this Capcom IP so I would count myself as an observer as hundreds of fans flipped out that their beloved series was being given a new coat of paint. Gone was the long white hair in favour of a darker more brooding look who is allowed to use adult language and behave in an adult way with swearing and everything. Those fans continued in their whine-a-thon even after the release despite almost universal high scores, many pointing out that the re-skin worked very well and gave the franchise the kick up the bum that it needed.
In I come a couple of years later to play through this palate cleanser after the poo flavoured soufflé that was MGS4 and I loved it all. Well almost.
Dante is now a 20 ish old looking guy who spends his time sleeping around and getting drunk because he’s a good looking half demon half angel Nephilim and presumably that’s all that they do. I’m not sure how he funds this lifestyle or pays for his trailer to be parked on a popular sea side dock in a major city but I’ll let it slide for now. He is then found by demons and the fighting begins. You’re given many combat options in order to build combos and rack up high scores. Defeating enemies seems to be almost an after thought considering the replayability of the game comes from playing levels again once and beating your previous score/rank after you’ve opened up new abilities. The enemies in the game aren’t difficult to beat but do require you to pay attention to which weapon you’re using in order to get passed them quickly.
Weapons are mostly split in angelic (Quick, weak crowd busters) or demonic (Slow, powerful targeted attacks). Changing between them is easy and the game introduces them slowly enough for you to adapt. Platforming is also an essential part of the game in both story and for exploration. Chains which pull something towards you or pull you towards them mixed with brief air dashes and double jumps mean you can cover a lot of ground without once touching it. All parts feel satisfying and work consistently.
Mechanically I had a lot of fun in the various combat arenas and platforming sections. I’d even try and max out my combo meter once I felt confident and when you’re flying between enemies at ease, air juggling and cutting through enemies, I defy you to not feel like a badass.
The design of the game is outstanding. Levels look completely different from each other the entire way through the game. Some levels have you working through a huge gothic mansion. Digital, futuristic levels follow along with Neon lit contemporary design. The level designers worked their asses off on this game and deserve a huge amount of credit.
Story wise, I actually enjoyed the restraint that Ninja Theory used when rewriting the lore of DMC. Considering the whole Angel, Demon parentage angel they could have quite easily fallen into Kojima territory but the cut scenes were to the point and drove the story along without making you wait too long to get back to killing some more demons. The motion capture is done well and the voice acting is convincing to the point that my wife actually commented on it. The main characters have depth and actually exhibit a noticeable change in their personality by the end of the game. Tellingly, a game in which the lead is supposed to be a womaniser manages to treat the female characters with a lot more respect than a lot of others. I’ll even let the cleavage and tiny shorts heavy wardrobe choices for Kat slide as Dante also displays a hefty amount of skin during his time on screen.
The story even managed to get some social commentary into the story which I was not expecting. While it wasn’t the most subtle and they could have actually just held up a sign in the back ground saying “THIS EVIL FIZZY DRINK IS COKE” or “THIS MEDIA COMPANY IS NEWSCORP/FOX NEWS” I always enjoy when people take aim at corporations that deserve it. When I’m then given the chance to kill a digital version of Rupert Murdoch/ Bill O’Reilly, it will always improve my mood. I would love to see more of this in games. The conservative wing of the media will never accept video games as an equal so we may as well point out their hypocrisy’s.
DMC is not perfect and the main reason for me is that while the cut scenes involving story are well done, the boss fight writer decided that Dante would speak only in Schwarzenegger sound bites that often times had nothing to do with what was happening at the point in the game. “You’re all mixed up” after an enemy is killed by a huge ventilation unit a prime example. I know he’s supposed to be cocky, but he just comes off as a douche during the boss battles when he’s perfectly likable the rest of the time.
You should play this game. If you held off due to the reinvention then brush that chip off your shoulder cause it’s denying you a super phun time.
Did you play through DMC? Let me know what you thought.
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