DmC Devil May Cry review
DmC Devil May Cry reviewT3
DmC: Devil May Cry puts a more Western sheen on this Japanese hack 'n slash franchise, but the combat remains as rock solid as ever
DmC Devil May Cry review
- Sublime combat
- Beautiful world
- Best DMC story so far...
- ... which isn't saying much
- Platforming can be a pain
- Dante is a douchebag
DmC Devil May Cry is the third game produced by Ninja Theory, and ahead of its release both it and the Cambridge-based developer have received a right kicking from fans of the franchise.
The reason for this is that while Ninja Theory is now renowned throughout the industry for creating games that look absolutely lovely, it’s pretty much accepted that the two games it’s punched out so far – Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey To The West - are somewhat lacking in the gameplay department.
This track-record has concerned the DMC faithful, as Capcom’s hack ‘n slash series pretty much lives and dies on its combat mechanics. Ever since the first sublime instalment, Devil May Cry games have been judged not only on the depth and fluidity of their control systems, but also on their ability to make Dante – the franchise’s arrogant, achingly hip protagonist – look 100 per cent cool 100 per cent of the time.
This is why, out of all the games so far, Devil May Cry 2 is looked at as the runt of the litter. It’s also why, when images of a new, more emo-looking Dante surfaced on the web, the DMC fanbase went nuclear.
DmC Devil May Cry: Gameplay
As it turns out, the fans had very little to worry about. Ninja Theory worked closely with Capcom on the game’s combat mechanics and the result is one of the most satisfying hack ‘n slash adventures of recent memory.
Players start off the game armed only with Dante’s sword, Rebellion, and are slowly introduced to the game’s combo system over a series of tutorial fights. Then Dante’s pair of guns, Ebony & Ivory, are tossed into the mix and DmC begins its gradual process of filling out both the player’s move and attack arsenal, as well as its combat lists.
Over the first couple of hours, Rebellion and Ebony & Ivory are joined by Osiris, a scythe used for quick attack combos, and Arbiter, a heavy hammer used in slower, but far more damaging attacks. Players can switch quite fluidly between all four weapons by flicking the left and right trigger, hammering the X button (for guns) and timing attacks on the Y and B buttons (light and heavy attacks).
On top of that, they soon get a glide to augment Dante’s double jump and more weapons they can use by tapping up, left and right on the D-pad. Every enemy and breakable object they smash gives Dante XP, which they can then use to buy items such as health stars or resurrection orbs in the in-game store.
Alongside that, DmC features a series of collectibles – in the form of souls fixed to walls, which players can slash up to free for XP – and challenge rooms they can complete for health bar increases, which unlocked by picking up keys hidden throughout the different levels.
There’s also and upgrade meter the player fills by racking up carnage, which they use to unlock new moves and attacks in the combo list for each weapon the game offers them.
DmC Devil May Cry: Combat
The controls allow players to switch between weapons very easily on the fly and they’re encouraged to so, as varying attacks pumps up weapon damage and awards them points.
So, while spamming two or three attacks is effective in the long run, it doesn’t dispatch a foe as quickly as, for example, slicing them into the air with Osiris, briefly suspending them there with Ebony & Ivory, leaping up and slashing at them with Rebellion, and then smashing them into a hundred pieces with Arbiter. It also doesn't look as cool, which is pretty much the name of the game in any DMC game.
The game doesn't make it easy for the player. Naturally, the first few levels offer up little besides cannon fodder, but as the game progresses, enemies become sharper, more varied and more powerful.
When levels start tossing foot soldiers at the player alongside enemies with forcefields and ranged attacks, or enemies that can only be hurt by a certain type of weapon, things turn really nasty.
DmC Devil May Cry: Presentation
So far, so DMC; however, Ninja Theory has brought a Western cultural stamp to the game in both its presentation and its story. The world of DmC Devil May Cry is split between the mundane human world, and a dimension known as Limbo, where everything takes on a more colourful, yet hellish veneer.
In Limbo, burnt-black lamp posts buckle and contort as the player approaches them, buildings break off and fold around them when they're attacked and every surface is crawling with organic corruption that shimmers with heat.
Limbo is a Gothic-Punk imagining of the mundane that hurls abuse at Dante in the form of graffiti and attacks him with armies of demons.
The mundane world is equally terrifying; demons are no longer snarling, feral creatures here, rather they're the amoral so-and-so's who brought about the banking crisis. They also control the majority humans through righ wing media and poisoned soda pop.
Those humans who do fight back are alternative fringe dwellers; in this world hacker gangs and street artists are on the side of angels. As sinister as all of this sounds, it looks utterly gorgeous, and Dante, along with his fashionable allies look good enough to eat.
DmC Devil May Cry: Story and characters
It's just a pity the story and characters let the proceedings down a bit. While Virgil - the enigmatic leader of the hacker gang, The Order - and Cat, a spray-can-and-stencil-toting witch look swoon-worthy, they're pretty one-note, and the game's antagonists aren't much better.
Dante, for his part, comes across as an arrogant douchebag for the most part, even if he is eminently likable.The story of Dante's origin and his subsequent fight against the demons is probably the isn't really much more than a skeleton to hang fights and boss battles off of, although, as has been said, the locations it's set in are compelling and wondrous to behold.
DmC Devil May Cry: Verdict
Story has never been the DMC franchise's main draw. Players sink hours into this game unlock combos, pwn the hell out of every enemy and boss they face and laud it over their mates on the leaderboards, and in those depatrments, DmC: Devil May Cry aquits itself admirably.
Dante may be a bit of a prat, but controlling him is as fun as ever and DmC: Devil Cry remains faithful to the series' most important requirements: it plays like a dream and it looks so damn cool.
DmC Devil May Cry release date: 15 January 2013
DmC Devil May Cry price: From £25.01 on PC
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