Would DmC Devil May Cry have been better off with a different name?
Simply put, DmC Devil May Cry was a blast. I had a ton of fun playing it and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
As someone new to the Devil May Cry franchise, I was intrigued by the game's story, combo counter, and fast-paced gameplay. It's production value and overall presentation, from the story and gameplay to the introduction of new enemies, was top quality. As its own title, DmC Devil May Cry is a quality game.
The problem is, DmC Devil May Cry is not its own title. It's Ninja Theory's take on a Capcom's long-standing franchise. It's a complete reboot of the popular series with all-new perspectives on characters, story, and even gameplay technique to a certain degree. Here in lies the problem.
Ninja Theory's reboot never really had a fair chance to win over fans of the original series because fans didn't want it. From the second we saw the "new" Dante, Devil May Cry fans were up in arms.
"He looks like a whiney emo kid!" they said.
"They got rid of his signature white hair!" they complained.
The Dante that fans had grown to love had been reimagined, and they didn't like that. It doesn't matter that Ninja Theory threw in a little gag joke to pay homage to Dante's white hair -- fans (not all, but some) saw it as disrespectful.
It's unfortunate that there are some that, no matter how good the game actually is, will refuse to give DmC Devil May Cry a chance. Which brings me to my main question: would Capcom have been better off releasing it under a new title? Let me explain...
Imagine for a second that the game Ninja Theory crafted with this version of DmC was relatively the same with a few subtle changes.
Let's start with the main character and imagine his name is something different then what we're accustomed to. Would you have minded the look of Dante had you not already been so accustomed to the white hair Dante of old? The new Dante, when given a chance, is actually pretty cool. He's a sexy, arrogant, badass that wields multiple types of weapons to dispose of his foes. And yes, I called the new Dante sexy, I'm not ashamed.
If this character remained the exact same, but existed in any other universe and had gone by any other name, I'm sure people would love him.
Now imagine judging the gameplay without already having played past Devil May Cry games. As I mentioned, I'm new to the series so I really can't comment as to how it stacks up to the older games. I hear it's not as challenging, but is that really something to slam the game for? For fans of the older series, maybe. But for us newcomers, the gameplay of NT's version is A LOT of fun.
The combo counter -- as easy as some claim it was to achieve SSS -- was actually somewhat difficult for me. Even on the game's Demon Hunter mode I struggled to reach the top rank of SSS. I'm sure it came easier for the veterans who complain Ninja Theory simplified the combat, but for me this was a brand new system that I really enjoyed. As I continued to play the game I noticed my combos becoming more complicated which I take as a sense of improvement.
Once again, on its own merit, DmC Devil May Cry's combat is fast-paced, fluid, and entertaining. Plus, with the various types of weapons you acquire throughout the game, it never really gets repetitive. And it's not like the weapons mean nothing; certain enemies require you to use specific weapons and there is a level of strategy that does come into play -- especially when you take into account the combo system for those of you who care about the ratings. It's a heck of a system, albeit one borrowed from the series of old.
Story-wise, DmC didn't disappoint. Once again, I can't compare, but should I really have to? If DmC Devil May Cry had any other name the story would've been fantastic. Angels, demons, fighting for humanity -- these are all concepts we've seen in past games. In that sense, Ninja Theory didn't reinvent the wheel. But they really didn't have to. Instead, they retold a story based on their interpretation. And it was entertaining and emotional. I enjoyed Ninja Theory's take on each character, but is that because I don't know them from the past games. They were all fresh and new to me. What more could you ask for?
As a reboot, do you really want every single story element and character to be the exact same? And that's just it. Outside of the character names, general story elements, and basic gameplay mechanics (although is the combo counter in the original series really anything innovative), everything about DmC Devil May Cry was new -- at least to me. So would a new name really be that out of question?
My point is, on it's own ground -- which is what this game should be judged on -- DmC Devil May Cry holds its own. Living up to the expectations of past fanboys was a fight Ninja Theory was never going to win because, unfortunately, a lot of gamers are stuck in their ways.
It does make me wonder, though, if these fans would be more open to the game if everything remained the same except the title. I was open to the game because I wasn't pre-exposed to the series before this. Everything was brand new to me and I loved it. Isn't that the point of a reboot?
Ninja Theory has successfully turned me into a Devil May Cry fan. I had never had interest in the series prior to this game and now I'm actually thinking of going back and playing the originals -- if only to see how they compare in terms of story and gameplay. And I ask you once again, isn't that the point of a reboot?
I can't yet join the argument over which is better, but what I can say is that DmC Devil May Cry, on its own merit, is a lot of fun and a heck of a game. Other critics seem to agree as it has a generally favorite reception on Metacritic. It's user score is an abysmal score, however. For that reason, I question if gamers would be more open to Ninja Theory's DmC if it didn't have to live up to the expectations of an already established brand.