Review: DmC Devil May Cry's stylish action and stunning visuals make for the perfect reboot
Remember when the new Dante was shown for the first time and everyone freaked out? Yea, forget all that. Even if you only play the old Devil May Cry games and refuse to play anything else, you'll have a tough time denying that DmC: Devil May Cry is an amazing reboot that surpasses the older games in the series in many ways. At its core, DmC is a fresh retelling and retooling of Dante's origin story, but it still has the same soul and passion of the other games -- even if that soul is part angel-part demon.
Part of the work that Ninja Theory has done is streamlining the game. Everything is more slick -- Dante is slick, his way with women is slick, the menus are slick and his fighting is slick. That being said, it's not quite the challenge that other Devil May Cry games have been. On normal setting, it's quite easy to get SSS rankings on every mission. Part of that can be credited to a combat system that is easy to control but takes time to master. The combat is the stylish combat that Devil May Cry is known for, just fine-tuned. Switching from sword to guns to angelic weapons (fast, area attacks) to demonic weapons (slow, powerful attacks) -- all while throwing in some grappling moves -- is easy to pull off. Stringing together combos for high points feels rewarding. The key to the combat is variety of the combos and switching in-between weapons, which are mostly handled by holding down the two triggers. The only issues I've encountered have to do with targeting, which requires clicking in the left analog stick on flying enemies. There's no dedicated lock-on button -- something that would've been a welcome edition. It feels clumsy in an otherwise perfect control scheme, but it's not something that I couldn't deal with. Also, the camera offered no issues at all, something that fast-paced action games sometimes suffer from.
When Dante isn't busy disposing of foes in limbo, he's traversing a world that's equally as fun. The platforming is taken up a notch over other action games, and it requires you to be on your toes. Most of the game takes place in limbo where the world is constantly changing around you. When rubble, streets and platforms aren't being manipulated by Dante's grappling abilities, demons are ripping open holes in the ground, extending jumps for you while streets break apart. All of this takes place in a visually stunning environment. Ninja Theory has done some of the best lighting effects I've seen in recent history. The way the world looks, and the character models in it, make for a game that's very easy on the eyes. While the visuals can feel a bit overwhelming at first, especially with the fire effects in the opening level, you quickly become accustomed to it and appreciate the effort.
The story and characters have depth and feel new even though it's essentially retelling an origin story, as reboots are known to do. The characters feel fresh -- especially Dante. I might be in the minority, but I love the new look. His personality is brash and cocky, yet it fits perfectly for the story and character developed here. And in a country where debt is discussed on daily basis and the objectivity of media is called into question, I found subtle commentary on that throughout the game. Like I said, even though it's the same characters and events have changed a bit, this is a Devil May Cry game at its core, and a damn fine one at that.
As much as I love the game, boss fights are pretty simple to figure out; they rely mostly on patterns and dodging. I never felt worried that I would lose to a boss, and some of the platforming offered more of a challenge than the bosses. Also, while the enemy AI is really good, it's easy to fall into a habit of the same weapons and combos when facing off against a familiar combination of enemies. In other words, once you know how to beat a group of enemies, there's little challenge other than getting to SSS rank.
That said, with more unlockable difficulty modes available, the challenge in the game is waiting there. There's also a training mode to just bash on enemies. You can always try out a move before you purchase it, right from the menu, which is a handy option. It's really helpful to those players who are diving into DmC for the first time and aren't familiar with the arsenal of attacks that Dante is equipped with.
DmC: Devil May Cry is a reboot done right. It keeps the soul of the Devil May Cry series and changes enough to make it fresh. The way they've changed Dante and revisited events is handled perfectly, so hardcore fans and newcomers alike should enjoy it. The stylish action, platforming, visuals, story and voice acting make for an experience that can be summed up as "a ton of fun." If you feel like something is missing in the video game world, DmC will take away that feeling.