DmC Game Review
Since 2001, Devil May Cry’s lead character Dante has become known as one of the most badass characters in gaming with his white hair, cocking attitude, gun slinging and sword fighting skills, and being part demon. For the series reboot, Capcom gave the honor to the development studio Ninja Theory and what they produced has made many hardcore Devil May Cry fans pretty angry starting with Dante’s new look.
Gone are the white hair and red coat and cocky attitude. Instead now he looks like the lead singer for My Chemical Romance. Now fans of the series have been hating on this game solely because of the new art direction while mainstream critics have been praising it for the gameplay and combat.
I’m going to have to disagree with both here. I can’t say my experience with this game was a good one but a lot of this is opinion so let’s take a closer look.
The game takes place in Limbo City in a world that is secretly ruled by demons. Dante is just some punk who spends most of his time bar hopping, clubbing, getting in fights, and having casual sex. He is contacted by a young girl named Kat who explains to him about how the demons rule the world and he must help his long lost brother Virgil who is head of a mysterious group called The Order. Virgil reveals to Dante that they are Nephilim, half demon half angel, and needs his help to kill Mundus, the demon over lord who killed their parents and rules the world secretly through the unseen world of Limbo that exists between heaven and hell.
The story has a more contemporary feel than the previous games as it deals with shadowy internet groups, mass media, and evil corporations.
It even has a parody of Fox News complete with a Bill O’Riley type anchorman who becomes a boss later. The story has never really been a story point in Devil May Cry games but here I think they did a good enough job explaining the setting and having it make sense. It makes more sense than the setting of some of the other DMC games. This feels like an Americanized version of Devil May Cry. Take that as a good or bad thing.
But that’s not what all the fuss is about. The fuss is over ‘OMG WHAT DID THEY DO TO MY DANTE?!’ I’ll admit I was not keen on the new art direction but after watching some gameplay in trailers, I wanted to go into this with an open mind but Dante and Virgil are very different in this game. Aside from physical appearance, Dante is no longer a loud mouth wise cracker or nearly as cocky as he once was. He’s still cocky but it’s more subtle. Virgil is a good guy in this game and is nicer; I guess is the way to put it. He’s not a cold hearted, bitter about humanity, villain like he has been in the past, though he isn’t all that he appears to be. Mundus is in human form most of the game as an overweight, asshole, Wall Street Tycoon which is actually rather fitting. Kat is the main female character of the game that is a medium that can interact with Limbo. She’s cute but she’s nowhere near as awesome as Trish or Lady (Mary) from the previous games.
A lot of people have complained about Dante’s hair.
Ninja Theory seems to have taken note of this. There is a scene where a white wig blows by and lands on Dante’s head. He looks in a mirror and says ‘Not in a million years.’ Some might find this funny; others will see it as a slap in the face to fans. I will say if you’re really that bent out of shape about the hair, you should play it all the way through. I’ll leave it at that. The game is fairly short at around 10 hours with 20 missions that vary in length. Other than unlockable difficulties and items to collect, DmC doesn’t offer much in terms of replay value but is worth at least two play throughs.
This is where I really draw some issues with this game. Previous DMC games focused mainly on fighting demons and making your way through tight corridors with some awesome boss battles to look forward to. While combat is still a major focus, there is a lot of focus on the level designs and plat forming. Many of the levels require you to jump from platform to platform over huge empty voids. You do get lots of tools and moves to help you maneuver such as the angel and demon grapples that can help Dante swing around or pull objects to him and the angel boost that lets Dante fly forward briefly. It is essential that you master using these as navigating these levels get more challenging throughout the game. At times, it feels more like Bionic Commando more than Devil May Cry.
Sometimes it’s a little too challenging as it will force you into situations that you probably won’t be able to react to fast enough and just end up falling.
This doesn’t kill you but it does take some of your life away which leads to another issue: this game is pretty stingy with health item drops. In previous games, I could get through most of the levels without having to use any health items. Here I found myself stocking up and health items as much as I could and using them more than I wanted. You will die multiple times before reaching the end of the game. Actual in game health drops are rare so you need to do your best to avoid taking damage with is not nearly as easy as it sounds. I’ve heard people say that the dodge mechanic in combat makes it super easy to get through fights without a scratch. That is not what I experienced. I found myself getting hit even after making a dodge depending on the enemies.
The combat is the other major mechanic in the game and the one that most of the fans have come to love the games for. It has been retooled and works differently from the previous DMC games. At first, it takes some getting a hang of but once you have more moves, weapons, skills and such unlocked you can deliver some awesome combos in fights. You have angel arms and demon arms that you access by simply holding down the L or R trigger in combat and works better than switching between individual weapons like in previous titles. The weapons you get throughout the game are pretty cool and fun to use once you learn how.
The grapple maneuvers are very helpful with the problem of engaging enemies that are too far away.
It feels good to pull them over to you and beat the hell out of them. When you finish off a wave of enemies it slows down for a moment as you kill the last one and it looks pretty awesome. The shotgun is also extremely powerful in this game. Activating Devil Trigger is not as easy as it used to be. You have to mash down on both joy sticks to make it work and this isn’t always easy to do in the middle of combat. Also Dante’s hair turns white and he coat turns red when you do this. Ha. Cute. The boss fights in DmC are few but awesome. The fight with the Bill O’Riley wannabe and the witch in the night club make for some awesome battles and levels. Some of the other boss battles are not quite as good but respectable.
Sadly, there is one fatal flaw in the combat: NO LOCK SYSTEM. Unlike the previous games and other similar hack and slash games, there is no lock on feature when engaging enemies. This causes huge problems in fights especially when facing multiple enemies. Some enemies can only be attacked with certain weapons or at certain times. Without being able to lock on, I find myself missing or hitting the wrong enemy that I wanted. Plus the camera will often get turned a wrong way as you fight and you’ll end up taking a hit from something off screen. If I could lock on, the camera would be focused better and I wouldn’t have these issues. I don’t know what they were thinking. It doesn’t break the combat but it definitely doesn’t make it better than previous DMC games like the critics have been saying. I never noticed how much I used the lock system till playing this game.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND:
Visually, a lot of care went into the characters and environments of DmC. The levels are nicely designed and it’s cool to see them get twisted and distorted by demons as you progress through them. Despite the changes in characters, all the character models look good and are nicely animated. Only visual complaint I have really is the menu screens. They’re ugly. Other than that, it’s all good. The demons and bosses look horrifically disgusting and awesome. The voice acting is very well done as well. Actually, it’s better than in previous DMC games.
Instead of sounding like an anime, the voice actors in DmC actually sound like real people talking… for the most part.
The script the VAs have to work with is really hit and miss. The F word is peppered all over the dialogue along with other profanities you usually didn’t hear in the past games. Sometimes the over swearing works, other times it doesn’t. There are some funny lines in the game but it’s mainly because how cheesy or over the top they sound. The music is kicks ass in this game. It’s a mix of screamo metal and dub step fusion that works really well in getting you pumped for fights and makes you want to kick as much ass as possible. Softer tracks, however, barely standout and are just there.
Overall, DmC is an interesting reboot to a well loved franchise and naturally it made hardcore fans angry or disappointed. While I don’t think it’s an abomination like some fanboys call it, I will say I was over all disappointed in the game. Honestly, I just didn’t really have much fun playing it. The combat system did not feel as free flowing as in DMC3 or 4. The lack of a lock-on system seriously hurt the combat for me as it made what should have been easy fights frustrating.
I can forgive the new experimentation with art-style but when the core gameplay suffers, I can’t be as happy to as I was hoping to be about this game.
If you’re a hardcore fan of Devil May Cry, you’ve probably already played it and have your own opinions. If not, I highly recommend renting DmC. It’s not worth the $60 price tag. There is fan outcry for Platinum Games to take over for the next Devil May Cry game as the creator of the franchise is now with them (he made Bayonetta which put Platinum on the map). Ironically, Platinum’s next game is the Metal Gear Solid spin off. I’ll be reviewing that later next month.
- Visually Good
- Platforming and combat is creative
- Kick ass music
- NO LOCK SYSTEM
- Not everyone will be pleased with the new art direction
- Level designs get repetitive