In 2010 Capcom announced that they would be rebooting the much loved Devil May Cry franchise and handing over the reins for the reboot to UK developer ‘Ninja Theory’ who at the time were fairly unknown. This led to a huge amount of trepidation amongst fans that were dealt a further blow when it was revealed that ‘Dante’ the protagonist of the series would also be given a serious makeover along with his brother ‘Vergil’. This eventually led to a hugely negative response to the new look and personality of Dante even to the point of fans pronouncing that they wouldn’t be buying the game for that reason alone. However, Ninja Theory stuck to their guns and DMC: Devil May Cry was released in January 2013 and seemingly slipped under the radar of many gamers. After playing through DMC I have to say that this is a serious shame as in my opinion it is one of the finest action adventure hack and slash games ever made.
For me DMC: Devil May Cry is an introduction into the series as it never really gripped me as something I’d be interested in playing during the height of its popularity with the 4 previous titles. As you can imagine this made it much easier to accept the changes that the reboot brought as I had never experienced anything else but I can of course completely understand how frustrating it can be when a beloved character is changed for the worse. Dante certainly isn’t the most likeable of characters and the comments stating that he had become a whiny, arrogant, emo, teenager were more than valid but seeing as this is the first game in the series and an introduction to the characters I think it works well; there is plenty of time for Dante to grow and mature in future sequels.
Players take on the role of Dante as he uses his powers and weaponry to fight against enemies and navigate the treacherous Limbo. Like previous games in the series, Dante can perform combos by attacking with his sword, Rebellion, and shooting with his twin pistols, Ebony and Ivory. New to the series are modifiers to Dante’s move set, known as Angel Mode and Devil Mode, activated by holding down one of the trigger buttons.
When in Angel mode, Dante’s sword attacks change to the Osiris, a speedy scythe type weapon, whilst Devil mode uses the slower but more powerful Arbiter. These modes also alter Dante’s mobility. Using Angel mode allows Dante to pull himself towards enemies and various points in each level, whilst Devil mode lets Dante pull enemies and objects towards him. Dante is also able to dash across large gaps in Angel mode. All of these moves can be used in conjunction with each other to perform massive combos, which are ranked based on the damage the player makes.
When enough power has been gathered, Dante can activate Devil Trigger mode, which slows down time around him and levitates enemies into the air, allowing him to perform stronger attacks. Like previous games, Dante can collect various types of souls which can be used to recover health, purchase items and upgrade Dante’s move set.
The combat is fast and furious and I found myself hugging my controller doing my best to keep the attack going. A complaint some people have had is that unlike previous DMC games it is now much easier to receive SSS ranks for battles but for me I found this to be a breath of fresh air and I do think this was designed to make it easier for newcomers like myself who may have struggled otherwise. The combos that can be created are highly satisfying and it’s seriously enjoyable mixing in all 8 of Dante’s weapons into one attack. Along the way you will encounter a huge amount of enemies; each unique and requiring its own strategy when going into battle which certainly adds difficulty to certain fights. Gameplay is tight and well crafted, if you die you’ll only have yourself to blame as the movements of Dante and the way in which he controls are highly responsive and personally I never suffered a single glitch or lag throughout; Ninja Theory did an amazing job.
The story takes place in Limbo City, a modern-day city secretly controlled by all-powerful demons, manipulating humanity through the comforts of life, with the demons themselves living in a parallel plane called ‘Limbo’. Living on the fringes of the brainwashed society is Dante, a young man at odds with the demons who constantly hunt him, and the civilian authorities they control. Dante is warned by a young woman named Kat that he is in danger. After being pulled into Limbo, Dante is guided through the Bellevue Pier’s carnival by Kat, who can see into Limbo with her psychic powers. After returning to the human dimension, Dante is asked to join Kat in heading back to speak with her boss.
Along the way, Kat explains that she is part of “The Order”, a rogue vigilante organization led by Vergil intent on exposing the demons and releasing the world from their control. Vergil tells Dante that with his help the Order can bring down the demons. Dante learns that he and Vergil are the children of Sparda and Eva. Vergil reveals that Sparda and Eva were demon and angel respectively and bore Dante and Vergil. Dante and Vergil are Nephilim capable of killing the cruel Demon King Mundus, Sparda’s former ally. Afraid of the Nephilim children, Mundus attacked the family and killed Eva. He then condemned Sparda to banishment and eternal torture after the former demon General spirited his sons to safety, wiped their memories for their own protection and gave each a sword (Rebellion for Dante, Yamato for Vergil). After this, Dante resolves to help Vergil bring down Mundus and his regime.
Personally I found the story to be really interesting and there is definitely a political message behind the idea that the masses are easily indoctrinated by the media. Not only that but it is revealed that a hugely popular soda drink is a creation by the demons which when drunk leads to people being more sceptical to believing what they’re told by the media. This leads to an awesome mission in which you must take down the huge, disgusting creature which produces the liquid; it seriously reminded me of the ‘Slurm’ drink from Futurama.
DMC is visually stunning and over the 20 mission long game you will encounter some of the most uniquely designed levels ever created; some of which will make you wonder if someone’s spiked your drink due to how crazy it can get. Environments twist, break and come apart around you as you progress and it’s seriously impressive to see; I can only imagine the time and difficulty that must have went into creating them. The art style is a feast for the eyes with the use of bright colours and heavy illumination used throughout the game, here’s some examples –
Sound wise DMC won’t let you down. The voice acting is at a very high level and the battles are accompanied by heavy metal and electronic music that just hits with perfect timing which adds a lot to the fun of the game. The replayability on this game is insane, there are 6 difficulty modes, 79 Upgradeable Combos/Abilities and a lot of collectibles to be found. If you have the dedication, this game offers days upon days of replay time and if you’re a completionist and want every achievement you’re going to have to work hard to complete this one as some of the higher difficulties show no mercy.
Finally, I couldn’t write a review of DMC without mentioning the tremendous boss battles. They are huge and their designs are amazing and clearly well thought out which leads to some of the best moments in the game. Unfortunately they each follow a set pattern of moves and once this is realised you will take them down with relative ease.
DMC: Devil May Cry is a stunning, fast paced, fun, uniquely designed, badass reboot to the beloved series and although it may not keep die hard fans happy in every department there is certainly enough there to see that Ninja Theory put their all into this and it really pays off. The game ends in a way that clearly sets up a sequel and although I never really managed to get into the previous games I certainly consider myself a fan now and will be anticipating what comes next. Go play this game if you haven’t yet, I’m certain you’ll come away feeling the same way and will understand why I consider DMC to be one of the top games of 2013 and the last generation.
DMC: Devil May Cry