|System: Xbox 360, PS3*|
|Dev: Team Ninja|
|Release: January 15, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Devil May Cry has always been synonymous with badass, anime-style beat 'em up gameplay. When the first installment came out, it immediately started selling itself on statements like, "You can launch an enemy into the air and then shoot it full of bullets." Dante became the iconic trench-coat-wearing action hero, whose flair for style and ability to shrug off being impaled were essentially the center points of his character. Dante could be eating a pizza one minute and killing demons the next. It was all just routine for him.
Then we got our first previews of DmC: Devil May Cry, the new reboot by Capcom and Ninja Theory, and Devil May Cry fans were up in arms about Dante's new emo hairstyle. They were afraid that the Dante that they knew and loved was dead, and that he was being replaced by some sort of darker and grittier facsimile that wouldn't nearly be as satisfying as the original. Well, I am here to say that the Devil May Cry fans can rest easy because Dante hasn't really changed that much at all. In fact, DmC stays true to the classic Devil May Cry formula in more ways than just the main character's personality. Sure, it may look different, but this game has Devil May Cry written all over it.
At first glance, the story does seem a bit more serious than the plots of Devil May Cry's past entries. This is a tale of Limbo City, its unseen demonic overlords being combatted by a resistance lead by Nephilim (half-angels/half-demons). This definitely has a darker tone to it than Dante's original "demon killer for hire" storyline.
However, Dante hasn't changed much at all. He's still incredibly full of himself, spouting one-liners and cockily laughing in the face of demons who tower stories above him. At times, this new Dante can be abrasive, acting more like an outright jerk than the old Dante, but he still has that Dante "feel" about him.
Kat is less overtly sexualized than Dante's other companions were, but she still plays "straight man" to contrast with Dante's overall recklessness. Dante's enemies are still haughty demons that think they are far more powerful than they actually are. In fact, the character that seems to have gotten the biggest overhaul is Vergil, who has traded in his silent warrior persona for a more straight-man persona. As a Vergil fan myself, this was slightly disappointing at first, but Vergil's new personality actually fits in just fine with the story. The story itself plays more on modern day issues, making some interesting political and social parodies. It's a new direction, but it still has the same old over-the-top Devil May Cry feel.
Of course, Devil May Cry was never simply about the story; it was about the action. And DmC has action by the demonic truckfull. On the surface, the game uses the same action formula we have seen a hundred times before. You have two main attack buttons, a ranged attack button, and a jump button, in addition to simple commands that let you block and dodge (though you'll likely ignore those for most of the game). So the game is, at least, very easy to jump into.
However, this is not a game that you can just mash your way through. Dante is certainly more powerful than all of his enemies, that's for sure, but only if you put a bit of thought into your ruthless slaughter. The last hit of Dante's basic sword combo is powerful, but it actually has a very long cooldown, leaving him open to assaults from other enemies all around him. So you actually have to include launchers, weapon switches, and other abilities in the middle of your combo in order to deal the most damage in the safest way possible.
Dante has always been known for being a master of all weapons, and the same holds true for his DmC incarnation. In addition to his standard gigantic broadsword and strutted Ebony and Ivory pistols, Dante will also gain a holy scythe and a demonic axe. Unlike other DMC titles, which would have you entering menus to switch between your weapons, these weapons can be pulled out at any time by holding a shoulder button allowing you to switch between them mid-combo. Osiris, the holy scythe, is fast and has huge range, while Arbiter, the axe, is slow, short ranged, and powerful. Certain enemies are weak to certain weapons and resist others, giving the game a bit of an Ikaruga or Outland feel. These weapons also change Dante's ranged attacks, turning them into long-ranged grapples that pull enemies and objects toward him.
And that's just the beginning! Dante will earn several new abilities as he goes through the game collecting orbs and defeating bosses, and he'll even pick up several new weapons. Dante's Devil Trigger survives in DmC intact as well, although his Devil Trigger form, once again, is entirely new.
The core gameplay of DmC is pretty much exactly the same as every other Devil May Cry title. Dante is placed in a stage and tasked to get to the end where there inevitably will be an awesome boss battle. In the middle, you'll find groups of enemies to dispatch, short story segments, and light platforming.
Actually, the platforming is more like puzzle-platforming in this game, tasking you with using your weapons and abilities to make a path forward. This is a good thing because the game's controls don't really suit the "jump on this platform without overshooting it" style of platforming. In the rare instances where this is necessary, you will find yourself misjudging distances here and there, but the platforming segments never last long enough to break the pacing of the game. In fact, the "kill all the enemies to move on" segments tend to break the game's pacing more than anything, but you can always make your own fun in these segments by trying to work your way up to an SSS combo. Players who like exploration will also be able to go off the beaten path to find hidden collectibles in out-of-the way places as well.