DMC Demo - Preliminary thoughts

Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

Devil May Cry

So this might be cool.

So, that new Devil May Cry demo dropped on XBL today. Since I'm a big old fan of the games past, and I'm on holidays and bored and want something to do, I decided to write some thoughts about it. I really like it, although I've only played it once and there seem to be some control aspects I need to get used to.

Something about the controls feels ... off. Or maybe just different. I'm not totally sure. The basic move set feels oddly limited, even if you actually have a lot of options. First off, as far as I could tell, there's no lock-on. Which means that there's no Stinger, which was THE DMC move for me, and they've placed launchers and dodges on separate buttons. (This is based off memories of DMC3.) Maybe it's limited because it's a demo, and I couldn't upgrade anything, but that means no styles, no advanced moves, and no attacks to close gaps. It makes Dante's movements seem really limited, and I constantly found myself trying to surge forward and instead just slicing air.

Those additional options, however, come in "modifiers" that let you use other weapons than your sword. using the two triggers, you can switch between an area-attacking angel scythe with the left, and a heavy-hitting demon axe with the right. These can also be used to pull yourself towards enemies, or bring them to you. It's all done on the fly, so you depending on which you hold down or let off, you can do quite a bit quite quickly. These were all neat, and I actually find more effective than carrying weapons you need to swap out at shrines. The problem was that I'd constantly lose track of which weapon I was using, and be using attacks which were not at all effective in my situation. There were more than a few times I tried to fire my guns and started whipping this thing about, so I looked like a crazy person trying to tame these weird mannequin creatures. Also pretty annoying was being forced to attack an enemy with a specific weapon, which was almost always red. I don't know about you, but I don't like having to solely use a heavy weapon, so requiring me to use it is a rotten thing to do.

I'm not a fan of how demons look, but I never was ever, so whatever.

Also, a trend I found earlier this year has re-emerged: the existence of Nephilim. Remember how in Diablo III you were a nephilim? Remember how in Darksiders II you were a nephalem (different spellings, apparently)? Well, in DMC, you're apparently another one of these pesky angel-demon hybrids. I'm not going to say it's lazy or well-worn, because all of these games have been in development a while and couldn't have predicted each other. I'd just say that there should be a break from it soon, maybe. Yes, part of video games is that you're meant to be special, but I would not be sad to not see this idea for a while.

Overall, though, I enjoyed my first time through. I think it looks really nice, and I enjoy the style of it. The demons seem a bit out of place, but they always have in DMC games, so I don't mind that. I thought the 'The city itself is trying to kill you!' effects were neat, and looked kind of amazing in spots, especially the church. And the combat, although recognisably different, feels very similar to the past. You can hit attack attack attack, or attack pause attack attack attack, and what you see is similar to past DMC's. In fact, a lot feels like very specific nods. One cutscene shows a sawn-off shotgun. You collect Red Orbs. All that sort of thing. The rest is kind of too early to judge. One point is that it doesn't feel deliberate like many Japanese games in terms of dialogue. Everything seems to progress very naturally, with appropriate (systemically, anyway, not necessarily what's said) responses.

This guy? Maybe a brother to Dante. Who can say?

Would I recommend trying it? Hard to say. since I've only played it once. I'd only say that it's worth playing if you're fairly sure you'll pick it up and you want to get used to the controls, which do feel strikingly different. Otherwise, if you're apathetic or hostile to DMC, then don't bother. In fact, I suggest going back and playing DMC3 since that game is great. Or DMC4 if you're crazy like me and like it a lot.

If this sounds off-kilter, it's because I was distracted by kittens. Meow meow.

#1 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

Devil May Cry

So this might be cool.

So, that new Devil May Cry demo dropped on XBL today. Since I'm a big old fan of the games past, and I'm on holidays and bored and want something to do, I decided to write some thoughts about it. I really like it, although I've only played it once and there seem to be some control aspects I need to get used to.

Something about the controls feels ... off. Or maybe just different. I'm not totally sure. The basic move set feels oddly limited, even if you actually have a lot of options. First off, as far as I could tell, there's no lock-on. Which means that there's no Stinger, which was THE DMC move for me, and they've placed launchers and dodges on separate buttons. (This is based off memories of DMC3.) Maybe it's limited because it's a demo, and I couldn't upgrade anything, but that means no styles, no advanced moves, and no attacks to close gaps. It makes Dante's movements seem really limited, and I constantly found myself trying to surge forward and instead just slicing air.

Those additional options, however, come in "modifiers" that let you use other weapons than your sword. using the two triggers, you can switch between an area-attacking angel scythe with the left, and a heavy-hitting demon axe with the right. These can also be used to pull yourself towards enemies, or bring them to you. It's all done on the fly, so you depending on which you hold down or let off, you can do quite a bit quite quickly. These were all neat, and I actually find more effective than carrying weapons you need to swap out at shrines. The problem was that I'd constantly lose track of which weapon I was using, and be using attacks which were not at all effective in my situation. There were more than a few times I tried to fire my guns and started whipping this thing about, so I looked like a crazy person trying to tame these weird mannequin creatures. Also pretty annoying was being forced to attack an enemy with a specific weapon, which was almost always red. I don't know about you, but I don't like having to solely use a heavy weapon, so requiring me to use it is a rotten thing to do.

I'm not a fan of how demons look, but I never was ever, so whatever.

Also, a trend I found earlier this year has re-emerged: the existence of Nephilim. Remember how in Diablo III you were a nephilim? Remember how in Darksiders II you were a nephalem (different spellings, apparently)? Well, in DMC, you're apparently another one of these pesky angel-demon hybrids. I'm not going to say it's lazy or well-worn, because all of these games have been in development a while and couldn't have predicted each other. I'd just say that there should be a break from it soon, maybe. Yes, part of video games is that you're meant to be special, but I would not be sad to not see this idea for a while.

Overall, though, I enjoyed my first time through. I think it looks really nice, and I enjoy the style of it. The demons seem a bit out of place, but they always have in DMC games, so I don't mind that. I thought the 'The city itself is trying to kill you!' effects were neat, and looked kind of amazing in spots, especially the church. And the combat, although recognisably different, feels very similar to the past. You can hit attack attack attack, or attack pause attack attack attack, and what you see is similar to past DMC's. In fact, a lot feels like very specific nods. One cutscene shows a sawn-off shotgun. You collect Red Orbs. All that sort of thing. The rest is kind of too early to judge. One point is that it doesn't feel deliberate like many Japanese games in terms of dialogue. Everything seems to progress very naturally, with appropriate (systemically, anyway, not necessarily what's said) responses.

This guy? Maybe a brother to Dante. Who can say?

Would I recommend trying it? Hard to say. since I've only played it once. I'd only say that it's worth playing if you're fairly sure you'll pick it up and you want to get used to the controls, which do feel strikingly different. Otherwise, if you're apathetic or hostile to DMC, then don't bother. In fact, I suggest going back and playing DMC3 since that game is great. Or DMC4 if you're crazy like me and like it a lot.

If this sounds off-kilter, it's because I was distracted by kittens. Meow meow.

#2 Posted by Quarters (1704 posts) -

Played it last night, and it totally seemed like a DMC game. I don't mean that as an insult. After all the freaking out over them ruining the series, it seems like a worthy heir to the series. I'm especially curious to see how the story will end up turning out.

#3 Posted by hedfone (1751 posts) -

Forward forward Y/Triangle does a stinger, and from there if you keep tapping it you can do a million stab. I found this out by accident.

#4 Posted by punkxblaze (2985 posts) -

I hope people are aware there is a movelist if you pause the game. The controls threw me off at first, and it took me several minutes to get the hang of the angel/demon switches and the grappling mechanics, but once I did it felt all the part like a DMC game. Just, a different DMC game as opposed to rehashing DMC3's mechanics, which worked so well for 4.

#5 Posted by RecSpec (3816 posts) -

I was surprised how much it felt like Devil May Cry, I think after the first encounter on I was getting A and S rank combos with ease. 
That's a double edged sword though, the combat is great, but the damn platforming in DMC always rubbed me the wrong way.

#6 Posted by Enigma777 (6073 posts) -

It plays awfully close to Heavenly Sword and that's not a good thing.

#7 Posted by TeflonBilly (4713 posts) -

@punkxblaze said:

I hope people are aware there is a movelist if you pause the game. The controls threw me off at first, and it took me several minutes to get the hang of the angel/demon switches and the grappling mechanics, but once I did it felt all the part like a DMC game. Just, a different DMC game as opposed to rehashing DMC3's mechanics, which worked so well for 4.

I didn't mind DMC4 other than that halfway through the game it decided TO REHASH ITSELF! Sure you were playing with the infinitely cooler Dante than Nero, but that is some lazy ass development.

@Enigma777 said:

It plays awfully close to Heavenly Sword and that's not a good thing.

As someone who played through Heavenly Sword over the course of a weekend a few weeks ago, this is pretty far off the mark. Heavenly Sword's stupid blocking mechanic and animation priority when trying to dish out combos were the weakest part of taht sustem and is non-existant in DmC. Sure it doesn't seem to have the depth of a Bayonetta or DMC3, but the combat was intriguing enough to put it above other character action games that are high profile like the God Of Wars, Castlevania: Lord Of Shadows and Darksiders games.

#8 Posted by Enigma777 (6073 posts) -
@TeflonBilly: I'm referring particularly to the modifiers. Really not a fan of those. 
#9 Posted by TeflonBilly (4713 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

@TeflonBilly: I'm referring particularly to the modifiers. Really not a fan of those.

Ah, gotcha. Yes, those ARE vestiges of Heavenly Sword, but I kinda like them. Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow did a variation of that with their magic system working as modifiers and I thought that was pretty fun. Then again, that game was very divisive about how elegant the systems worked.

#10 Posted by Enigma777 (6073 posts) -
@TeflonBilly: A  little off-topic, but since you mentioned it, the problem with LoS's system was that you had almost no incentive to use anything but white magic, especially on the higher difficulties, and that made the entire system useless. An easy fix would be to have the orbs automatically fill up both meters, instead of selecting which one to fill. That would have also freed a button that could have been sorely used for something else (like activating the boots). 
 
But i'm pretty excited about what they do in LoS2. Really can't wait for that game!
#11 Posted by Vashyron (204 posts) -

I highly recommend doing a playthrough on Son of Sparda difficulty. It mixes up some of the enemy fights, includes a couple new enemies, iirc, new enemy tactics, and just tougher in general.

#12 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

@Vashyron said:

I highly recommend doing a playthrough on Son of Sparda difficulty. It mixes up some of the enemy fights, includes a couple new enemies, iirc, new enemy tactics, and just tougher in general.

Ah, great. I was going to dive in straight away, but I had other things to do.

@punkxblaze said:

I hope people are aware there is a movelist if you pause the game.

I wasn't aware, although I did have a half-hearted look around. I'll give it another look soon.

Just, a different DMC game as opposed to rehashing DMC3's mechanics, which worked so well for 4.

This is kind of what I was hoping for, and it does seem really neat. I had the unusual experience of playing 4 before 3, and ended up sinking 120+ hours into it somehow, but it manages to toe the line between being a proper DMC game and being something pretty unique.

#13 Posted by Sanious (793 posts) -

@Vashyron: Definitely keep playing SoS over and over trying to get better at it. My main problem is the flying demon girls and the chainsaw guys. Best thing to do with the chainsaw guys is to keep them in the air as quick and as much as possible, it's easier said than done with the mixture of enemies, though. I know you can shoot the wings off of the demon girls, but it takes a little while and they're usually mixed with a lot of other enemies.

Although a little frustrating, I really enjoy playing this demo on the harder difficulty. And for the most part I don't think my fuck ups are the games fault and are mine.

Also I am not having a hard time getting beyond these fights, I am just having a hard time getting a good ranking off of them.

#14 Posted by BoOzak (922 posts) -

I know this is a problem everyone's brought up but I really wish this game had a lock-on system. I found it hard to see enemies in the enviroment because of the ridiculous bloom effects and also found the pistols kind of problematic at times when there were multiple targets bunched together. It also helped give you a better sense of your surroundings as it shifted and reorientated the camera towards the nearest target.

It's definately better than Heavenly Sword (not saying much) but it doesnt feel quite as fast or fluid as DMC3. Also I'm not a big fan of the style, but I can see why they changed it and if the gameplay turns out alright it shouldnt detract too much from my enjoyment of it.

With this, Revengeance, Anarchy Reigns & Bayonetta 2 next year should be pretty awesome for character action fans.

#15 Posted by Catolf (2653 posts) -

Having a lot of fun with this demo, i wanna play it a little more before i get to anything harder.

@RPGee said:

Also, a trend I found earlier this year has re-emerged: the existence of Nephilim. Remember how in Diablo III you were a nephilim? Remember how in Darksiders II you were a nephalem (different spellings, apparently)? Well, in DMC, you're apparently another one of these pesky angel-demon hybrids. I'm not going to say it's lazy or well-worn, because all of these games have been in development a while and couldn't have predicted each other. I'd just say that there should be a break from it soon, maybe. Yes, part of video games is that you're meant to be special, but I would not be sad to not see this idea for a while.

Also, in all fairness, before Dante was what.. a half human half demon..? and we seen a shit ton of those too. And considering the story line of the previous games, at least this way they have something more to work with leaning toward either side.

#16 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

@Catolf said:

Also, in all fairness, before Dante was what.. a half human half demon..? and we seen a shit ton of those too. And considering the story line of the previous games, at least this way they have something more to work with leaning toward either side.

I do realise, and it's a pretty petty complaint, all things told. I also found the half-human conceit kind of dumb in the first games anyway. It just feels like a trend that I would be comfortable not seeing again for a while. I agree, it does play better into the fiction and makes the combat make more sense, but it's almost becoming one of those buzzwords I can't stand like YOLO.

2012: Year of the Bow, the Nephilim, and the Consequential Decision in a Linear Story.

Also, I'm kind of disappointed that Mundus looks like a dude, and not some giant hulking demon-thing. A minor quibble, though, considering cameras are in disguise.

#17 Posted by Catolf (2653 posts) -

@RPGee said:

@Catolf said:

Also, in all fairness, before Dante was what.. a half human half demon..? and we seen a shit ton of those too. And considering the story line of the previous games, at least this way they have something more to work with leaning toward either side.


Also, I'm kind of disappointed that Mundus looks like a dude, and not some giant hulking demon-thing. A minor quibble, though, considering cameras are in disguise.

Yeah I'm with you there, I'm sure it's some disguise to some grotesque looking hulking looking demon, but i wish when they showed him he looked like that demon.

#18 Posted by Steparnicus (32 posts) -

I just played the demo, and as a fan of character action games I think the feel is most certainly 'off'.

The combat seems really clunky to me, since there is a distinct delay on all the attacks which is a really, really bad thing. I can see there are nods to the originals with how they are trying to implement combos and such, but it just doesn't feel snappy enough. I just don't feel in control of what's going on. The lack of a lock on contributes to this a lot for me, and seems kind of game breaking. The weapon modifiers seem like they should open up a lot of options, but in a strange way they make the combat more limited in that they seem very tailored towards specific use.

In all fairness I was going into the game thinking that there's a good chance I wouldn't like it, so maybe that's skewed my opinion somewhat, but I really did want it to surprise me and it didn't.

There are some positives to be drawn from it though, the art and general visual design is fantastic. I really like the Limbo world effects and the city 'attacking' you. It looks super slick and really well executed. I also like the touches they've made with the story in trying to rationalise the world of DMC, the kind of Orwell-esque hacktivist angle seems genuinely interesting. But unfortunately these are meaningless in a character action game if the combat isn't there.

I honestly think Ninja Theory are a good studio, they just don't seem suited to this kind of game. I would really love to see them work to their strengths, and make a really narrative focused game. That way they can make something that has the looks and the story that enhances the overall game, they would make a great Heavy Rain style game I think.

So yeah, I appreciate what they've tried to do, but I'm gonna pass on this one for now. If I see some crazy combo videos that completely change my mind on it then I'll give it a chance, but based on my first impressions I really don't think its going to lend itself well to that kind of play. And based on my reaction to this compared to my first reaction to the Bayonetta demo when that first came out, I know a good character action game when I play one.

#19 Edited by Mikey2D (218 posts) -

Having just played the game - it seems 'Okay', but here in lies the problem - it should be better than 'okay'.

My biggest concern is just how abrasive Dante is now - he just comes across as an aggorant dick. Throughout the original series of Devil May Cry, sure Dante was cocky - but he pulled it off well. He had great come backs and threw clever insults at Demons. In the boss sequence of this demo we are treated to a back and forth of;

"F*ck you."

"F*ck you!"

"F*ck yoooou!"

Seriously? It's such unimaginative and underwhelming writing that it's cause for concern that the rest of the dialouge will fall short of the mark. I want to care about the characters and their story - I just felt no connection to Dante here. I'm hopeful that the story is atleast better paced in the full game as currently in this demo - the pacing is a complete mess. I'm sure they're just setting the scene by going over the plot points that we go through in more detail in the game - least i hope so.

All character action games have a bar to meet combat wise in my opinion - and that bar is held very firmly by Bayonetta. DMC doesn't reach that bar. I might pop in Devil May Cry 3 or 4 and get a fresher idea in my mind of the older games and see how this new one compares - but for now - its alright but its not rocking my world.

This is a game I MIGHT buy - but it certainly won't be a day one purchase for me.

#20 Posted by HellBound (1117 posts) -

I want my DMC 2 ending.

#21 Posted by JCGamer (663 posts) -
@TeflonBilly "I didn't mind DMC4 other than that halfway through the game it decided TO REHASH ITSELF! Sure you were playing with the infinitely cooler Dante than Nero, but that is some lazy ass development.
"

Yea. That is how I felt about 4 as well. The problem was that I was have a really good time playing as Nero for the first half of the game. Then you switch over to Dante and all of a sudden had several different move sets and needed to relearn the game at a pretty high difficulty. Because of that-I just wasn't having much fun and never played the game again. Hate it when game just sort of changes on you mid-way.

Back to the original subject-the demo really impressed me. I thought the PS3 version (haven't tried the 360) ran a bit jerky. DMC was a smooth 60 as I recall and this is not that. Either way-will probably pick the game up at some point.

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