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.
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.
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.