DMC Devil May Cry Review.

Posted by MachoFantastico (4889 posts) -

Since its announcement DMC Devil May Cry hasn't been short on controversy. Long time fans of the hack and slash franchise have called foul, shouting from metaphorical rooftops (internet forums) in disgust and anger because Capcom went and changed their blonde haired hero and the world around him. Passing the torch onto a new developer in Ninja Theory, this revision of Dante and his demon filled world is one that on first inspection rides close to being tacky, tasteless and even laughable. All I have to tell you is that angels and demons are fighting a bloody war and you should get where I'm coming from here. However in the hands of the folks who brought us Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, one of my favourite games of 2010, I had a little more faith in Ninja Theory to deliver.

The new 'short haired' Dante, likes one-liners and killing demons with style.

But of course, how about the gameplay? Well say what you will about the storytelling in past Devil May Cry games, one area in which it as most excelled is in gameplay, and this 2013 reboot is no different. DMC offers various levels of challenge, whilst never feeling unfair or cheap. Stylish whilst at the same time having depth that rewards experience and skill, the combat in DMC is some of the best I've experienced in the genre. Even when I was getting my backside kicked in it was always in the knowledge that I wasn't honing my skills to the situation or the button masher in me was taking over, so my mistakes were paid for in a game over screen once I'd run out of golden skulls, the item which allows Dante to jump back into the fight. This makes the outrage and controversy surrounding DMC even more baffling, because deep down this still feels like Devil May Cry, where skill and expertise is rewarded.

DMC is one hell of a stylish hack and slash.

It's also one hell of a stylish game, with some of the most memorable boss encounters I've witness in a good while. On the default difficulty (of which there are numerous to choose from) the boss battles aren't particularly challenging but the way in which they are presented are something to be seen. I won't go spoiling anything here, but it's obvious the folks at Ninja Theory wanted to leave their mark when they created the world in which Dante, Vergil and new sidekick Kat inhabit. From the over the top set pieces to the powerful mix of it's dubstep and heavy metal soundtrack, it's a style that will rub some the wrong way, but will most certainly provide some memorable moments.

The new Dante is... well how do I put it, a bit of an arse at first. It's not exactly the fault of the story but more to do with his silly one liners and cocky attitude. But having had no attachment to the 'old' Dante it's hard to know how well he'll eventually go down with long time fans. That said, Ninja Theory have a proven track record of being able to create characters with emotion and (dare I say) depth, in this Dante isn't such an awful guy. As the story develops you start to see Ninja Theory's trademark motion capture work at... well work. From the slight facial movements to a level of realism that only real actors can pull off, the story of DMC Devil May Cry ends up being more memorable than it has any right to be on paper.

Combat is where DMC truly excels, challenging yet fair.

Style is key to getting the most from skills and upgrades for Dante and his many angelic and demonic weaponry, the stylish the kill the more points you'll receive to upgrade various areas of Dante's arsenal. This has been rooted in the DMC formula since the original and it's a system that still works wonders. There's a simple thrill from completing some awesome 20+ hit combo and it looks so damn good. Experimenting with weapons and new skills is one of the real highlights and Ninja Theory were nice enough to throw in a training mode to help you hone your skills. All in all it's a combat system that holds up through multiple playthroughs, one which had me excitedly anticipating the next combat scenario throughout it's 8-10 hour long campaign.

Speaking of multiple playthroughs there's a number of higher difficulties on offer for the hardcore and boy, are those levels difficult. Thankfully Dante enters with the weapons and skills you've unlocked from previous playthroughs, so it's basically a new game plus. It's here where long time fans, skilled at all areas of hacking and of slashing will excel and face a real challenge, honestly it'll take time and practice for me to beat even the next level up from the default difficulty. But it's great to see that Ninja Theory have taken to heart one of the key appeals of the DMC franchise, the level of difficulty and challenge that made it a fan favourite in the first place. Just be prepared for one hell of a challenge. Though now I've gone and said that, I'm sure I'll have people telling me 'it's not difficult, not like the old Devil May Cry games, you're just crap at games'. Fair enough!

If this indeed is the new direction for the DMC franchise, than I for one look forward to what we see next from Ninja Theory and Capcom. While long time fans will never be truly satisfied, they and Capcom must know or realise that spitting out the same old DMC game every year or two simply doesn't work and in that regard this 2013 reboot has been able to attract an audience of gamers who might have entirely ignored it if it were just another same old DMC game. Ninja Theory haven't just gave the franchise the care and attention it deserves, but have been able to leave their very own mark with style and some of the best combat in gaming today. Give it a chance, who knows, you might love it.

Thanks for reading.

#1 Posted by MachoFantastico (4889 posts) -

Since its announcement DMC Devil May Cry hasn't been short on controversy. Long time fans of the hack and slash franchise have called foul, shouting from metaphorical rooftops (internet forums) in disgust and anger because Capcom went and changed their blonde haired hero and the world around him. Passing the torch onto a new developer in Ninja Theory, this revision of Dante and his demon filled world is one that on first inspection rides close to being tacky, tasteless and even laughable. All I have to tell you is that angels and demons are fighting a bloody war and you should get where I'm coming from here. However in the hands of the folks who brought us Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, one of my favourite games of 2010, I had a little more faith in Ninja Theory to deliver.

The new 'short haired' Dante, likes one-liners and killing demons with style.

But of course, how about the gameplay? Well say what you will about the storytelling in past Devil May Cry games, one area in which it as most excelled is in gameplay, and this 2013 reboot is no different. DMC offers various levels of challenge, whilst never feeling unfair or cheap. Stylish whilst at the same time having depth that rewards experience and skill, the combat in DMC is some of the best I've experienced in the genre. Even when I was getting my backside kicked in it was always in the knowledge that I wasn't honing my skills to the situation or the button masher in me was taking over, so my mistakes were paid for in a game over screen once I'd run out of golden skulls, the item which allows Dante to jump back into the fight. This makes the outrage and controversy surrounding DMC even more baffling, because deep down this still feels like Devil May Cry, where skill and expertise is rewarded.

DMC is one hell of a stylish hack and slash.

It's also one hell of a stylish game, with some of the most memorable boss encounters I've witness in a good while. On the default difficulty (of which there are numerous to choose from) the boss battles aren't particularly challenging but the way in which they are presented are something to be seen. I won't go spoiling anything here, but it's obvious the folks at Ninja Theory wanted to leave their mark when they created the world in which Dante, Vergil and new sidekick Kat inhabit. From the over the top set pieces to the powerful mix of it's dubstep and heavy metal soundtrack, it's a style that will rub some the wrong way, but will most certainly provide some memorable moments.

The new Dante is... well how do I put it, a bit of an arse at first. It's not exactly the fault of the story but more to do with his silly one liners and cocky attitude. But having had no attachment to the 'old' Dante it's hard to know how well he'll eventually go down with long time fans. That said, Ninja Theory have a proven track record of being able to create characters with emotion and (dare I say) depth, in this Dante isn't such an awful guy. As the story develops you start to see Ninja Theory's trademark motion capture work at... well work. From the slight facial movements to a level of realism that only real actors can pull off, the story of DMC Devil May Cry ends up being more memorable than it has any right to be on paper.

Combat is where DMC truly excels, challenging yet fair.

Style is key to getting the most from skills and upgrades for Dante and his many angelic and demonic weaponry, the stylish the kill the more points you'll receive to upgrade various areas of Dante's arsenal. This has been rooted in the DMC formula since the original and it's a system that still works wonders. There's a simple thrill from completing some awesome 20+ hit combo and it looks so damn good. Experimenting with weapons and new skills is one of the real highlights and Ninja Theory were nice enough to throw in a training mode to help you hone your skills. All in all it's a combat system that holds up through multiple playthroughs, one which had me excitedly anticipating the next combat scenario throughout it's 8-10 hour long campaign.

Speaking of multiple playthroughs there's a number of higher difficulties on offer for the hardcore and boy, are those levels difficult. Thankfully Dante enters with the weapons and skills you've unlocked from previous playthroughs, so it's basically a new game plus. It's here where long time fans, skilled at all areas of hacking and of slashing will excel and face a real challenge, honestly it'll take time and practice for me to beat even the next level up from the default difficulty. But it's great to see that Ninja Theory have taken to heart one of the key appeals of the DMC franchise, the level of difficulty and challenge that made it a fan favourite in the first place. Just be prepared for one hell of a challenge. Though now I've gone and said that, I'm sure I'll have people telling me 'it's not difficult, not like the old Devil May Cry games, you're just crap at games'. Fair enough!

If this indeed is the new direction for the DMC franchise, than I for one look forward to what we see next from Ninja Theory and Capcom. While long time fans will never be truly satisfied, they and Capcom must know or realise that spitting out the same old DMC game every year or two simply doesn't work and in that regard this 2013 reboot has been able to attract an audience of gamers who might have entirely ignored it if it were just another same old DMC game. Ninja Theory haven't just gave the franchise the care and attention it deserves, but have been able to leave their very own mark with style and some of the best combat in gaming today. Give it a chance, who knows, you might love it.

Thanks for reading.

#2 Posted by Undeadpool (4996 posts) -

Great review. Haven't finished the game yet, but having an absolute blast with it so far.

#3 Edited by pandorasbox (303 posts) -

I loved this game up until the last few missions. The obvious plot twist at the end with Virgil and the lack of presentation during the last two boss fights really destroyed my overall perspective of the game. Had i reviewed this game, i would have knocked off a star simply for having a very lackluster final couple of chapters. I do agree that this game is fantastic, though, and this review is mostly well on point. Good job.

#4 Edited by MariachiMacabre (7099 posts) -

Good review. I really need to play this.

#5 Posted by TobbRobb (4840 posts) -

While I think this is an awesome game "4/5 for me". And I generally agree with what you say. I think you are misunderstanding the old games and what drew people to them. And I can confirm that DmC fails greatly on the stuff that "hardcore" DMC players would want. Which is mostly about how the higher levels of difficulty and the style systems are built. It just plain doesn't reward creative play enough and difficulty got confused with "pain in the ass" at some point during development. Some story beats during missions and the bosses hamper replayability quite a bit as well. Especially the mission 19 one...

Oh well, kickass game, I'll play it again at some point. And good job on a well written review. I enjoyed it.

#6 Posted by sub_o (913 posts) -

I just finished the game. And I hate to say this, but DmC is made simpler to appeal to mainstream. I'm not a DmC fan, nor skilled in these type of games, but I'm having lot of fun with DmC. Combo is not hard to chain, and SSS is easy to attain, even for player like me.

It's a really fun game, but sadly because of the DMC name attached to it, many original fans decided to steer away from it. If it were an original IP, then it might have a better financial success.

Anyway, I finished the game in normal (Demon hunter) difficulty, and it's not hard. Even the final 2 bosses doesn't seem that hard to me. Son of Sparda mode is different beast though, they throw you number of end game enemies in large quantity early in the game.

#7 Posted by MildMolasses (3229 posts) -

Nice review, but I don't understand why this was posted as a blog instead of a user review?

#8 Edited by GetEveryone (4458 posts) -

@sub_o: The combat isn't simplistic, though. There is a really decent juggle mechanic at work; there are cancels; you have to make use of parries and dodges. It's a pretty robust system, and (I know you haven't done this, so excuse me for latching onto your comment) disregarding it based on some perceived inferiority to the older games, when certain aspects are arguably better (there's the weight factor that previous iterations were lacking), is mindless.

If you have a look at a site like Shoryuken, the forums are full of foaming-at-the-mouth 'fans' applauding DmC's commercial failure. Why?

The story is a mixed-bag, sure, but the levels and environments are varied enough that they're nearly always interesting, the platforming has a grace that I hadn't expected and, as mentioned, the combat has been over-hauled (to its benefit, I'd argue).

Given they've patched the scoring system (SSS now degrades and there are fewer exploits to build style-meter as quickly), the only thing that holds this back from being the best package in the entire series is the inclusion of those fucking elementals.

I am most definitely on the DmC defense-force.

#9 Edited by RVonE (4699 posts) -

@geteveryone said:

@sub_o: The combat isn't simplistic, though. There is a really decent juggle mechanic at work; there are cancels; you have to make use of parries and dodges. It's a pretty robust system, and (I know you haven't done this, so excuse me for latching onto your comment) disregarding it based on some perceived inferiority to the older games, when certain aspects are arguably better (there's the weight factor that previous iterations were lacking), is mindless.

If you have a look at a site like Shoryuken, the forums are full of foaming-at-the-mouth 'fans' applauding DmC's commercial failure. Why?

The story is a mixed-bag, sure, but the levels and environments are varied enough that they're nearly always interesting, the platforming has a grace that I hadn't expected and, as mentioned, the combat has been over-hauled (to its benefit, I'd argue).

Given they've patched the scoring system (SSS now degrades and there are fewer exploits to build style-meter as quickly), the only thing that holds this back from being the best package in the entire series is the inclusion of those fucking elementals.

I am most definitely on the DmC defense-force.

I guess, in part, it breaks down to how you feel about the changes they made to the combat system. You are right, the combat isn't simplistic, at all. I think it offers good variety and was able to have some fun with it. At the same time, it isn't up to the demanding and exact levels of DMC4 and Bayonetta--two games marking the high point of the genre when it comes to the combat. Depending on who you are, that might or might not be what you're looking for. I definitely fall into the DMC4 and Bayonetta camp.

#10 Posted by sub_o (913 posts) -

@sub_o: The combat isn't simplistic, though. There is a really decent juggle mechanic at work; there are cancels; you have to make use of parries and dodges. It's a pretty robust system, and (I know you haven't done this, so excuse me for latching onto your comment) disregarding it based on some perceived inferiority to the older games, when certain aspects are arguably better (there's the weight factor that previous iterations were lacking), is mindless.

If you have a look at a site like Shoryuken, the forums are full of foaming-at-the-mouth 'fans' applauding DmC's commercial failure. Why?

The story is a mixed-bag, sure, but the levels and environments are varied enough that they're nearly always interesting, the platforming has a grace that I hadn't expected and, as mentioned, the combat has been over-hauled (to its benefit, I'd argue).

Given they've patched the scoring system (SSS now degrades and there are fewer exploits to build style-meter as quickly), the only thing that holds this back from being the best package in the entire series is the inclusion of those fucking elementals.

I am most definitely on the DmC defense-force.

Don't get me wrong, DmC's combat is not simplistic, but bit simplified compared to its predecessor (e.g. DMC 3). Again, I'm really enjoying DmC, and would like to see Ninja Theory to do a sequel or other IP with similar combat system,

#11 Edited by GetEveryone (4458 posts) -

@rvone said:

@geteveryone said:

@sub_o: The combat isn't simplistic, though. There is a really decent juggle mechanic at work; there are cancels; you have to make use of parries and dodges. It's a pretty robust system, and (I know you haven't done this, so excuse me for latching onto your comment) disregarding it based on some perceived inferiority to the older games, when certain aspects are arguably better (there's the weight factor that previous iterations were lacking), is mindless.

If you have a look at a site like Shoryuken, the forums are full of foaming-at-the-mouth 'fans' applauding DmC's commercial failure. Why?

The story is a mixed-bag, sure, but the levels and environments are varied enough that they're nearly always interesting, the platforming has a grace that I hadn't expected and, as mentioned, the combat has been over-hauled (to its benefit, I'd argue).

Given they've patched the scoring system (SSS now degrades and there are fewer exploits to build style-meter as quickly), the only thing that holds this back from being the best package in the entire series is the inclusion of those fucking elementals.

I am most definitely on the DmC defense-force.

I guess, in part, it breaks down to how you feel about the changes they made to the combat system. You are right, the combat isn't simplistic, at all. I think it offers good variety and was able to have some fun with it. At the same time, it isn't up to the demanding and exact levels of DMC4 and Bayonetta--two games marking the high point of the genre when it comes to the combat. Depending on who you are, that might or might not be what you're looking for. I definitely fall into the DMC4 and Bayonetta camp.

I'm probably coming from a strange place when approaching this game, to be honest.

I've got a strong understanding of fighting game mechanics (thanks to a really unhealthy obsession with SF4), which translates pretty well over to the action genre. I played the older DMCs when I was probably too young to appreciate the intricacies of the combat, though, and I also never really gave Bayonetta enough of a chance, despite it being a best-in-field situation.

Could you expand a little on where/how the combat has actually changed, and why it isn't up to par compared to those games? I doubt I'll ever revisit DMC3/4 at this point, but Bayonetta has been high on my list of 'actually play this fucking thing' for a long time now.

#12 Edited by RVonE (4699 posts) -

@geteveryone: The combat systems in DMC4 and Bayonetta are more frame-specific for the execution of moves and chaining them into combos. Same goes for countering and dodging. Or, to put it in another way, DmC is more forgiving when it comes to the timing of combos, counters and dodges--DmC seems a tad more "loose". This more exact or unforgiving character of DMC4 and Bayonetta is also present in the reward systems of those games. In those games it is harder to get SS ranks for style while at the same time it is more difficult to maintain a high style rank throughout combat. In effect, this demands of the player a more versatile and "creative" approach to combat scenarios. I'm not so sure about the difference in penalty for missing particular chains of moves or getting hit; I'd have to go back and check.

Another difference is the lock-on system. DmC uses a sort of semi-auto lock-on that targets Dante's nearest enemy (I'm not yet sure if this is also related to Dante's field of view), which makes combat fast and, in a sense, more intuitive when fighting multiple enemies at the same time. Bayonetta uses both semi-auto and manual lock-on. For advanced play, utilizing the manual lock-on mid-combo to switch between enemies allowing for more extensive chains of moves and racking up more points for style. In DmC's approach, you can, of course, switch between enemies by pushing the stick in the direction of the enemy you want to engage, but the trade-off for its more intuitive mode of play is a feel of "looseness" that isn't as exact as Bayonetta's manual lock-on system. At the same time, in Bayonetta there is a lot to keep track of if you want to fully utilize the lock-on mechanism and it can become a bit unwieldy on the controller (lock-on is on the right bumper or R1 button on the controller while dodge is on the right trigger or R2 button).

There are a couple of other differences--like the number of attack options--but this is what I can think of on the spot. To be clear, I'm not sure that it is right to say that Bayonetta's combat is "deeper" but it is different and more demanding (and, perhaps, less accessible at first). I had a blast playing DmC--even though some of the story stuff fell a little flat for me--but it isn't a game I'll keep coming back to. So far, I have unlocked all moves except the charge moves (I forget what they're called) of Ebony and Ivory and Rebellion. I have yet to play the hardest difficulty mode but, while the enemies do get a lot tougher, I have not had the feeling that I discovered levels of finesse that I did find in Bayonetta.

One word of warning in case you decide to try out Bayonetta, that game is kinda dumb with QTE and the checkpointing can be a little rough for current standards (something DmC did a very good job at, by the way).

A small wall of text, because you asked for it. :)

#13 Edited by GetEveryone (4458 posts) -

@rvone: Haha, no that's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for going into such detail.

So really, it comes down to small tweaks that, while not fundamentally redesigning the gameplay, serve to make it a more welcoming experience. I actually think SF4 is probably a relatively apt comparison, in that much was made about the frame-window for reversals and counters when it was first released.

I will say that when I played DMC4 a few years ago, it seemed that there were far more cancels available, so that was one of the few changes that very quickly stood out (besides the soft lock-on, which is absolutely infuriating and nearly broken in the Vergil fight).

Flicking through my Steam games earlier I noticed that I actually have 3 and 4 in my collection - totally forgot I bought the DmC Pack. I installed them both last night, so looking forward to jumping in and seeing how they hold up compared the the new game (after patching 3 into oblivion).

Thanks again for spending the time going through that, dude. Appreciated.

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