Ninja Theory manages to make combat more accessible and kept focus on the difficulty and style the series is known for.
Never in the history of gaming in my lifetime have I seen the build up from announcement to release of a game be so powerfully torn, and if there is one thing I can accomplish with this piece, I hope it is to disprove the fears initially hyped building to release, and explain to you just what sort of game DmC is once you really sit down to play it for what it is, a brilliantly crafted action game that manages to do what many thought impossible.
From the moment the story begins with the opening credits you get a feel for where the game wants to take you. Rather or not you have played one or every Devil May Cry game up until now is irrelevant. Ninja Theory is at the helm this time, meaning we aren’t just getting the younger, and arguably, more likable Dante. We get what I can only call the most beautiful video game world i’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in an action game since Bayonetta, and between the two it’s a tough call. From an insane transformation from carnival on the pier, to Limbo skinned madhouse- to the later more flashy levels, including the greatest nightclub level in a game i’ve seen.
The worlds aren’t all going to go down in the history books. Some stick to the more basic formulas, primarily when Dante is in the living world. However the majority of the levels are insanely twisted visions brought to life, and all of them, no matter how complex looking, play fluidly, yet challenging on the “Nephlim” difficulty I played through at least. Many games struggle to achieve a balance between the more complex visions and gameplay that continues at the same pace as the rest of the game without feeling intrusive. Ninja theory should be awarded heavily for doing so, but with momentary cinematic bits drizzled in at predetermined points that often either rearrange the world around you, sometimes turning elements of it against you in unpredictable ways that really keep you thinking about what you’re doing at all times.
When it comes to true action games, I find it a tough argument to say anything but the original Devil May Cry really put the genre where it is today. Knowing this, it should be clear I do understand the loyalty to a franchise. Namely one so important to the medium as a whole, but trust me when I say that making a game a little more accessible while maintaining the ability for an optional challenge still delivers the same level of fun and addiction as always. I will register one complaint but it’s one I understand for pacing's sake, and that is weapons are only unlockable as you progress and don’t require saving up anything to acquire them. Again, this lends to the accessibility aspect, and can be forgiven when your enemies are tough enough. I have heard numerous discussions about people liking or disliking the combat system in DmC, but I can only say that for me it was a welcome layout, often lending well to keeping me focused on the gameplay. Combos are a bit more achievable here, but to make them enjoyable to the player, they offer some of the most visually diverse and least dull moves I’ve had the pleasure of staring at for extended periods. Sadly, I must admit that while the boss battles are some of the most beautiful in the genre, pushing the visual powers of whatever you’re playing on to really display their vision in living color, while often falling short of the challenge some similar games, and limits freedom for approaching each.
The story of Devil May Cry has never been one for a simple telling, but Ninja Theory starting over makes for a story that isn’t only heavily focused on modern times, but also putting the seriously over the top insanity that often took place in previous games cinematic sequences on the back-burner. This results in a seriously mind bending experience if you let it take hold, often assisted by the soundtrack that lends a heavy hand in the aspect of keeping DmC true to it’s ancestors by keeping it over the top and ridiculous as possible. Many will state they are afraid to play because it kills the things created by the original, but hear me when I say they simply allow them to make sense, and make you actually feel what Dante is feeling, which is something I don’t think any action game has accomplished.
The story is basic enough entering the game. You’re Dante, you’re a loner burnout who doesn't have much ambition to do anything, but when the Demons come a knocking, Dante doesn't take a second thought to fulfilling his destiny. Few games manage to introduce the initial means of combat without it coming off as a bit impossible. DmC does the opposite, with the opening credits doing their part to explain just how you get in the pickle you start the game in, assembling the pieces of your arsenal and stylishly getting dressed while getting in some shots for the older DmC fans. All in all, for a story that's technically been told many times over, namely in this particular Angel vs Devil storytelling, the game does everything right. Moreover, it manages to maintain the things that make a game like Devil May Cry fun, while doing enough to set itself apart without alienating the previous fan-base aside from an over exaggerated, literally skin deep aspect. Few games compel me to rush back into their world to the finish, and fewer for a second visit right after, but DmC did that and more, and even after honestly trying, I fail to find any serious issues with any part of this game. So I invite you, go forth, and face your demons.
DmC Devil May Cry gets a ⅘.
DmC Devil May Cry (Xbox360, Playstation3, PC) Available now.
Review based on retail version of game played through on the hardest difficulty available without unlocking.
Game consists of 20 Single player missions, contains no multiplayer aspect, DLC coming soon to both story mode as well as “Bloody Palace” survival mode (coming soon after release for free) Average playthrough length is about 10+ Hours depending on how much exploration you do.