Quick Look: Devil May Cry

Brad's looking for a soul to steal, and this one is just too good to pass up.

Embed
Play
Please use a flash or html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to Giant Bomb's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Giant Bomb Review

1094 Comments

DmC Devil May Cry Review

5
  • PS3
  • X360

The character action genre hasn't been this stylish or crazy in a good long while.

There's enough combat variety here to support multiple playthroughs.

The reborn Devil May Cry from Ninja Theory exemplifies what it is to really get down in the dirt and reimagine a hallowed franchise from the ground up, bringing back only the broadest character traits and relationships but leaving behind everything else about the old that gets in the way of creating a singular, cohesive new. Names like Dante, Vergil, and Mundus return, but the world they inhabit and the roles they play out are only passingly similar to what you knew of them before. Everything in this new game exists in service of making it a great game in its own right, not in stoking your nostalgia for the games you played over the last decade. As a character action game, it hits all the notes--fast, robust action, marvelous visual style, and a tremendous sense of attitude--you could want in this type of game.

To be fair, on paper, everything about Devil May Cry sounds like the tritest video game pap: a bloody war between angels and devils, endless hordes of demonic enemies straight from your favorite '80s heavy metal album art, and all of it punctuated by Scandinavian "hellektro" outfit Combichrist's thudding soundtrack. And then there's Dante, remade in the image of a club-kid layabout who's so sneeringly self-satisfied he defies any attempt you might make to identify with him. I pretty much went into the game consciously expecting to hate all of this, or at least view it as the sort of eye-rolling embarrassment video games are usually so good at delivering.

Then, oddly, I started feeling a guilty pleasure at how much I was actually enjoying the spectacle. Then later I gave up the guilt and just flung myself wholeheartedly into the cyclone of nonsense. I think it became easy to like Devil May Cry because it seems somewhat aware of itself; the game is so damn committed to having fun with its absurdity, you can't help having fun along with it. Dante may be a smirking wiseass, but his lines are witty enough and delivered with so much panache, you quickly grow to like him anyway. And he makes a great foil for his brother Vergil, who's more of an uppity, refined ideologue fighting the good fight against the demons. Dante talks a constant stream of shit to Vergil and just about anyone else who gets in his way, and there's something uncomfortable and a little dissonant about a 50-foot ancient grub-demon screeching "FUCK YOOOOOUUUUU!!!" right back at him. The best sort of dumb fun is the kind that knows how dumb it is, and I consistently got the sense from Devil May Cry knew that the entire time I was playing it.

When acting is required, it's amazing how effective real actors can be.

The game also knows when to rein it in, though. After the dramatic triumph of Ninja Theory's last game, Enslaved, it shouldn't surprise you that I'm back to devote another paragraph to the characters' performances in this game, which do so much to sell what, again, probably should have been a complete joke of a storyline. Where Enslaved had a lot of heart, Devil May Cry offers an equal amount of middle finger, but it still manages to lend an appreciable level of gravitas and some occasional poignance to its tale of saving the world from demons who have enslaved the human race with... soda. As before, the success at selling you on the plot simply comes down to all the subtle eye movements and shoulder shrugs and skilled line reads that add up to real, believable performances, the kind of thing you get when you go into a performance-capture facility and fill it with people who can, you know, act. That the characters here do so much to uplift Devil May Cry's ridiculous premise is a testament to both the capability of performance-capture technology and Ninja Theory's use of it.

Lest we forget this is also a video game: Devil May Cry is in fact a greatly entertaining character action game, as fast-paced and diverse as I could have wanted. The game starts you off with Dante's familiar sword and dual pistols, but you quickly start to collect angel and demon weapons, which fill light and heavy attack categories respectively. Switching between melee weapons, and the three firearms you end up with, just takes a tap of the d-pad. You only have a single attack button which wields your sword by default, and you switch to the equipped angel or devil weapon instantly by holding the left or right trigger and hitting that same button. The game finds a lot of interesting ways to make you stay on your toes, with enemies that only fully coalesce when one type of weapon is equipped, or floors that will hurt you if you aren't holding the same-colored weapon. More importantly, if you're quick enough, it's possible to involve three, four, or five different weapons in a single combo, and the game is constantly running a tally on the side of the screen rating how stylishly you're fighting, all the way up to triple-S.

The more style you rack up, the more new abilities and moves you can unlock (from a list of dozens), and since you lose a couple of letter grades every time you get hit, you're really incentivized to play as cleanly as possible. The combat isn't overwhelmingly hard on the default difficulty, though it isn't a cakewalk, but if you're really serious about this kind of game, play it on hard from the outset. There are another four difficulty levels waiting for you to unlock them after that. The game is built to be replayed repeatedly; you can jump back into any mission on any difficulty whenever, and there are plenty of places you just can't access without the right abilities the first time through. All of your completion totals get rated and slapped onto leaderboards if you want to keep up with how your friends are doing. In short, the between-mission trappings, the glue that holds the levels themselves together, feel thoroughly modern in this game.

The inventive visual and level design just keeps on coming.

Since all the action takes place in a demonic mirror world called Limbo, the designers get to go wild with the sorts of places you're fighting in, and the game is constantly turning your expectations (and the levels) upside down by placing you in skewed, exploded, or otherwise deconstructed versions of city streets, mansions, night clubs, and a few more unlikely environments I'll leave to you to discover. While this sort of level design has started to feel a little played out since games like American McGee's Alice made it popular ages ago, I was constantly surprised and delighted by the sheer, over-the-top inventiveness of the levels in this game. There's also a degree of grappling-hook-style traversal, and a few creative moments that emphasize the relationship between Limbo and the real world, that make the game feel like more than a constant stream of enemy encounters. And the game is absolutely awash in dazzling visual presentation. I won't go too deep into that, because it's better absorbed firsthand, but the broad and ever-changing color palette, the ways the level geometry explodes and deforms around you, the titles and overlays that pop up on the screen to enhance the action, all combine to make this game a great venue for its artists to display their talents.

I brought no personal baggage to Ninja Theory's take on Devil May Cry, having played and enjoyed the original game way back when but then steering clear of the series after its poorly received second entry. Whether you're a longtime fan (with an open mind) or a total newcomer just looking for a solid character action game, it's hard to imagine anyone feeling overly dissatisfied with this new game. It's almost wholly successful at what it tries to do, and seems like the start of a promising new direction for what was otherwise a nearly forgotten franchise.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
1094 Comments
Posted by MooseyMcMan

More than anything else, this review reminds me how much I hate the term "character action game," but that's just me.

If there weren't so many other "character action games" coming put this year that I cared more about (Metal Gear Rising: REVENGEANCE, God of War: Ascension, Bayonetta 2 (?)), I might pick this up.

Posted by Milkman

But...but...but...his hair. HIS HAIR!

Posted by algertman

Anarchy Reigns is a better game.

Posted by RecSpec

So...this game is worth playing even though the only DMC game I liked was 3? Damn, I was hoping I could just ignore this, I guess not.

Posted by habster3

I certainly didn't expect this to get a five... well, looks like I'll have a new game to look forward to in the future!

Posted by Video_Game_King
Posted by ArtisanBreads

@RecSpec said:

So...this game is worth playing even though the only DMC game I liked was 3? Damn, I was hoping I could just ignore this, I guess not.

Sure why not? I liked 1 well enough but I'm with you on 3. Didn't like 4.

Posted by Haziqonfire

I'm tempted to try this out now! I played the demo and I kinda liked it and kinda didn't. Hope you guys will talk about it more on the upcoming Bomb Cast.

DmC, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Bayonetta 2 all in 2013 seems kind of crazy!

Posted by sebmal

well this is depressing

Posted by Phatmac

Sweet! After the hot garbage that was DMC4 I had lost all hope with the franchise. Looks like this game will bring me back!

Posted by edoone

5 Stars???! really! this is blow my mind.....

Posted by Oldirtybearon

bravo you magnificent bastard.

Posted by Colourful_Hippie

Now I get to look forward to the incoming "this game is shit" threads.

Online
Posted by JZ

Wow didn't even think brad like these kind of games.

Posted by Sooty

I can't trust Brad reviews after the love Far Cry 2 and Rage got.

Posted by Stimpack

I really wasn't expecting that. Interesting!

Edited by algertman

@Haziqonfire said:

I'm tempted to try this out now! I played the demo and I kinda liked it and kinda didn't. Hope you guys will talk about it more on the upcoming Bomb Cast.

DmC, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Bayonetta 2 all in 2013 seems kind of crazy!

$5 says Bayo2 is the best game of the three and will have the lowest score among reviewers.

Posted by EuanDewar

fuck YESSSSSS

Posted by bkbroiler

So you've got Enslaved quality acting and character animations, etc? I'm in!

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

@Sooty said:

I can't trust Brad reviews after the love Far Cry 2 and Rage got.

Brad does not have to have the exact taste as you. Why would his taste in those games matter here?

Posted by Milkman

@Colourful_Hippie said:

Now I get to look forward to the incoming "this game is shit" threads.

To be fair, "this game is shit" threads were around for this game since the day it was announced.

Edited by SunnyD
Posted by zombie2011

I have no idea what is going on in the comments for this review.

Why are people mad this game that the game reviewed well?

Posted by NTM

While this has nothing to do with the game, I wanted to say since Brad mentioned how great motion capture can be, I hope the next Final Fantasy uses it like this game does.

Posted by WMWA

Brad Shoemaker is Giant Bomb's anime expert

But seriously, I might buy this now. Sounds really special

Posted by Sackmanjones

Wow. These comments are embarrassing. People are ridiculous.

Posted by DonutFever

First review of 2013 is a 5 Star? Surprise.

Posted by bunkerbuster05

I was praying this was gonna be good, woo!

Posted by BeachThunder

Alright, alright, I'll add it to my Steam wishlist...

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

suck it haters

Posted by algertman

@Milkman said:

@Colourful_Hippie said:

Now I get to look forward to the incoming "this game is shit" threads.

To be fair, "this game is shit" threads were around for this game since the day it was announced.

Because those are horrible games.

Posted by csl316

Hell yes.  HELL YES!!

Posted by Beforet

First five star of the year! This seems pretty good, I'll be sure to check it out after I clean out my backlog some.

Posted by sissylion

@zombie2011 said:

I have no idea what is going on in the comments for this review.

Why are people mad this game that the game reviewed well?

Because they changed a stupid fucking character design into a different stupid fucking character design.

Posted by WMWA
@ZeroV2

This game is a disgrace to the Devil May Cry series

The awesomely complex and intricate combat systems from the other DMC games (barring 2) was thrown out of the window in favor of a casualized and totally simplistic brain dead turd. Not only that but it's obvious that Dante is essentially Tameem masturbating via video games

I wish someone with an actual interest in the DMC series could have reviewed this and given it a score that reflects the obvious steps back in quality that this series has suffered.

"Have someone who loves the old games review this so they can hate it or be indifferent to it." Quit being so self-centered. There are other people out there who may actually like this game for what it is, not what it isn't, or what you expected it to be anyway. And this review is indicative of that.
Posted by Ratfoot

Who let Brad do this after leaving the series after 2, he missed out on the two most important entries in the series.

Edited by Colourful_Hippie

@Milkman said:

@Colourful_Hippie said:

Now I get to look forward to the incoming "this game is shit" threads.

To be fair, "this game is shit" threads were around for this game since the day it was announced.

I'm talking about after the slew of reviews hit. The forums are just going to be fun to look at this week.

Online
Posted by pbhawks45

@zombie2011 said:

I have no idea what is going on in the comments for this review.

Why are people mad this game that the game reviewed well?

Because change is bad. We hate how games always stay the same, and become bland/generic, then flip even more shit when they try to do something different. People get so angry because they have nothing else to live for besides their happy memories of the past.

Posted by Neurotic

Wow, was not expecting this. Still won't play it. I liked the first DMC just fine but that was it. Every cutscene I've seen seems to make Dante look like a MASSIVE prick as well.

Posted by Zacagawea

Fuck, was hoping I could ignore this game. Will try out the demo now, at least.

Posted by PollySMPS

@zombie2011: Because "WAAAHHHHHHHHH IT'S NOT THE THING I WANTED AND LIKED FIRST :'( :'( :'(" in a nutshell.

Posted by dyong

I'm not sure I can trust this 5 star review after Syndicate... Just kidding. I'm glad there is one review that doesn't base over 50% of its score on the new Dante look.

Edited by ArtisanBreads

@pbhawks45 said:

@zombie2011 said:

I have no idea what is going on in the comments for this review.

Why are people mad this game that the game reviewed well?

Because change is bad. We hate how games always stay the same, and become bland/generic, then flip even more shit when they try to do something different. People get so angry because they have nothing else to live for besides their happy memories of the past.

So fucking true.

I can't take people's hypocrisy. It's just so blatant. It's as if they can't play DMC 4 if they love that game so much again.

Just enjoying all the salt this review will generate. Basking in it.

Posted by Ghost_Cat

Goddamnit, Brad. GODDAMNIT.

Posted by KittyVonDoom

Overly sensational review much? The review reads like he's never played video games before. The context changes every other sentence. Are all Brad reviews like this? Well, at least a person enjoyed it, that's good to know I guess.

Edited by Sooty

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@Sooty said:

I can't trust Brad reviews after the love Far Cry 2 and Rage got.

Brad does not have to have the exact taste as you. Why would his taste in those games matter here?

There are games I know many people like and for decent reasoning, but I simply don't like them. Far Cry 2 and Rage however are both dull and just shitty to play, I can't understand how they get any real praise.

yo malaria

Edited by ArtisanBreads

@Sooty said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@Sooty said:

I can't trust Brad reviews after the love Far Cry 2 and Rage got.

Brad does not have to have the exact taste as you. Why would his taste in those games matter here?

There are games I know many people like and for decent reasoning, but I simply don't like them. Far Cry 2 and Rage however are both dull and just shitty to play, I can't understand how they get any real praise.

Because people like them. I don't like either one but who gives a fuck. Not going to agree on everything.

@KittyVonDoom said:

Overly sensational review much? The review reads like he's never played video games before. The context changes every other sentence. Are all Brad reviews like this? Well, at least a person enjoyed it, that's good to know I guess.

Yes Brad reviews all games as if he has never played one before. Nailed it.

But hey he's the only person who likes it. Right.

Posted by Animasta

@Milkman said:

@EnduranceFun said:

What a fucking joke. It seems like Brad's reviews are five stars more than anything else, but this game is an insult and bastardisation of a previously awesome series. Fuck off Brad, never trusting your shitty reviews ever again.

u mad or something?

so much salt right now.

I have decided that instead of getting disappointed in the community I will just bathe in it

Posted by Legion_

This has always weirded me out about Giant Bomb. So far, I've read like to two negative comments, and maybe 30 positive. Still, a lot of people are typing the good ol' "people are going to go crazy" kind of sentences. The thing is guys, that's not what Giant Bomb is about. Maybe that would happen at GT, but I think the general users of Giant Bomb are smarter than that. So far, this comment section is proving me right. Also, cool game.

Posted by Animasta

@Legion_ said:

This has always weirded me out about Giant Bomb. So far, I've read like to two negative comments, and maybe 30 positive. Still, a lot of people are typing the good ol' "people are going to go crazy" kind of sentences. The thing is guys, that's not what Giant Bomb is about. Maybe that would happen at GT, but I think the general users of Giant Bomb are smarter than that. So far, this comment section is proving me right. Also, cool game.

there are a lot more than 2 negative comments hahaha