Quick Look: Devil May Cry

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

Drew Scanlon on Google+
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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 xyzygy

So pumped. Good to see it's a great game!

Posted by Curufinwe
@L33tfella_H

I foresee a massive shitstorm incoming concerning the review score for this.

Personally, game's alright, slightly disappointing if you're used to character action games like this though.

Edit: Odds on Brad's opinion of the game dropping by the end of the year? Might just be me, but it seems he is super excited for some games during the review process, but afterwards starts finding more and more flaws with them as time goes on.

We won't know if its a Mass Effect 2 or Diablo 3 situation for 11 months, but I would guess the latter given all the huge games coming this year. Including next gen titles.
Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

So all it took was a western developer to make the Devil May Cry series great again, next Bioware makes a Final Fantasy game.

Posted by HadesTimes

Guess I'm glad I pre-ordered. :)

Posted by Pr1mus

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

next Bioware makes a Final Fantasy game.

Fuck everything about that! Dude this is serious, don't joke about this... :(

Online
Posted by ildon

@BoomSnapClap113 said:

What happened to this community :( You can't look at the comment section of any video / write-up, without seeing long dragged out arguments about pretty much anything and everything. Am I misremembering when I say it wasn't like this 2 years ago? It's such a drag.

I think it's inevitable as a site becomes more popular. That 1% of obnoxious people who litter comments sections with crap just becomes a larger group (even if it's the same proportion as before). That 1% eventually reaches a critical mass where they're childishly arguing with each other and fill the comments sections. Notice how many of these comments are the same like 8 or so people bickering back and forth, or a bunch of people doing single reply comments to one person who won't shut up. You need really strict moderation if you want to prevent this type of thing from happening (and then that moderation staff has to do even more work as they deal with people complaining not just about the articles but the moderation).

Posted by 123654

/v/ has invaded

Posted by Wraxend

Got my copy on the way, can't wait!!!

Posted by NZV

I like you, Brad. But I find it completely impossible to trust anything you have to say about video games.

Posted by patrick

@EnduranceFun said:

@patrick said:

@EnduranceFun said:

@august: Put it down to horror at seeing Giant Bomb like this hot garbage. All of these hyperbolic reviews for this, in many ways objectively, worse reboot are digging a deeper grave for the old style of DMC I love.

Though there's always Platinum Games' stuff, it's still depressing if this is really it for DMC.

Objective opinions = lolol

Lower FPS

Less Weapons

Lower Difficulty

Worse Story

Less Content

Objective facts

I don't think objective means what you think it means if you're under the impression it's to be paired with the word 'facts'.

Posted by Dallas_Raines

@Enigma777 said:

I literally cannot believe this review. Either the game gets much, much, much better after the demo or me and Brad have completely dofferent tastes when it comes to character action games.

I thought the demo was pretty boring, but I ended up enjoying the full game a fair amount.

Posted by HerbieBug

30 fps is a big disappointment. Action games like this need to be 60. The whole point of this genre is tight controls and precision execution making for highly satisfying gameplay experience once the learning curve hurdle is cleared.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

@Pr1mus said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

next Bioware makes a Final Fantasy game.

Fuck everything about that! Dude this is serious, don't joke about this... :(

Dragon Age : Origins was more fun than any Square RPG I played in the last 10 years. And I loved FF VII-X, all we have had since is FF XII and FF XIII and it's sequels. From 1994 - 2004 we had FF VI - FF X, maybe time for a new developer.

Posted by xyzygy

@Firelogic said:

Reviews don't happen in a vacuum so if you haven't played DMC3, not sure if I can trust this DmC review.

I don't understand how not playing or playing DmC3 could alter another game. Sure they share the same name but this is a reboot and isn't supposed to build off of what the the other entries offer. If that was the case they would have just named it DmC5.

Posted by JordanaRama

Awesome. I really wanted this to be good. I was hoping the character action genre wasn't all dried up. It's good to see some life in it, because things have certainly gotten stale in the way of button mashing beat-em-ups.

But, it's nice to see there's still some potential for quality in the genre. This sounds exactly like the kind of game I want to play.

Posted by ArtisanBreads

@123654 said:

/v/ has invaded

Let them come.

Brad is Arnold.

Posted by RoyCampbell
Posted by mdnthrvst

@123654 said:

/v/ has invaded

Edited by megalowho

@123654 said:

the old dmc games were shit, what are you babies crying about?

I honestly no idea dmc had such a rabid fanbase, even in its heyday. Never struck that deep of a chord in my circles, at least.

It took me time to learn but excessive hype is pretty much always counterproductive, both positive and negative. See the PR nonsense and forum chatter for what it is, wait till Game X is actually done and available and reach your own conclusions based on the experience.

Not sure if I'll end up with a copy, $60 feels a bit steep for even well made character action romps, but looking forward to the Quick Look. The PC port seems like it's on point, which is always a bonus.

Posted by EnduranceFun

@patrick said:

@EnduranceFun said:

Lower FPS

Less Weapons

Lower Difficulty

Worse Story

Less Content

Objective facts

I don't think objective means what you think it means if you're under the impression it's to be paired with the word 'facts'.

Just making sure you understood how wrong you were in stating my opinion wasn't based on objective evidence, as you clearly have a thing for misinterpreting what I say.

Posted by MURDERSMASH

@OllyOxenFree said:

Controversy! Love the comments so far. Dance, angry neckbeards, dance!

Fixed that for you.

Posted by Mystyr_E

to be fair though, anything after Shadows of the Damned bird yelling "fuuuuck yoooooouuuuuuu!" will be lesser quality by default

by that I mean this:

Posted by Deathpooky

I'll be honest, I somewhat understand people going apeshit over low reviews for games they were looking forward to and pre-ordered, denying everything to protect the game they were invested in. It's stupid, but I understand it.

But people going nuts over a review that's higher than they were expecting is pretty hilarious. I think I've seen it a few times for series where the die-hard fans were upset with changes, but it never fails to make me laugh. You're that invested in a game you've never played failing?

Posted by Vitor

@EnduranceFun said:

@Vitor said:

DMC4's story was hot garbage and you know it. DMC2 and 1 weren't much better. You're seriously misremembering the series.

As for less content, Bloody Palace is coming out as free DLC soon and did you forget about the bit where DMC4 was half a game that made you play through it twice because it was clearly unfinished?

Everything I've heard about DMC suggests great replayability so your facts hardly seem like facts at all.

DMC4's story was better than DmC's, which is a rip-off of They Live and tries to be edgy in a way that was entirely avoided by previous games. I find it very hard to believe anyone can say DmC is better than 4 when it runs at a crisp 60FPS with far more going on, DmC runs on the god damn Unreal Engine. It is practically a different genre when it is that much slower and the potential for crazy combos or simply the ceiling for player skill has been capped very low. Also don't see how you refuted any of my facts whatsoever. Arguing that having to download Bloody Palace is okay is also pretty disgusting imo.

DMC4 was half a game. Arguing that DMC gives you less content isn't true. DMC2 was the same actually with that awful Lucia second disc and I'll take a solid 6-7 hours over a rehashed 8-10 hour game. DMC4 was a God-awful game that was lucky to be blessed with an incredible combat system. People's retroactive praising of that game overlooks so many of the issues it had.

Also, I've already seen some pretty insane combo videos online with crazy cancels (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Cikn_I6-AU&feature=youtu.be) so I'm not willing to ignore the combo system just yet, but then again, I haven't played it so I can't really comment too much there.

Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

Well damn.

Edited by Efesell

@EnduranceFun said:

@patrick said:

@EnduranceFun said:

Lower FPS

Less Weapons

Lower Difficulty

Worse Story

Less Content

Objective facts

I don't think objective means what you think it means if you're under the impression it's to be paired with the word 'facts'.

Just making sure you understood how wrong you were in stating my opinion wasn't based on objective evidence, as you clearly have a thing for misinterpreting what I say.

Indulge me for a moment... What do you think that word means?

Just, as a curiosity.

Posted by ArtisanBreads

@EnduranceFun said:

@patrick said:

@EnduranceFun said:

Lower FPS

Less Weapons

Lower Difficulty

Worse Story

Less Content

Objective facts

I don't think objective means what you think it means if you're under the impression it's to be paired with the word 'facts'.

Just making sure you understood how wrong you were in stating my opinion wasn't based on objective evidence, as you clearly have a thing for misinterpreting what I say.

Well we confirmed you sure don't know what objective means.

Posted by Dan_CiTi

I'm sure it's pretty good, but I'm good with DMC3 and Bayonetta, while the demo was pretty good, I'm really not itching to play this at all.

Posted by clumsyninja1

Emo Dante is pretty good, huh? Also, the game is a little bit on the short side...

Posted by Pr1mus

@Bourbon_Warrior: I don't think that would work for FF though.

There's been some stellar action games like DmC made by western developers before. But i don't think western developers would get how to make a good jrpg. Not that square themselves remember how either...

But all i want anyway is FF XII HD and all will be good in the world.

Online
Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@ArtisanBreads said:

@123654 said:

/v/ has invaded

Let them come.

Brad is Arnold.

That is screaming for some one to replace Arnolds face with a floating Brad head over that entire thing, someone is crazy enough to do it right? RIGHT!

Posted by Nettacki

@Dasdude said:

WHOA was not expecting this at all! Good job capcom!

Er, Ninja Theory made this, not Capcom, though I hear some of their guys came in to help NT with the combat.

Anyway, even with Brad's seal of approval, I'm not convinced that DmC is the right game for me, since he kinda sucks at games and thus would appear to like the easier modern reboot of a typically deep, tight game series.

Posted by Shaunage

People seem so desperate for this game to fail, and I'm glad to see it hasn't. Thanks for the heads-up, Brad.

Posted by leafhouse

And so begins another year of un-amazing games given 5 stars by Brad

Posted by TwoLines

God, you guys in the comments suck SO BAD.

Posted by ArtisanBreads

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@ArtisanBreads said:

@123654 said:

/v/ has invaded

Let them come.

Brad is Arnold.

That is screaming for some one to replace Arnolds face with a floating Brad head over that entire thing, someone is crazy enough to do it right? RIGHT!

Oh god I hope so.

Posted by BPRJCTX

Brad didn't play Devil May Cry 3, or Bayonetta, it's great that he enjoyed the story and visuals, but make no mistake, this game is nowhere near the level of DMC3 or bayonetta., in terms of gameplay.

Still, an enjoyable action game.

Edited by mdnthrvst

@xyzygy said:

@Firelogic said:

Reviews don't happen in a vacuum so if you haven't played DMC3, not sure if I can trust this DmC review.

I don't understand how not playing or playing DmC3 could alter another game. Sure they share the same name but this is a reboot and isn't supposed to build off of what the the other entries offer. If that was the case they would have just named it DmC5.

Or, you know, something else entirely.

You can't get the brand awareness without the fans, and that fan expectation is pure, unadulterated baggage.

I'm sure if I picked up and played DmC I'd probably enjoy it quite a bit; but still, having never played previous DMCs, my opinion isn't very important to those who have. I understand that; it's fair.

Just ask Jeff about Blitz 99 vs. Blitz 2000. The reasons he'd give you for preferring the former would make him sound like a crazy person, but that level of devotion - and attention - is what we're dealing with here.

Posted by RE_Player1

The babies have figured out how to use the comment section.

Posted by Dallas_Raines

DmC has seven fucking difficulty options, why does anyone care how easy 'normal' might be?

Edited by EnduranceFun

@Vitor said:

DMC4 was half a game. Arguing that DMC gives you less content isn't true. DMC2 was the same actually with that awful Lucia second disc and I'll take a solid 6-7 hours over a rehashed 8-10 hour game. DMC4 was a God-awful game that was lucky to be blessed with an incredible combat system. People's retroactive praising of that game overlooks so many of the issues it had.

Also, I've already seen some pretty insane combo videos online with crazy cancels (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Cikn_I6-AU&feature=youtu.be) so I'm not willing to ignore the combo system just yet, but then again, I haven't played it so I can't really comment too much there.

DMC4 had its problems, sure, but none of them were fixed in DmC. This reboot takes everything down a peg on a basic level, comparable to DMC1, and that is being generous. DMC2 is hardly fair to use here as it was also basically an attempt at a reboot that took a swerve away from what made DMC1 great. You can do combos in DmC but they're nowhere near as crazy as the ones in DMC3 or 4, the FPS lock, lack of enemies on screen and horrid bosses that are mostly giants who have predictable attack patterns, means a huge step back, and that's ignoring the awful fucking story.

I just wanted a good DMC5 that fixed DMC4's problems. Fine, the franchise may be dead now, but that doesn't mean I am happy to see it treated like crap and reduced to a joke.

Yep, I didn't use objectively correctly. You guys sure cry a lot when telling others that they're [insert superlative].

Posted by Kevin_Cogneto

This thread is stupid.

Objective fact.

Edited by BlastProcessing

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

next Bioware makes a Final Fantasy game.

Dude NO!

And in regards to the review, I'll just nod my head, and go play DMC 3. I just couldn't force my way through the demo.

Posted by chriscalla

Really loved the demo. And I haven't played a DMC game since the first few hours of the first game when it was originally released.

Posted by aquamarin

I'm stunned.

Posted by sionweeks

I had a feeling the moment I saw this game that it would turn out amazing.

Posted by Nettacki

@Dallas_Raines said:

same forgettable storytelling.

Which kinda sucks because NT hyped up the storytelling a lot in their previews, saying that they want this game to be appreciate in the same artistic sense as good movies and novels. If it so happened that this game's story is as bad or worse than the story of the previous games, then imo NT failed to deliver on their promises.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@Milkman said:

@EnduranceFun said:

@patrick said:

@EnduranceFun said:

@august: Put it down to horror at seeing Giant Bomb like this hot garbage. All of these hyperbolic reviews for this, in many ways objectively, worse reboot are digging a deeper grave for the old style of DMC I love.

Though there's always Platinum Games' stuff, it's still depressing if this is really it for DMC.

Objective opinions = lolol

Lower FPS

Less Weapons

Lower Difficulty

Worse Story

Less Content

Objective facts

Worse story is an objective fact? Okay.

Haha voice cracking, maybe a 2nd take would of been better capcom.

Posted by Amaru25

Can the haters shut up now?

Posted by patrick

@EnduranceFun said:

@patrick said:

@EnduranceFun said:

Lower FPS

Less Weapons

Lower Difficulty

Worse Story

Less Content

Objective facts

I don't think objective means what you think it means if you're under the impression it's to be paired with the word 'facts'.

Just making sure you understood how wrong you were in stating my opinion wasn't based on objective evidence, as you clearly have a thing for misinterpreting what I say.

You must have me confused for someone who was trying to make whatever point that is, but if you just want to reinforce my second statement, I won't stop you.