cyclonus_the_warrior's DmC Devil May Cry (Xbox 360) review

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Dante looks like a crackhead but the game is solid.

Originally written: 12-2-13

The half demon with an attitude, Dante, is waking up after a party in his trailer; suddenly he's attacked by a demon known as a Hunter. He then receives a visit from a girl named Kat explaining to him some of the situation. Dante goes off into battle, then he later finds himself assisting an underground group called the Order, whom are at war with the demon threat led by a god-like entity named Mundus. -summary

Fan boy and fan girl rage were at a high before the release of DMC aka Devil May Cry. Normally the mention of a new DMC game would be met with some type of early praise and anticipation, but this time something was just wrong. The fan boys seemed to be upset that the series was going through a reboot and some of the elements they loved about the original were going to be tweaked. The girls were mainly uptight concerning Dante's design; they all expressed their feelings on how ugly he turned out to be. They really did not care for him losing those white locks. I thought the new design came out of left field also. For me, in those early screenshots Dante looked like a heroin junkie. However, I saw that this game received a new production team by the name of Ninja Theory. My interest was piqued since Ninja Theory were responsible for two games I remember having a good time playing, Enslaved and Heavenly Sword; with that said, I could care less about Dante's appearance. I wanted solid game play and for the most part they nailed it. DMC was released last January and although it has its flaws; I think it was a necessary reboot and it does the franchise some justice.

Story:

The player will follow Dante on his demon hunting quest, as he has vowed to avenge the death of his mother by Mundus' hands. Along the way he will meet others, most notably a man named Virgil whom appears to know things about his past. The plot sees the group attempting to hit Mundus were it hurts drawing him out to weaken his invulnerable status. The first four games had average stories at best; the narrative was always something that was just there to say the game was telling a story. DMC has quite a bit in common with the Tomb Raider reboot which was released later on, in the way on how it feels more ambitious story wise; and like Tomb Raider, it doesn't do all that well due to certain elements. I would go so far to say that it's much worse.

The story itself is worth listening to, but it's the characters and personality that the writers miss. DMC dives into greedy corporate empires, media manipulation, along with subtle invasion and takeover that reminds me of the film They Live. The game's narrative wants to be taken seriously, unfortunately the atmosphere is damaged by the characters immature behavior. Dante is way too Emo, and he feels rebellious with a whole lot of attitude that just feels out of place. I get what they were trying to do by displaying the clash between the suits and normal folks but it could have been handled with more class. There are just way too many sexual innuendos among other things. I don't believe a 1200 year old demon is going to engage in a cussing match with a guy that clearly has the mindset of a troubled teen. Although it can be funny, it just belonged in a game like Deadpool. DMC reminds me of something else and that's anime. It wants to be seen as mature adult material, yet it's full of negative garbage that will appeal more to teens. It's mature only in theory.

The writers try their best to develop Dante, yet it feels too predictable and ordinary. I will admit that Dante was never developed in the original series, but his personality was so cool that changing him would have been a problem. Some times leaving characters as a simple plot device isn't a bad thing. The narrative is also horrible at foreshadowing, it just gives you the plot twist leading towards the end to where it loses any type of emotional impact. Now that I think it about, there was nothing emotional about it; the twist, you just knew it was going to happen and that's all there is to it. Sad to say, while the story is intact, it's a low point with game play and production values being the clear highlights.

Game Play:

DMC is a single player, third person hack and slash that boasts a complex combat engine with a learning curve that takes awhile to master. At some point in the game Dante learns that he's a nephilim, which is a hybrid of an angel and a demon. His abilities will reflect this as the angel in him uses quicker and weaker weapons while the demon is totally opposite. He also has his sword and guns. There are a good amount of weapons Dante runs into but its how their used in combat that stands out. Dante does not need to swap out a single weapon; by holding a specific button and press another he can unleash whichever he wants at any time. For example, on the fly he can swap between his swords, pistols, demon weapon, back to pistols, angel weapon, shotgun etc. to deal out massive damage and rack up huge combos, that works towards a high rating earning points for ability and weapon upgrades. The upgrades are worth the time and effort as weapons and abilities not only become more powerful, but also so cool to watch in fast-paced action. The combat is very deep and it appears to be limited only by one's imagination. The action is fun to get into and it's just the learning curve that I see bothering some.

The angel and demon weapons also works into the game's platforming elements which are plenty. While the platforming is pretty creative in how you traverse, the segments are terribly bland. In comparison to God of War, it's like putting a physically handicap kid in the ring against Tyson in his prime. The segments are also quite forgiving with loss of health being the only penalty for falling off a cliff. I don't have a problem with this since it probably would have damaged the experience a little further. I already think the platforming as it is hampers the pacing of the game enough, in which you clearly see its selling point is the action. I wish this portion was toned down and we got more action and better boss battles. Now speaking of the boss battles, they are colossal disappointments and the best way to explain them is like this: They're fun to watch but boring to play. Many of them are just boring and uninteresting. There's only one battle that I think was a cool experience and it took place in a news station and I'll leave it at that. For those who do not care for puzzles, well you have nothing to worry about. There's only one easy, yet meaningless puzzle in the whole game. If you're very impatient it may bother you.

While DMC has toned down on the difficulty of let's say the third game (honestly, except for that one I found them all to be easy), it still has moments where it can challenge you through aggressive and tough enemies; but if you want a serious challenge there are harder modes that will burn a lot of players. The normal mode is great for casual gamers hoping to experience what the game has to offer. The main campaign lasts about 10 hours and there are secret areas to find that will send the player on bonus missions. These levels can be fun with some wild combat stipulations such as needing to fight a group of enemies without taking damage, using a specific weapon, or beating a time limit. This adds to the replay and I can imagine many attempting to clear all of this. As for online there's Leaderboards and that's about it.

Controls:

The learning curve and lack of concentration while pulling off moves is the only problem I can see here for some. If you attempt to button mash then you're not going to get the most out of this at all. The control uses all of the buttons for something and I will admit that I found it quite awkward for awhile. I got use to the 360 controller but I felt more at home with the PS3 controller. I was just a mad man playing with that one. Practice is what one needs here and there's a training mode available; but as for responsiveness, the controls are very fluid and smooth. There was nothing I couldn't do.

Graphics/Music/Sound:

This is one visually impressive game. The gothic and demonic atmosphere is a joy to watch; the stages blur between the real world and limbo with traces of people in the real world showing up as re-appearing shadows in limbo. Later on in the game this becomes a bit creepier displaying this mad house effect; and speaking of which, the demonic environments feels as if everything is taking place in hell itself as the streets and buildings attempt to kill you. The visuals are colorful and vibrant; there's nothing terrible to look at here. The graphics are just incredible, and the animation is fluid and detailed during the wild combos, plus the sound effects works well into the movements as you can hear the crash when Dante is punching an airborne opponent into the ground.

Very similar to Bayonetta, the visuals run better on the 360 than PS3. There was a clear frame rate drop from what I remember in the latter, and I didn't notice any such thing with the 360. However, there were a few occasions when I saw enemies stuck in a corner or they just remained stationary while I beat on them. The lack of a lock on would have helped because Dante will sometimes go after enemies that aren't the bigger threats and this can be a nightmare with the camera. I lost track of who I was fighting a few times. Other than that I didn't notice any real glitches. The gothic, heavy rock score works well with the style of the game and some of the songs are kind of catchy. I was into it the score but there's nothing memorable here since most of it came off as noise. The original game blows this away as far as music goes.

Final Thoughts:

DMC is a fun game; I can play it again not just for completion's sake but for that combat system. I love deep combat where I can just attempt to pull off anything and get it done in the end. Now is DMC the best 2013 action title one can pick up? I don't think so at all, Metal Gear Rising and Tomb Raider are no doubt better picks, so I would recommend them over this. In any case this game is still worth playing whether you're a veteran of the franchise or not.

Rating: 7/10

Pros: Outstanding visuals, deep and exciting combat engine, music is decent

Cons: Weak story, shaky difficulty, expected more from soundtrack

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