For those of you who follow me, you know I recently put up my first impressions of Ninja Theory and Capcom’s latest game, DmC: Devil May Cry. Well with the week gone and enough game time put in to DmC, I have my final thoughts and I am ready to ready to present to all of you the official review.
Devil May Cry was originally released in 2001 by Capcom back on the Playstation 2. Originally a concept for Resident Evil 4, Capcom felt the game was too action oriented to fit into the Resident Evil series. Then again that didn’t stop them from making Resident Evil 5, but beggars can’t be choosers. With this concept in hand, the game was a perfect idea for a new IP.
When it first released, the reviews were great and was received with high praise, such high praise that it received 2 sequels and a prequel. While not every entry in the series was great (DMC 2), many of the games features, style, and story were fantastic and garnished a huge fan base over the years.
Flash forward to 2013, when a new title in the DmC universe is released, this time developer Capcom is not at the helm, Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, Enslaved fame) took control of the series, taking a new look at the old story behind the famous demon slayer Dante. With this setup in mind, it’s time we take a look at this reboot of the series.
DmC starts us off in the shoes of a very young, very different looking Dante than we are used to. The token long white hair is now a butchered black crop on his head, the famous red trench coat transformed to charcoal black, and the standard sword and pistols that we have all come to know and love are right in his arsenal. The character may look different but surely some of the characteristics of the other world Dante transferred right?
Let me break it down for you; In both universes, Dante is cocky, taunts his enemies, is practically an adrenaline junkie especially in the face of danger, loves a fight, on an occasion has a foul mouth, and in the end has an overall profound sense of justice when he sets himself upon it.
That’s a lot in common for two alternate universes, so we get the sense that Ninja Theory tried to replicate the current Dante into their world, yet there will always be differences when it comes down to reboots.
For example, NT’s Dante lacks that certain flair that Capcom’s did. The new Dante feels less stylish, more repressed anger bubbling at the surface. Old Dante, while still some anger behind his threats/taunts, he was still playful, holding a sense of control within himself. New Dante feels so opposite of that, like the anger is the only thing that urges him on, most notably in his dialogue with certain bosses, were just vulgar shouts, threatening death in a brutal way.
Notable moments that were lacking in style or writing would definitely have to be the dialogue between the Succubus and Dante where the two proceeded to have an f’bomb battle and then Dante tells the Succubus to “suck this”. Originality it was not.
This also bring to mind another point that I found discerning. The amount of cuss words within each stage of the game, it was akin to having a script writer plucked from a 7th grader from middle school who just discovered the great vocabulary boosting words.
Now onto gameplay; the gameplay is essentially the same as previous DMC installments, the fast paced, action packed hack-n-slash combo filled fights that bring back a familiar feeling of power and grace as you switch weapons to deal with enemies of all kinds. Nothing was really destroyed with this combat system, just some added additions like the grapple mechanics that allow you to pull an enemy closer or pull yourself closer to the enemy. However there is one major flaw in the design of combat. No targeting feature. You can’t lock onto enemies in the midst of combat, while the style of action and combat flow follows more like Batman Arkham Asylum, in which you position your joystick in the direction of the wanted enemy.
This design flaw is a bit of a letdown, as at times I found myself slashing at thin air when the enemy was inches away. It disrupted the actual flow of battle and made it very frustrating at times.
The weapons, however, did make the combat much more enjoyable and by far more creative. From the trusty Ebony and Ivory to a three bladed pair of knives in which can spawn in to many more, creating a tornado around Dante. The weapons range in skill, special abilities, and speed, giving you a wide variety of moves and attack patterns to keep your foes off your back and keep them off the ground.
The one upsetting factor in the variety of weapons just happens to be the way the first 2-4 weapons are handed off like candy on Halloween night. I remember having to earn each of my weapons, killing a boss, never being handed anything. Sure it was nice to have variety early on, but it just felt way too forced, next time let me earn it.
Speaking of things being forced down your throat, we have the story to talk about. Story has never been lacking in DMC, however the one thing that was truly missing was any real details about the past of the sons of Sparda. Minus the obvious Human and Demon aspect, we never got to know about any background or previous life between the family itself. We got our wish with the new DmC, however it was jam packed within the confines of a single level, forcing what could have been drawn out to be two levels or spread out throughout the game, became what I could tally at 15-20 minutes worth of crammed history. It was as if the men and women at Ninja Theory just didn’t know how to stretch out a back story so they just threw a bunch of ideas together.
I enjoyed it despite its flaws. It was nice to get to look back at a possible past of both sons of Sparda. The rest of the game had a very cliché story behind it, so much so it hurt. Not one moment could surprise me, except one, but that would mean spoilers for you. I just felt with a new wash of a series, the game could have so much better of a plot. The most of it was killing the sub level demons over and over again, giving us only 5 boss battles within 20 levels of gameplay. I have to wonder how much time was spent in the making of this game, and if more time was given if we could have come up with a better storyline.
The graphics, for me, are one of the saving graces of this game. From the building artwork to the designs of the demons there are just many things that impress me. I can see so much darkness and evil within the realms of Limbo that you’re flung into that it feels as demonic as it should. The designs of the humans look life like, where in some games the jaw lines are too formed or their heads are disproportioned to their bodies. Not in this game, no sir. The game is so fantastically beautiful, it makes me feel somewhat better since the game is lacking in so many other departments. I don’t excuse the game for missing on many levels, but the graphics make up some of the negative.
The demons are creatively designed, from the harpies who look like marble dolls with wing coated with dark ooze, to the skeletal knight ranging from shields and swords to a powerful one handed blade. The level design is simplistic but brilliantly crafted, making each word come alive around you, sometimes quite literally.
Some of the bigger complaints I had were the load screens. It felt as if every five minutes they were there, especially within the second and third stages. The load screens just continually spammed either scenes that could cause epileptic fits, or random looping sound screeches which buzzed in your ear, which caused me some headaches while I playing or just waiting to play the next level. So many times, I was sure the load screens were going to be the death of me.
The sound quality was great at times, mostly the music, however there were plenty of flaws. Missing sound bites in the middle of cut scenes, the random looping buzzing sound during load screens or during gameplay. It is rather sad that you can’t catch such obvious things inside your game. It could be just that I was playing on the PS3 version, but still, a game shouldn’t be hit or miss depending on which console you have.
In the end, I have to say that Ninja Theory gave it their best shot with this title. That being said, I feel strongly that they could have done so much better. Sure the game is fun and has a way of entertaining you, it just felt all rather like a jumbled mess than a reboot. With the constant finger being flipped at the old DMC games with in game Easter eggs, DmC just feels as if it falls short of the great potential Dante and DMC once had.
Pros: Fantastic Graphics, Fun and creative fighting styles, powerful music, new approach to the series
Cons: Sound bites missing, Load screen Hell, Vulgar/Offensive Wrenched up to the max, Constant Middle finger to Old DMC, cliché story
Technical Score: 5
Personal Score: 7
Before any of you go crazy, I am not biased in any way towards the DMC franchise. They were and still are great games that I believe hit a special place in my heart but as this was a reboot I wasn’t expecting the same magic. That being said, the game had huge potential but just feels like it was all squandered away.
Also please check out my articles on another great site I contribute to, http://www.gamerfrolic.com. I am happy to contribute articles like these, expect more throught the weeks.