DMC: Devil May Cry
DmC: Devil May Cry is Ninja Theory’s reboot of the popular and acclaimed Devil May Cry series. The developers have put a new spin on the franchise, and completely redesigned the title to deliver their own game, their own way. Can DmC replicate the quality of Ninja Theory’s previous title Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, or is it doomed to fall under the banner of another failed revival of a classic game?
Dante is a Nephilim, a Demon and Angel half breed, and the only race capable of stopping the demon king. That’s the general jist of the story here, but there’s a vast and complex lore to the world of DmC, and through the games character development we are told a thorough backstory of our protagonists and their connection to the demon lord Mundus. And while it was kind of clichéd, I enjoyed the character interactions between the player character Dante, his brother Vergil and the games love interest Kat, who is a member of Vergil’s ‘The Order’, a group of proclaimed ‘terrorists’ out to stop the demon forces that are seeking to take control of the world.
Ninja Theory have also throw some notable social and political commentaries into the storyline, with real world issues and ideals being exploited and transformed into devilish caricatures of themselves. These aren’t constantly thrown in the players’ face which I liked, but rather have their hands played under the surface, providing a tongue-in-cheek look into some social problems that haunt the real world and explains them with the hell spawn the game actually does feature. There is definitely substance here – it’s not all style without purpose, as some would have you believe.
DmC is a fast-paced hack’n’slash game, with gameplay heavily relying on combos and skilful combat. It does a very good job of countering button-mashing by requiring almost constant thought and changing of tactics and weapons, through a need to utilise different techniques to overcome different enemy archetypes and classes. You have three main weapon types; Angelic, Demonic and Standard. Normal attacks will just use your standard moves, which are essentially neutral and evenly powered. You then have to make use of the Left and Right Triggers for Angel and Demonic powered, respectfully. These are required for different enemies, who may only be susceptible to certain types of damage or attacks, and when things get really hairy – which is very common here – you will find yourself having to make constant use of all different types of combos and attacks if you hope to come out on top. You also have access to ranged weapons, but due to their extremely weak nature, I found them almost useless in every scenario.
The differences of the Demonic and Angelic powers also plays into the games adventure and platforming quite well. You have to use different grappling abilities to maneuver the environments, and when exploring off the beaten path to find yourself some collectables, there are some very well designed platforming areas that manage to use a somewhat linear mechanic (you can only use your abilities on set platforms and ledges), rather intelligently. Of course though, this is far from an action adventure game, with the platforming being a progression mechanic rather than a core game element. The real focus here is the combat, which I think Ninja Theory have handled spectacularly, delivering one of the finest examples of skilful hack’n’slash action I have played. Its deep, smart and most importantly – fun.
The game takes place in a fictional city, being controlled by the demon Mundus. The real problem though, is Dante finds himself constantly sucked into Limbo, a hellish vision of the real city, populated by demons all out to play with one objective; kill Dante. This is where most of the game is played, with the real world being primarily a story element through cutscenes.
The visual style of Limbo is one of the finest points of the title, with incredible art direction and environment design. Buildings morph and change into twisted demon structures, the settings around you can fall apart and reform, and generally becomes a frighteningly sick version of the real world. This happens both in cutscenes and in-game, and sometimes you’ll just feel the need to stop for a second and take in the beauty of the graphical design.
The artistic nature of the game carries this department, as from a graphical fidelity standpoint, the game is definably average. Models and textures are fairly unimpressive, and lack any real quality that would make the game stand out, especially for this late in the console lifecycle. Luckily what we do have though is acceptable enough to work well with the stylish direction and create an amazing overall visual package.
Unfortunately, this is often disrupted by some shoddy camera work (with stylish camera direction always comes a plethora of issues), with walls and platforms often getting in the way, and sometimes holes in the floors or platforming sections being unseen till it’s late. This can make some of the longer grappling/jumping sections a pain, when the character won’t point in the direction the game needs him to, resulting in death.
In an effort to further the unique style of DmC: Devil May Cry, Ninja Theory opted with dubstep/electronic artist Noisia, along with industrial band Combichrist, for the music. The result is a very cool soundtrack which really suits the ‘hip’ style of game, and can be very dark and fitting to the setting of Limbo and the demonic surroundings and creatures. The loud, prominent industrial beats in the gameplay make the action even more edgy and I found, enjoyable. This isn’t just a cheap cash in on the current fad of dubstep and electro music in the gaming scene, but rather an entirely fitting choice and inclusion.
The voice work is very good too, particularly Aussie actor Tim Phillips’ work as Dante, as well as Louis Herthum (The Last Exorcism, True Blood) as the primarily antagonist Mundus. All up, there is little to nothing to fault here, with well-polished and very well executed sound design.
- Fast, fluent and fun combat
- Polished core mechanics
- Good story and characters
- Excellent art design and direction
- Some camera and graphical issues
- Not a lot of originality
DmC: Devil May Cry is a true to form hack’n’slash title, with some of the most refined and polished core elements I’ve seen in a game like this. The visual style and art direction is simply stunning, and the game as a whole delivers a highly satisfying experience for old fans and newcomers alike. A must buy for action fans.
Written by Lax