Capcom’s Devil May Cry reboot was met with considerably mixed opinions at the time of its announcement, and little has changed in the years since. However, having made its console debut this week (and arriving on PC later this month) the proof is most certainly in that emo shaped blood pudding. DmC: Devil May Cry may not be the videogame fans were asking for, but it is the one that they needed.
Washing away all that has gone before (bar some tongue-in-cheek references) DmC: Devil May Cry is a reboot in every respect. Playing as the style conscious Dante, who takes his cues from My Chemical Romance just as much as he does his original design, players are quickly invited into a dual-layered world: that in which the humans reside and Limbo City. Aided by Kat, a psychic that’s able to see into Limbo City while remaining in the human world, and his brother Virgil, Dante must fight against the demon horde to not only save the human race, but also discover the truth about his own past. The social commentary is a bit blunt, but regardless DmC: Devil May Cry delivers an impressive and enjoyable plot in between all of its hacking and slashing.
Of course, none of this would matter id there wasn’t some impressive bloodshed to go along with it all. And this is exactly DmC: Devil May Cry this best. Ninja Theory may have been using familiar foundations for their combat, but in doing so have developed one of the most rewarding modular combo systems ever seen in videogames. Using the Y and B buttons for close attacks and X for Ebony and Ivory – your twin pistols – DmC: Devil May Cry already equals most competitors. However, on top of this comes the variation in movesets. No longer is this established via changing stance, but rather your equipped weapon through the use of the triggers; holding the L trigger for angelic weapons and R trigger for demonic. Each new weapon has its own moveset, and players are invited to change between basic, angelic and demonic weapons at any point, even mid-combo.
The combo system is modular, meaning that players don’t have to wait for key moments in their attacks to change from one array to the next. After landing three blows of your four hit manoeuvre you may wish to change to a powerful uppercut strike, which is entirely possible. If all of this sounds a little complicated that’s because it is, and while DmC: Devil May Cry does offer a Training Mode on it’s main menu the drip feed of new abilities and movesets in the campaign is such that most players won’t need any additional practice, absorbing each new elements into their repertoire as it comes.
Along with this action is a number of different side missions and rewards, such as being able to collect orbs and use them as currency for items and new abilities. There’s a whole host of concept art that is unlocked as you progress and secret challenges that can be accessed by unlocking doors with the use of hidden keys. For many this will act as an optional extra, but for the completionsist this is just the right kind of additional trial needed to expand the life of the videogame.
The visual design of DmC: Devil May Cry is also worthy of note. While it may not be the most progressive title on current-generation hardware it is a very well rounded presentation with very few blemishes. The skin textures in particular are incredibly well implemented, with Dante, Virgil and Cat all appearing incredibly close to real life counterparts. The animation of Dante is truly fantastic, while some enemy character seem to be more limited than others. More so than the graphics however, should we be complementary of the sound design. The voice acting is simply fantastic throughout and the decision to have two different metal bands develop the accompanying soundtrack could not have been better judged. The clash of styles both during the action moments and cutscenes is simply pioneering work, and a design that we hope to see more of with the added capabilities that the next-generation of videogame consoles will surely bring.
Some seem to think it’s cool to hate DmC: Devil May Cry, and it’s cool to lash out at Ninja Theory because of it. But in truth, doing so is entirely missing the point. The videogames industry is all about progression, in both technology and entertainment, and DmC: Devil May Cry progresses that classic Devil May Cry formula far more than a simple continuation of the series could ever have done. DmC: Devil May Cry is the videogame that the fifth Devil May Cry needed to be to stay relevant, but more so it’s the true vision of what DmC: Devil May Cry can be on current-generation hardware.