Capcom has been taking s few risks this generation and so far it’s been getting mix reactions from fans. They transformed Resident Evil, a survival horror game into a mindless action game with next to no horror elements and now they have outsourced one of their biggest IPs to Ninja Theory, the developers behind two underrated games: Heavenly Sword and Enslaved.
I recently got a chance to play through the first 10 chapters of DmC: Devil May Cry and even though I must admit that the game has the typical Ninja Theory feel, it ultimately feels a wee bit similar to other games in the hack and slash genre.
I thought it would be best to segregate my impressions in a few points, some good and some that would need work by the developers.
Sex and Devil May Cry Don’t Go Hand In Hand
Sex doesn’t sell games. I have always held this opinion and will continue to do so. A franchise like Devil May Cry does not need women wearing skimpy clothes and seducing Dante. In the initial chapters, Dante is needlessly shown as a sexual deviant and this apparently makes zero sense within the story. It seems that developers are forgetting that it’s the gameplay that will sell copies. Showing women in skimpy clothes just to make Dante look cool and stylish falls flat on the ground.
Interesting Level Design
Enslaved had some unique level design and I am glad to report that the same can be applied for DmC. The underworld or the Limb,o as it is called in the game is intelligently designed, dazzling with vibrant colours that Ninja Theory is known for. Right from the spooky amusement park in the first chapter to a level where the entire gaming world goes upside down, the developers have added a sense of aura within the game.
Dante Seems Childish At Times
Now some might argue that this is an origins story so Dante may act in a childish manner. But some of the dialogues are downright childish and the over user of the F word does not make Dante look cool; it makes him look foolish. The Dante from the previous games in the franchise had an attitude with him and was no doubt a bad ass. The Dante in this reboot is more childish and immature.
Combos if Done Right Could be a lot of Fun
In my book, if there was an ever a top 10 list of best combos in a video game, Heavenly Sword will top that. The combos in that PlayStation 3 exclusive were absolutely amazing. So the developers have a vast experience in implementing the combos feature in a franchise like Devil May Cry. Using your Arbiter or Osiris along with your two loves, Ebony and Ivory in the right way could result into some amazing display of combat. Later on you will also find yourself equipped with the Eryx which transforms Dante’s hands into something which has a similar effect as that of Kratos’s Cestus. Your Arbiter and Osiris can also double up as rope to pull and push yourself towards an enemy making the combat more intense.
Too Much of It Is Derived From Similar Games
When I was playing through the preview build, I had no doubt in mind that the reboot is heavily inspired from other games in the genre. The platforming and moving from one point to another with the help of the Arbiter/Osiris is nothing new. I am not sure whether veteran Devil May Cry fans will be happy about this but for players who are trying their hand for the first time in the hack and slash genre might find some fun here.
Upgrade System Is Still Intact
Earn enough red orbs and buy items like health (still in good old star shaped) and an extra life. You can also upgrade all of the weapons you have found in the game by using upgrade points. So the old weapon/item system is still intact and I am happy that Ninja Theory did not changed it too much.
Captivating Sense of Scale and Vista
The game does not utilize Capcom’s in-house MT Framework but instead uses Unreal Engine 3 and the results are automatically amazing. Detailed character models, amazing sense of scale in the levels, colourful enemies and lightning effects make this new iteration of Devil May Cry look beautiful.
Intriguing Boss Battles
Over the course of 10 chapters, I found boss battles in the game to be challenging as well as funny. Most of it involves jumping at the right time and making use of your Arbiter/Osiris to navigate from one place to another. The voice actor for Succubus, one of the bosses in the game, has done an applauding job of making the it laughable as well as intimidating. Then there was a battle with Bob Barbas who is a reporter for the Raptor News Network. Dante tries to take him off air triggering Barbas to reveal his demonic form. Barbas’ demonic form looks like a giant, talking head. It will be interesting to see what different kind of boss battles the player will come across in the retail version.
Concluding my preview, I will like to add that this is not the Devil May Cry we know. A lot of gameplay elements have been changed and it will be interesting to see how the final version will pan out. One of my many concerns with this game is that it may get derivative over a period of time, but if Ninja Theory manages to add variety and awards the players every step of the way, things may get interesting. At this moment, I have mixed reactions for the game.
DmC: Devil May Cry releases January 2013 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.