Dante’s had a makeover and it’s for the better. Ninja Theory haven’t really set the world on fire with their past work but everyone learns, right. You did, I did, plenty of people did. It’s about getting chances to correct the wrong and apply whatever you have learned to churn out a better result.
Capcom did exactly that with entrusting them with a brand that is so dear to them and is one of the franchises that is synonymous with the company’s name. however, having such a franchise being siphoned off to another developer has consequences. Legions of devoted fans will be skeptical and for a good reason, some go overboard, some pick up irrelevant reasons to dismiss the game, and it’s all part of a adjustment period that some people just can’t cope with.
There were plenty of reasons to be worried about the DmC franchise after it was announced to be rebooted and shifted to a third-party engine instead of the superlative Capcom’s MT Framework engine. For hack and slash games where precision and solid framerates are a must, the decision to go with Unreal Engine 3 was baffling, and also resulted in the infamous “The feel of 60 fps” line that made many people shake their heads in bewilderment.
Framerates are not a reason for worry in DmC: Devil May Cry–the official name for the reboot. When you restart a franchise, the story has to be told again, kind of like those Spiderman movies Sony keeps making. Who is Dante, his brother, their parents, and basically what the hell is going on, everything is explained clearly in this game. Dante’s motive for taking out the main bad guy is based on revenge.
Being a Nephilim–offspring of an Angel and Demon–he has access to both Angelic and Demonic powers, and there’s his human form as well which lets him use Rebellion–the sword given by his father Sparda. Ninja Theory has stayed true to the franchise’s roots as evident by keeping some of the trademark moves like Stinger. What is different however is how Dante looks and behaves, which shouldn’t really be a big problem since he is designed pretty well.
The premise of the story is taking down a demon who was responsible for the death of Dante and Vergil’s mom, Eva, and ridding the world of demonic influence. The game is designed in such a way that demons cannot really walk amongst humans, and if you are going to be fighting them, you will be teleported to a world called Limbo, which is sort of an alternate version where you can create a lot of carnage without much consequences.
Just like the preceding DmC games, platforming and combat makes up the majority of things you will be doing in the game. This is where the game’s entire identity is based and Ninja Theory has done a good job in making the combat as proficient as the previous games. Dante will have access to numerous weapons and abilities which you can unlock as you keep playing the game. You need to use combinations of moves to take down certain enemies and will be ranked based on the time and variety of moves you do.
The heart of this reboot is a solid Devil May Cry game so all the concerns about bastardazing the franchise are unfounded. The British developer has to be applauded for handling things carefully here, and their close collaboration with Capcom on this game has certainly yielded positive results.
I’m disappointed that they went with Unreal Engine 3 because the game does look like a Unreal Engine game with horrific textures and terrible aliasing visible. However, due to the bright contrasting colours, they aren’t that striking and detrimental to your experience. The visuals are inconsistent and aren’t something to write home about. The art design is pretty weird as well considering the type of settings they had to design here, however, the level design is one of the best things about this game.
There are a lot of creatively designed levels with the disco one being the standout one. The use of disorienting lighting and the aggressive music will infuse you with energy to take out repetitive groups of enemies. The enemy variety seems to be a bit lacking here, since I probably can count them all with my 10 fingers. The game does a lot of things right and the soundtrack is one of them. For a hack and slash game such as this one, the music can be so vital and Ninja Theory have nailed that aspect with Combichrist churning out some incredible tracks.
It is very easy to execute combos here, and it’s much easier than the previous Devil May Cry games where unless you knew what you were doing, it simply resulted in button mashing. Here it isn’t that case and you get enough time to pick different weapon combination and keep the combo meter going. The enemies aren’t that potent either. I only had difficulties with the Dreamrunners, who wield dual swords and can teleport and attack you from anywhere.
The only part where you really need to master all the combos is when you want to maintain airtime and never come on the ground until you have despatched the enemy group. This can prove to be difficult as you need to switch really fast and quite a lot of weapons allow you to go up in the air and stay there. Some of them even pull up enemies for you to slash at so you don’t really have to manually throw them up while on the ground. This is where the combat system’s brilliance can be seen and it is really a worth successor to the previous DMC games.
The weapons can be upgraded obviously and it is not possible to upgrade everything you have in a single playthrough, but a new difficulty mode unlocks after you beat the game. The boss fights are something that was a bit underwhelming, with cringeworthy dialogue and writing, again, possibly a tribute to the previous games in the series. There are 20 missions in total and it took me 7 hours to beat the game, which is well not that bad, since the higher difficulties will be more challenging and the game is made with two playthroughs in mind so that you can get all the collectibles. Do check out our guide for that.
DmC: Devil May Cry shows the ability of a developer under immense pressure from fans and from a company that handed over one of its prestigious franchises to them. It was easy to screw up, but they didn’t. This is a game that is suited to both veterans and newbies alike, and is slightly forgiving for newcomers. You want to do all the cool combos but don’t know which button to press? Well, fret not, the game is accommodating and you will have a good time with it.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.