DMC Devil May Cry Review

Ninja Theory, developer of the brilliant “Heavenly Sword” and “Enslaved:
Odyssey to the West”, has one of the worst positions in the industry
right now. Despite Capcom giving them full graces to do what they want
with the perpetually popular “Devil May Cry” franchise, they have an
angry herd of gamers with a disdain for change refusing to play their
breakthrough game because of several moronic, petty reasons. The biggest
one of these is that Dante no longer has white hair, and that it’s not
Japanese enough, and… well, you get the point. These talented men and
women have put years of effort into this project, and people aren’t
biting because of the protagonist’s haircut. Ahh, don’t you love gamers
sometimes?

It’s a shame, though, really. Those people aren’t
playing this game because of a silly little bowl cut, and consequently,
are missing out on one of the best, most explosive and politically
potent games in recent years. “DmC: Devil May Cry” is brilliant on
virtually every possible level, and for those who don’t give a donkey’s
rear end about hairstyles and just want a great game, it’s simply a
must-play.

Set in an alternate universe to the previous entries,
“DmC” follows demon hunter Dante, a rambunctious young man who enjoys
threesomes, pizza, and parading around in the nude. Imagine his surprise
when he finds out that he’s actually an angel-demon half-breed, and
that a demon lord runs the world’s biggest bank, and that half-breeds
are the only ones who can stop such a powerful foe. Further exacerbating
this problem is the fact that the city he lives in is, quite literally,
trying to kill him, and routinely changes forms and coughs up demonic
foes to put an end to his demon hunting days. Add in a long-lost
brother, a graffiti-spraying witch, and enemies that consist of soda
companies and corrupt news organizations, and you’ve got a zany plot
full of twists and turns.

There are two elements that make the
story such a winner, and the first one of these is simply Dante himself.
It was admittedly risky tampering with such an established character,
but lo and behold, the masters at Ninja Theory have pulled it off
beautifully. Having even more style and panache than his predecessor,
this reborn protagonist has a streak to him the old one simply did not:
he’s quite likable. While I thought the original Dante was just as
pretty and flashy as the next guy, even diehard fans of the original
games admit that he’s a bit of a tool, and an unabashed dork. While I
can understand growing attached to such a character, current gamers
might not be as receptive to him. This isn’t true with the new version,
who is just the right amount of cocky and levelheaded to be instantly
liked. Full of witty one-liners, unconventional approaches to troubling
situations, yet with enough pathos to be easily sympathized with, the
new Dante is a winner.

The second thing that makes the narrative
so engrossing is how bold it is. Ninja Theory is known for
unconventional storytelling choices (Nariko’s fate in “Heavenly Sword”,
the live-action ending of “Enslaved”), but this time, they’ve gone out
of their way to send a scathing message to Americans. They start by
making the world’s economy rigged to satiate the whims of demons, making
the little guys suffer. But they placate society by spiking the world’s
most popular drink with a “secret formula” (sound familiar?), which is
actually a psychotropic to keep them fat and dumb. These fat and dumb
people get their news from a corrupt news organization, spearheaded by a
man with a receding hairline who looks almost identical to Bill
O’Reilly.

“DmC” is a vicious assault on American economics, news
and consumer culture, and it’s absolutely beautiful because of it. I
would hazard to say this game may become unpopular because of how
blatantly and gloriously offensive it is, and how many sponsors it
probably alienated due to its outwardly political stance. Kudos to the
writers for not backing down from their gutsy artistic vision.

Not
to say this game skimps on content when it gets down to hacking and
slashing. The developers have taken their experience from past games and
mashed it together with the classic, combo-driven gameplay people have
come to expect from the franchise. It’s a beautiful mixture, much like
virtually anything from Starbucks, and with new enemies constantly
introduced, players are forced to keep on their toes and not mindlessly
button-mash to win. This never feels unfair, however, due to the routine
upgrades you’ll be doing to Dante, who has loads of unlockable moves
and combos for his varied and satisfying arsenal. Combat is fast,
furious, and full of depth, so whether you like laying the smack-down on
hordes of enemies, or tweaking characters to your play style (all
upgrades can be undone and swapped at anytime), you’ll find something to
love here.

What should definitely be pointed out about this
entry, in comparison to the older ones, is that the platforming is
finally something worth calling home about. That’s actually an
understatement, because the simple act of jumping on stuff in “DmC” is
something special, something fun, something fresh. Dante has a
double-jump, a mid-air boost, a chain that pulls him into things, and a
chain that pulls things into him. Keep in mind that the environments are
always changing with every step, so when you’re not staying alert
during battles, you’re on pins and needles trying to stay on solid
ground. Heck, sometimes they even mix the two. On the gameplay front,
much like the story front, “DmC” is positively flawless.

Now,
it’s obvious that this is something Capcom threw a lot of money behind,
because this game is a feast for the eyes. The world of “DmC” is full of
imagination, with pavement that rips out of the ground and spirals into
the ground, buildings that warp and compress in attempts to kill Dante,
and a strange alternate dimension suspended in the sky. The set pieces
are all gorgeous, running the gamut of different settings, from a
demented carnival to a soda factory from hell. Especially worth noting
is how much effort went into crafting a set of unique and varied
enemies, which has always been a defining trait of the series. I’d
hazard to say this is the most original and best-looking bestiary in a
“Devil May Cry” game so far, in fact. Art direction is more beautiful
than anything we’ve ever seen in the franchise, and it’s wonderful to
see such imagination replacing the somewhat drab settings of previous
entries.

It’s even better that the art direction pops from the
gorgeous graphics. This is one of the best uses of the Unreal engine on
the market, period. Animation is fluid, and every inch of the world is
beautiful to look at… well, as beautiful as a city that’s alive and
trying to knock off the protagonist can be, anyway. Wherever you look,
Ninja Theory’s city of Limbo is gorgeous, as are its inhabitants. Once
again, the developer has achieved perfection in this area.

Making
this the complete package is the killer soundtrack, done by Noisia and
Combichrist. Taking a cue from “Max Payne 3”, whose entire soundtrack
was done by rock band Health, “DmC” has an entire score composed by
these two talented groups, who come together and make a ode to gorgeous
musical overkill. Noisia is an electronica trio, and Combichrist is a
metal group, so you can pretty much guess the kind of music you’ll get
here. Loud, fast and pounding synthesizers pump hand-in-hand with
wailing guitars and screaming male vocals for a good portion of the
game, and surprisingly, this works.

The main reason this type of
music doesn’t annoy here is that it really fits the entire mood of the
game, which is one of decadence and flash. Even the brief dives into
dubstep territory are enjoyable, and both groups know when to keep the
music low-key for more emotional and serious moments. This soundtrack is
triumphant, and a perfect match for the atmosphere.

Finishing
out the strong post-production elements is the voice acting, which is
done by a relatively unknown cast who manage to pull it off perfectly.
The biggest joy here is definitely Tim Phillipps as Dante, who brings a
charming rogue streak to the character, balancing cocky, funny and angry
at regular intervals. Here’s hoping he stays on board for future
entries. Another highlight is David de Lautour as the new and improved
Vergil, who has a very “Occupy Wall Street” air about him. Other
characters, such as graffiti-tagging witch Kat, and a truly ominous main
villain make this the complete audio and visual experience.

That
isn’t to say that there aren’t a few niggling flaws holding “DmC” back
from complete, sublime perfection, however. The biggest one would have
to be the contrived and bothersome bonus stages. Sure, you don’t have to
do them, but if you opt to, prepare for some cut-and-paste racing and
combat sequences. And if you don’t do them, your overall level score
gets brought down, which is relatively annoying. Another small gripe is
the amount of time it takes to load levels; it’s not painful, but it
takes longer than it feels like it should. But because the game is
gorgeous, and has a lot going in each sprawling level, it’s forgivable.

These
are two tiny little chips in what is otherwise a glorious suit of
armor, however. Perfectly balancing plot, gameplay, graphics and music,
and mixing in excellent voice acting and brilliant social commentary,
Ninja Theory’s take on the “Devil May Cry” may very well be the best
entry in the series since its inception. Devilishly brilliant and fun,
“DmC: Devil May Cry” is already a prime candidate for Game of the Year.

But hey, maybe you shouldn’t get it. After all, he doesn’t have white hair…

Verdict: 80/100

Details:
Genre

Action
Style

Third-Person 3D Action
Themes

Demons
Release Date

January 25, 2013
Developer

QLOC S.A.
Publisher

Capcom USA, Inc.
Flags

Downloadable Release

3 thoughts on “DMC Devil May Cry Review”

  1. Totally agree, oh and the Classic Dante outfit, is unlocable on the PSN and Steam and also you unlock a White haired Dante by finishing the game a first time, enjoy.

  2. i have played DmC 5

    simply, they have ruined the game

    – Dante's character is lame compared to Dmc3 and 4.

    – Dante's and Virgil's voices can't be compared to Dmc3

    – Virgil is ((Very, Very, Very)) weak

    – the game colors are confusing

    – The music is acceptable

    finally, the game is very short and not challenging at all

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