Thursday, 31 January 2013

DmC:Devil May Cry - Dante returns...wait, his hair is black?


Devil May Cry has been a fairly iconic series for Capcom since it's original release back on the Playstation 2 in 2001, so when Ninja Theory showed up with a retake on the title, and some kid essentially posing as Dante, we all raged. And we did, and we expected to just bash it to hell because it wasn't THE Dante we all wanted. But fortunately, things took a different turn as more was revealed. Now the question is, Does DmC match up? And how does it stand as a new title in itself?

DmC starts off by showing off the new dante in a strip club, with an all new attitude, and a thing for the ladies. Following the intro cinematic and the introduction of Kat straight at the beginning of the game with a rather under-dressed dante, you get flung into where you spend 95% of the game, Limbo, and learn soon after someone is targetting Dante, and he gets pulled into Limbo whenever they find him. It's quite the interesting idea, one that is eerie yet strangely gorgeous to gaze your eyes upon. The whole world is basically pulled into the demon realm. Asides from an area or two, it's has a great aesthetic to it, never being truly bland. Dante can only use his sword in limbo, as it's a demon weapon, so anytime you may spend outside of it, you don't do combat. It's basically story based segments leading up to limbo. Perhaps a missed opportunity, but a minor complaint all the same. while the story doesn't focus on limbo, you get a basic jist of what it is from explained, and from the world itself. It's well executed, and the characters do help to carry it forward as well. What's more, you can easily tell that one of the main choices in this re-take was to essentially add the modern world to DmC, something that becomes more evident and maybe more relavent in the later half of the game.

Characters wise, Dante still has that attitude of his, but made to suit that new age and look to him. He's quite the ladies man, enjoys his booze, and still has that "couldn't care less" approach to everything. If it doesn't affect him, he won't care. Good to see it stick, but the development of him learning who he is, what his past is, his relationship to Vergil and who Mundas is adds a new depth to him that really hasn't been explored before. Also, for those that wonder, why his hair isn't white is dealt with too. Panic over. Vergil is not bad, though i feel he doesn't get covered as much as he could. He wants Mundas dead, and will do anything to get it done. People knowing the series prior to this will know what's in store for him later, but it's covered subtly throughout the later half of the game. Kat acts as a good grounding for Dante in this. She's there to help Vergil however she can, and eventually for Dante too, helping when she can and however she can. Being able to see Limbo plays a lot into the progression of things. Overall she's a pretty well designed character, one whom i'd love to see more of.

Get that style combo up and you'll be hitting SSS in no time

Now gameplay. Combat is extremely fluid, and feels fantastic when you get it down, i'd even go as far as to say it's the best of the series in many ways It doesn't take long to get to grips with things, and they've happily supplied you with a training mode in the menu so you can work with combos and learning how to switch between weapons. The longer you can keep your combo going without getting Hit, the more rewarding it is. The Style system ranges from D to SSS, based on your attacks/combos, and how you mix it up. Just doing the one combo all the time will stop it increasing after a while, so upgrading for more attacks is quite handy. All your attacks come from Y(triangle) and B(circle). B being a launcher, Y being your main attack. And X(square) of course, being your guns. You get demon and angel weapons not too far into the game which require you to holding down the right and left triggers respectively to activate and you can dodge with RB/LB(R1/L1). Angel weapons are generally faster and weaker while demon is slow but deadly. Trying to find the best ways to mix these up for SSS is a nice challenge, but it's not so daunting as to scare away new players. it's introduces you fairly gently, and you get the grasp of things by experimenting when you can as well. Devil Trigger allows dante to change into his old colour scheme(red clothes, white hair) and the world to turn white, in this mode throws enemies to the air and you do more damage, take less, health regens, you also get bonus style for air combos, so use it to your advantage. While there is some minor hiccups in framerate here and there, combat doesn't ever really get affected by this, so the performance is top notch as well.

The levels don't take too long to complete, i'd say you'd get about 5-7 hours of gameplay before you beat the game on your first playthrough, and then you could easily best the game afterwards in about 2 hours when you try to increase your rank and find all the secrets. It's pretty much all linear as well, though the secrets usually have you searching a bit. Keys for doors to secret missions are scattered everywhere, and Lost Souls are hidden in most levels too. Cleverly, or to some irritating, you can't get everything in the early levels straight away. You need to progress some first then go back to old ones to get what you couldn't. This helps increase the replayability. The difficulty is my main issue. Of the three you start with, Nephilim is the hardest. And the main concern i have is that it feels more like normal than anything else. Companies still have this tendency to make "hard" normal now, and it bothers me. Thankfully the 4 extra difficulties you unlock after make up for it. I'd have just liked a bit more complexity on my first playthrough. Also, for those of you that like a challenge, there is the "complete the game on Nephilim with all stages SSS'd" which, at the time of writing this, seems to be all i'm focusing on instead of the next difficulty.

Revisiting early levels with new weapons can grant you access to new secrets

And of course, lastly, the music. The game goes for that heavy to death metal style, which to those that have played DMC before will recognise as a staple for the series. It really gets you going in the early levels too, with a fairly decent soundtrack. It's not my music of choice, but with DmC, it never feels out of place.

All in all, DmC stands it's ground. The combat is easy to learn and incredibly well executed and both the story and characters are well designed, surprisingly deep and interesting for DmC, with so much more obviously set to tell. Sure this isn't the old Dante, but this one stands on his own two feet, and is just as deadly as the previous one. Give DmC a chance, don't just throw it under the rug and imagine it doesn't exist, i think it may surprise you just how good this game is.

Please note i've not touched the PC version of the game, so i can't really add anything about performance or framerate for that here.

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