I suppose being the spawn of angels and demons must make it difficult to land a typical 9-5 job but if you’re carrying the kinds of skills that Dante has at his disposal it’s not going to ruin your popularity in the slightest. Designed to be a westernised “reboot” of the Devil May Cry series which first made its mark on the PlayStation 2, DmC: Devil May Cry from developer Ninja Theory takes its cues from past games but goes in its own direction which may have divided fans but is totally OK by me because truth be told the previous titles didn’t really grab my interest.
The game avoids diving into too much backstory initially by thrusting Dante into the action immediately as his home is attacked by demons and in doing so drag him into Limbo which is a kind of a twisted parallel dimension to the “real” world. His battles take place in Limbo but inevitably impact the other world as you soon see. Completing the opening mission to the game does a great job of showing those consequences to the world but in all honesty it doesn’t really make a difference to your character just helps make up some really twisted looking settings to run rampant in.
As you play through DmC you steadily acquire the weapons you need to take on the various foes in the game as well as open up new areas. One thing I really appreciated was how the weapons map to the triggers and make the face buttons on the controller contextual which I think is a clever way of keeping the combat fluid and avoiding players having to constantly switch out through inventory menus. For the players with high controller dexterity, it won’t take much to be pummelling enemies with their current arsenal all in the space of a few seconds. For everyone else, it’s easy enough to spam a particular weapon and still feel like a demon killer.
If I were to compare it to another game that I’m familiar with, I’d say it reminds me a lot of Bayonetta with its imaginative locations, stylish combat but with slightly less innuendo. Even with the multi-digit gymnastics required to pull off many of the moves you can still feel like a bad-ass which makes it a less intimidating than PlatinumGames title. Still, there were times when my feeble fingers weren’t up to the task but it’s never felt like any of the challenges were insurmountable at the default difficulty and I was usually able to succeed after subsequent attempts.
DmC looks really good. The environments are not always excessively detailed but the special effects do wonders for setting the atmosphere. Inanimate items mangling themselves and “ghosts” of people in the real world wandering around are just a couple of the neat little touches that help set the tone of Limbo. A few brilliantly imaginative areas that take advantage of twisted architecture and colour are stand outs. You can see how Ninja Theory’s work here might later influence Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice as Limbo shares similar qualities to Senua’s distorted visions during her quest. It might not be intentional but the lineage is there to see.
With Ninja Theory now off on new projects under Microsoft, it’s unlikely we’ll see another spin on the DmC franchise quite like this one but Capcom deserves a lot of credit for trying something different and seeing where it goes. And DmC has already succeeded for me in a way that the other games didn’t in that I was constantly coming back to play through stages keen to see what was next and that’s good enough for me. Who knows… I might come back to the other games now. 🙂
DmC: Devil May Cry is out now on PC, Xbox 360/One and PlayStation 3/4. Reviewed on Xbox One X.