Review – Devil May Cry
When the initial trailer for UK studio Ninja Theory’s reboot of Capcom’s Devil May Cry series was debuted in 2010, the fan backlash was one of the largest in recent memory. Screams of how Dante had become “emo” filled the internet as fans of the series felt that it wasn’t being looked after properly. Almost 3 years later the final product has been released, but have Ninja Theory managed to achieve the seemingly impossible and give fans something to be happy about?
Ninja Theory’s take on the Devil May Cry series is one that takes a fairly substantial shift in direction when it comes to plot and setting compared to the original series. This time the story is set in a human world which is, unbeknownst to it’s inhabitants, actually controlled by demons. They rule from a place called Limbo, which is an alternate demon world laid on top of the human one that only a few people can access, it’s this world that the majority of the game takes place. The demons use a variety of methods to brainwash and control the humans, from the media and security cameras all the way to the main drink of the world ‘Virtility’ (which is actually a disgusting bodily fluid from a demon Succubus, lovely!). The plot is orientated around Dante and his brother Vergil who are both Nephilim (the sons of both an Angel and a Demon, they are the only ones with the power to kill a demon) and their mission to enact revenge on Mundus, the archdemon of Limbo for his crimes against their parents and the human world. The plot isn’t going to change the world, but it is entertaining enough to drive the game forwards, and it does have a satisfying ending.
But let’s be honest, the plot isn’t really why you play a Devil May Cry game now is it? The main reason the past games have been so popular is the combat system and the gameplay. The main worry expressed by fans and critics alike when Capcom announced that they were handing the series over was whether the gameplay would maintain the same level of complexity as the original series. I’m happy to report that, while not quite as deep as the originals, Ninja Theory has created a combat system that has many layers of depth and encourages creativity when it comes to combos. Over the course of the game you will pick up 2 angel weapons, 2 demon weapons and 2 new guns, add this to the standard Rebellion, Ebony & Ivory that you get at the start of the game and you have a large number of options when it comes to combat. All of the weapons are accessible via the D-pad at any point, which while I wasn’t too keen on the idea when I first heard of it, is actually very intuitive and allows for switching of weapons very easily within combos. It’s a good thing too as at the end of each level you are given a variety of ranks for your performance during the level, the most important rank of this is the style rank. As any Devil May Cry fan can attest to, gaining a SSS rank for style is a great feeling, and it’s mostly responsible for the replayability that the series is known for. Luckily one of DmC’s greatest success’ is the fact that obtaining one of these ranks makes you feel as much, if not more of a badass than you ever did in the old games and it’s this that keeps you coming back for more. DmC is an addictive game, as soon as I finished the campaign (which clocks in at around 7 hours, short, but the replayability is there) I jumped straight back in on the newly unlocked Son of Sparda difficulty and hacked some more demons apart. It’s this drive to perfect the most stylish combo and dispatch demons in interesting and efficient ways that makes Devil May Cry so great.
Personally however my favourite aspect of the game is it’s visuals. Devil May Cry is stunning. The human world is drab and grey as you would expect from a modern game however that all changes once you enter Limbo. The demon world is a feast for the eyes. Colour bursts from everywhere as the world explodes and mutates in it’s attempt to kill off Dante. Spikes of demon taint burst through the ground in front of you, all manner of scenery passes by as you zip your way through the game’s platforming sections and the environments are varied so that you never feel like you’re in the same place twice during the game. The level design is also really cool, most of Limbo exists in a semi zero gravity state. This means that you’ll be flying around all over the place, climbing crates that are suspended in the air or jumping between hovering pieces of land, it’s all well designed stuff. In order to traverse these sections though you need to go through one of the games many platforming sections. These are the weakest point of the game as they generally consist of pulling yourself from one point to another until you reach the end of the sequence and nothing more. They do provide a way to see more of Ninja Theory’s well designed world though so you can’t complain about them too much.
Also worth mentioning is the sound design. DmC sounds suitably meaty as you slice and dice your way through a demon horde, and the demons themselves make a variety of demonic and sometimes disgusting noises which match their designs perfectly. The voice acting is also very good, with the lead cast (Dante, Vergil, Kat and Mundus) all providing great performances that match their characters wonderfully. Vergil is Calm and collected, Dante is the right amount of sarcastic without coming off as obnoxious and both Kat and Mundus provide great supporting performances too. Easily the best part of the sound design however is the soundtrack. DmC’s soundtrack is a mixture between the metal music of Combichrist and the bass music from Noisa, a great mix in its own right, but DmC does something special with it. During the gameplay the higher your current style score is the more layers of the song you get to listen to meaning that while you play the music builds along with your style ranking. This is a genius move by Ninja Theory because it really engrosses you into the combat and is fantastic for causing momentum. It also helps that a majority of the soundtrack is actually really good too (Lilith’s Club is my personal favourite track).
Overall DmC is a very well put together game, the art style is phenomenal, the plot is interesting enough to keep you engaged and the combat is satisfying enough to keep you coming back for more. If you are a fan of combo mashing action games this is a must, if you’re interested in the game I highly advise giving it a shot, I enjoyed it immensely and am actually looking forward to playing the post release DLC.
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