DmC: Devil May Cry is a third-person action, hack ‘n slash game for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is a reboot/re-imaging of the Devil May Cry series and technically is the fifth iteration of the demon hunter. Ninja Theory handled the development of the title, which changes the tone dramatically. Capcom published the game and much like many of their current output that takes a chance, farmed the game to an outside developer. Ninja Theory is best known for the PS3 Goddess of War game, Heavenly Sword. Fan outcry was fiercely against this new version of Dante and plenty of design changes occurred during development of the game. There is a split between critics and fans on the quality of the game with fans resoundingly disliking it, but are they right?
Mundus, the king of demons, opens the game by talking with the President on the phone. In the conversation, he essentially holds the U.S.A (and by extension the world) at ransom because Mundus bought up all the world’s debt (thanks Obama)! This helps introduced the big bad for the game as an edgy/modern re-imagining because this guy is a banker/Wall Street person and he is not controlling the world through politics, but rather he is doing it with money! Yet having the world by the short hairs is not enough because the Son of Sparda is still out there and can muck up all his plans. Thus, he sends demons out into Limbo City (the amalgam of major Metropolitan cities the game takes place) to go kill Dante.
The story curbs some pieces from earlier Devil May Cry games while trying to refit them into a new vision. It does not really work because in rebooting the series, something that made the games cool and stylish is lost. Devil May Cry is hardly a game series known for depth of plot, but while trying to make a more serious game everything just comes off sillier. There was a genre feel to the earlier games and Dante was this cocksure rogue with cheek and attitude. Here Dante still make dumb jokes and is extremely arrogant, but it all seems unconvincing. There are interesting elements that could work with more elaborate, but everything is surface. It feels like DmC took a bunch of popular trends they saw during development threw them together and said, “yeah young people will like this”. It does not really work.
The gameplay of DMC: Devil May Cry is good, actually. Everything runs really smooth and beating up hordes of demons with Dante’s trusty rebellion and other weapons is quite satisfying. There are the standard mash combos with various mixes for aerial chains, charge attacks and ranged attacks. In DmC to reflect the new origins of Dante, he now has access to two different types of secondary weapons. There are two angelic weapons and two demonic weapons and switching between these different side’s weapons is done easily with the press of a button (in addition, scrolling through guns is done similarly) and switching between weapons during gameplay is fast and easy. With Dante having access to various types of weapon at any time during combat, it makes for more varied action and lets the player choose which build they prefer for taking out demons.
In addition to these secondary weapons related to angelic/demonic sides, Dante now has access to two grapples. The demon pull brings enemies toward Dante and angel grab will launch Dante at the enemy, each will be used to close gaps. These grab are integral to the various platforming sections that the game employs. For a Devil May Cry game, there are plenty of platforming sections. There is good variety to the enemy types Dante faces, but the game is sparse on boss fights, which is disappointing. For the most part, the boss fights are nothing special and nothing too challenging. Another problem is that compared to prior Devil May Cry games, there is a simplification in the move set. This makes it easier for people new to the series to get into it, but to fans of the series, it will likely seem too simple.
Graphic and Sound
There are plenty of pros and cons to the art style in DmC. The major con is that the redesigns for Dante and Vergil are kind of bad. Much ballyhoo was made on Dante’s Taylor Lautner style, however, it does not take long to become accustomed to and okay with the new look. Dante’s new style makes sense though in the context of today’s idea of edgy/rebellious, as original Dante was also indicative of the time. For better or worse. What is sadder is the butchering of Vergil. Ninja Theory turns Vergil into a weird dudebro who wears a fedora and an Ed Hardy trench coat with a mock turtleneck. He is a million times more terrifying than Mundus ever could hope to be. Despite these problems, it is fairly impressive graphically. The game looks really slick and is not too taxing on a system to get it looking pretty. There are some minor gripes with dumb filter effects that detract from the great visuals.
On the sound end, the voice acting is fine. The problem is that what they are saying is kind of silly, so by extension the performances tend to have varying mileage. Louis Herthum gives a great scenery chewing yet understated performance as Mundus. Sage Mears is also quite good as Kat and gives a convincing performance as the naïve Wiccan. Music duties were split between Noisia and Combichrist. The soundtrack is unbearable though. It is either too abrasive with the contributions from Combichrist or too similar, plodding and boring from Noisia. The lack of cohesion hurts and makes the music direction seem schizophrenic. However, depending on the player’s taste, the enjoyment of the soundtrack may vary.
There are dozens of reasons this is labeled as a Devil May Cry game, plenty of them for marketing and sales purposes. However, this never quite feels like a Devil May Cry game despite the looks and names. Ninja Theory could have created an original game revolving around half angels/demons and probably would have had less of a hill to climb. DmC never quite reaches the ridiculous heights that prior games in the series have set previously. It tries to shoehorn some over the top moments, but they seem out of the place with new tone. Despite some of the issues with the redesigns and the story, the game is fun to play and although the combat is abridged, it has its own merits. The truth of DmC is that it is not as bad as fans say, but it is not as good as the critical consensus indicates and falls somewhere in the middle, representing the core problem with the game.