DmC: Devil May Cry

  • Genre: Action/Hack and Slash
  • Developer: Ninja Theory
  • Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
  • Release Date: January 15 2013
  • Version Reviewed: Xbox 360

Silence, ye of pesky little faith who were too busy whining about Dante’s new haircut to try this game for yourself. You go away. The rest of you please, come hither, grab a comfortable chair and let me tell you the story of when a Western Developer kicked Japan’s arse.

It all started back in 2001, when Capcom wanted to make the next instalment of their famed Resident Evil series. But what actually emerged was Devil May Cry, an entirely new franchise with an all-new American hero, half man, half demon, who spent his waking hours decimating monsters to metal music with his big sword. Fans sucked it up through their straws and burped with satisfaction, crying ‘More, please!’

But over ten years later, our leading man Dante is getting on in years and the cutesy Japanese edge he was born with is blunt from over-use. Capcom were smart enough to recognise this, so they put him up for adoption and Cambridge based developer Ninja Theory were the new proud parents.

That was the best decision in recent gaming history; DmC: Devil May Cry is fresh, it’s brand spanking new, it’s got it’s attitude back and even slaps you on the back of the head when you’re not looking. I blasted through every minute and though the fling only lasted ten hours, I wanted to give it my phone number and wait desperately for it to call me back.

Ninja Theory started from the ground up. You play a grass-roots Dante who has no idea about his past or family and doesn’t think an inch above his crotch. His world is your world, a city alive at night with subways, nightclubs and bad habits for a lad in his twenties. You instantly relate to him, which is all a gamer needs to get behind their hero. The dialogue is a vast improvement on the kitsch, pun-tastic history of this series too and the emotions and motives of the characters feel much more tangible. Though I’ll be damned if every other fucking word is the same fucking curse word trying too fucking hard to be cool. For fuck sake.

But the big fat question of course is combat. It is after all the lifeblood of Devil May Cry and it flows freely through the hyperventilated veins of the new DmC. You wield multiple weapons in this modern title, with devil arms, guns and a meaty array of combos to cleave, shoot and whip through. Stacking these combos is such a personal endeavour that you can customise it to your chosen fetish; spin a scythe through demon bellies, shoot mines into robotic cherubs and watch them explode or just jump up and punch a witch into the floor to shatter her into blood red orbs. Yummy yum yum.

To lambast the combat system would be juvenile, it just works beautifully. Not only does it honour the almost faultless fluidity of its predecessors, it upgrades it with an extra pinch of Ninja Theory salt. Somehow they managed that impossible task of staying true to the old framework whilst adding a creative edge that makes this game truly their own. My personal favourite are the devil arms. No longer are they manually selected, you simply crack a trigger and a devil arm appears until you let go and morph back into Rebellion. Each new addition to your arsenal is carefully woven into the narrative to allow you to master each flavour gradually and the environment morphs into the perfect training ground without even exerting itself. You’re a master demon slayer without having to master anything, it all feeds into you naturally and never takes you away from gameplay.

Another medal of honour for this game is the level design. It is a masterstroke of gorgeous graphics and incredible art design that lifts the overall experience above what most of us were expecting. From carnival piers and city back-alleys to the bowels of corporations and demonic nightclubs, you travel through a modern utopia that forgoes the obvious gothic playground you would envision.

Breaking through the fourth wall into a live news transmission was a satisfying twist on this norm. And then there is the parallel dimension of Limbo, a demonic perversion of the real world where Dante is met with inimical hostility from the walls themselves, stark white words scrawled onto the landscape to threaten and follow him, a notable and effective embodiment of the uncanny.

Replayability almost goes without saying. Each mission has its own set of doors, keys and collectibles that will always warrant another go and the levels are so gosh darn pretty. But for bigger appetites, the Vergil’s Downfall expansion pack is available March 6th, and right now you can download the free Bloody Palace upgrade, which is another sweet signature of the series with revamped generosity from the series’ new handlers.

So did Ninja Theory do a good job? Well, in answer to all the nervous twitches of snivelling fanboys, they stuck up a big one-two and patched a Union Jack on precious Dante’s sleeve. They aren’t just self aware, they’re rebels with pride in their own creation and that is exactly how handlers of Dante should act in my opinion – like the cocksure hero himself. So ignore the tripe and add this game to your collection. It will feel like a rebellion of its own and you’ll be glad you did it.

But if you do forgo this venture purely out of your own stubbornness? Well, I’ll let Dante answer that one…

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

One Comment on “DmC: Devil May Cry”

  1. Matt Blythe says:

    Really? It’s good? Shit! I lost the love after the first one. Yeah, the jump about slashing them and then shooting them in the face before landing gracefully was a buzz. But it was Capcom being… well… Capcom. Wacking on a mature rating then treating us like kids.

    But this iteration is good? Cool. I’m in.

    Um, anyone got a copy I can borrow? What??!! I’m poor, and need convincing before I decide between food and toys. (Yeah, toys always win).

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