One of my favorite franchises of the last 2 console generations has been Devil May Cry. The first title in the series was a both difficult and fun, a rare combination. It wasn’t Dark Souls difficult or Diablo 3: Inferno difficult but it was tough.
The title’s greatest and most effective hook was that as the player you experienced a recurring urge to pick a fight just to unleash Dante’s formidable arsenal on the demon world. The original DMC had style and it didn’t find it again until DMC 3. The good news is that it has found it once more in this retelling of the Sons of Sparda (good guys) and their journey to unseat Mundus (bad guy).
Regardless of whether or not you approve of Dante’s new emo haircut (much ado about nothing in my opinion), you will find that there is substance and replay value to DMC: Devil May Cry. The game boasts 7 difficulty levels and only the hardest of the hardcore will even indulge the final challenge which gives enemies a full health meter but Dante will die if he receives even a single hit. Not for me.
Replay value is also encouraged as there are areas and secret missions on certain levels that are unreachable without certain weapons that Dante will acquire later in the game. Beyond level completion there is an impetus to replay levels in order to refine your combat style. There is a training mode that allows you to do this against a single ‘dummy’ enemy that never attacks you but that becomes tiresome in short order.
There are a handful of levels that are design standouts including one that is truly outstanding and may be the best of the entire series. I replayed it immediately upon clearing it the first time. I will not spoil it here and will give no clues but you will know it when you see it.
Another hallmark of the DMC series has been the soundtrack that accompanies the beating you give the hell spawn. CombiChrist sets the electronica laden theme with tracks from ‘Making Monsters’ and “What the F*ck is wrong with you People’. The choice of artist works and you may find yourself raising the volume during battle sequences.
A couple of criticisms are necessary in the interest of unbiased opinion. Devil Trigger is introduced a bit late in the game for my taste. It is such an integral mechanic of the game and it is somewhat downplayed in this entry. My only hypothesis to this deviation is that the developers didn’t want players leaning on it as a crutch, forcing core combat mechanics to be the foundation of play style.
There is also a fair amount of platforming that will drive most new players berserk and cause a few seasoned vets to laugh and scratch their heads. I could have used a few more waves of enemies and fewer grappling labyrinths that test nothing but Simon-says type reflexes and my patience.
The thread that weaves everything together is the cut scenes that introduce and punctuate each chapter and the narrative that drives the story. Developers Ninja Theory recycled the tale of Dante and Virgil with a few tweaks here and there. The product is both nostalgic and efficient. They are well written as well as funny. Dante, Virgil and Cat are all likeable and the villains are all equally disdainful. Most fans of the franchise will probably concur.
All in all this is a very complete title with a deep combat system that offers a thousand ways to skin, slice, smash and ignite the proverbial cat. My bet is you will find yourself going back for seconds.