Change can be a scary thing, especially when it comes to a beloved franchise or character. We get used to things being a certain way, and sometimes are so set in the old ways we blind ourselves to trying something new. DmC: Devil May Cry is a little new, but believe us, it’s well worth playing and perhaps the best Devil May Cry game to date.
DmC caught a lot of flak early on (and still is, surprisingly) for the redesign of its main character, Dante. No longer is he a large, overly muscular, white-haired man in a red trench coat. DmC finds him as a younger, slimmer and black-haired man. Would you believe the amount of outcry from fans when they saw he didn’t have white hair or a body builder physique? Dante is every bit the same, in fact, we wish he was perhaps a bit more naive and headstrong for his first outing, but the new Dante is no reason at all to not play this game.
If you can make it past the redesigned protagonist, DmC has some of the best combat we’ve ever seen in an action game. Nearly every move can be canceled or added to another move to make hundred-move-long combos that are capable of clearing entire rooms. In fact, a combo can go as long as there are enemies alive, thanks to Dante’s ability to either pull enemies to him, or pull himself to enemies. Dante still has his trusty sword, Rebellion, and his two guns, Ebony and Ivory, along with seven other weapons to complete his repertoire.
A major theme of DmC is Dante’s duality – as a Nephelim, he has both Demonic and Angelic sides to him, and this is represented largely in his weapons. Dante eventually gains two demonic and two angelic weapons, with the demonic weapons focused on slower, stronger strikes and the angelic weapons focused on continuous flurries of attacks, to build combos and gather enemies together. Each of these weapons can be swapped freely in combat and often must be used in tandem, such as using a demon weapon to destroy a shield or an angelic weapon to restrain a tough enemy.
However, the duality system leads to one of our biggest gripes in the game – certain enemies can only be harmed by either angelic or demonic weapons. Much of the game’s fun comes from being able to switch between weapons, and these enemies force you to only use less than half of your arsenal. These enemies don’t appear too often in the normal difficulties, but they tend to show up at just the wrong time to ruin a combo. On one hand these enemies force players to stay on their feet and change their strategies, but we wish they could be harmed by more than just one side.
Annoying enemies aside, combat is where DmC shines brighter than any other, and you’ll be hard pressed to find another action game that gives you as much freedom and mobility as DmC. The upcoming DLC, Bloody Palace, gives players 100 floors of nonstop enemy waves and bosses to do some really insane combos. Platforming and world traversal are the other half of the equation, and while not horrible, we found ourselves dying several times due to inaccurate jumps or misjudging Dante’s glide move, but platforming has never been the focus of Devil May Cry and it never will be, so these issues are minor at best.
The game also shines in the story department, with Dante fighting to defeat a demon ruling over mankind with subliminal messages and other dastardly ways. If you’ve ever seen the movie They Live, you’ll have an idea of what to expect here. It’s tongue-in-cheek fun, with Dante cracking wise and cursing up a storm the whole time. It’s silly and fun, with crazy boss fights and locations. Limbo, the game’s demonic world, is constantly changing and warping, making for some incredible level design.
When you add everything together – the best combat the series has seen, the best level design, a new, fresh take on the series mythology and characters, DmC is a complete recipe for success. It doesn’t succeed in every area, but the highs are so high that it can easily overcome the few lows it has. If you’re still hung up on the character redesign or think the combat is more casual, you’re missing out on one of the most fun experiences of the past few years. DmC has every right to be called a Devil May Cry game and hang with the rest of the genre’s best.