For those of you who may be knew to this blog or a Fullicide review, welcome! This review uses a unique score system that can be read about here. I will also be posting another article tomorrow that will elaborate further on the purpose of the scoring method. As always, if you have comments, questions, or concerns feel free to say anything!
The Brothers Demon has returned. After almost five years of being away, one of Capcomís most loved series gets a reboot, but was it for the better or worse? When the reboot was announced and Danteís new look was revealed, all of it having the air of a prequel about it, it was much to the dismay of the seriesí fans. The Devil May Cry universe is one steeped in detailed lore after all, so if one wanted to know the origin of the hero, Dante, they could easily read about it.
It was clear that this younger, black haired, Dante was not the kid from the chronicles of the series. If his looks werenít enough to convince you otherwise, even his signature weapons had a makeover as well. So the question became if Ninja Theoryís DmC was going to be a fresh reboot of the series, a change in the universe that is Devil May Cry? Or would it be an attempt to make a prequel that rested outside the lore? Much like 343, the team who has taken the reigns of the Halo franchise, Ninja Theory has a very heavy task set in front of them; by their hands the series could be driven into the ground.
[Dante returns, maybe not in looks but definitely in character.]
Fortunately for fans of the universe, and for any new comers who pick up the game, they will be pleased to find that this franchise was placed in the right hands. DmC is, in fact, a variation of Devil May Cryís lore that uses recognizable faces and fiction to set the stage for a new series. Many of the changes that some were highly concerned about were actually not maintained, and Ninja Theory demonstrates that they understood what made the games so loved to begin with.
The opening of the game is a literal head nod to the Dante of old. With references to the names of his weapons, a mishap with a wig, women, drinking, pizza, and an unmistakable attitude, our old protagonist has been reborn again. He is quickly introduced to another member of the leading cast, Kat, and the game has no hesitation throwing the player right into the fray.
[Welcome to Limbo...that, or you just took acid...]
Youíre immediately stalked by a beast known as a Hunter on what was a busy, bustling, entertainment pier; that all changes when youíre dragged into Limbo though. Limbo is Ninja Theoryís interpretation of the spaces that used to become the battlefield in the older games. For those who donít know, in the older games, you would enter a space and the exits would be sealed off via red demonic walls. Instead of this, the devs created a world in between that of the humans and demons, where those that can see demons, like Dante and Kat, can interact and even combat the entities of darkness. Limbo tears into the human world, making it look very chaotic and similar to that of a world in which demons inhabit. Itís beautifully done, with all of the shifting and manipulation of whatís left of the human side of things meshing with the ghoulish elements. Unfortunately all battles are fought in Limbo though, and while the battle grounds are fantastic, the player does get to control Dante in the realm of the humans, and it would have been nice to have seen how he handled things there. Either way, Limbo is the center piece to the ensemble DmC brings together.
Kat, an unfamiliar name to the franchise, is a sort of wicken of the future. Sheís a very welcome addition no matter how you break her down. Sheís attractive, but clearly jaded, possessing power and knowledge that will likely cause the player to gain respect for her as opposed to ogling over her. Much like Danteís attitude shift in the game, itís easy to change your perspective of the female protagonist. The player might feel an initial sense of unease with Kat that will fluidly shift to wanting to protect her; it all flows pretty well with an unexpected strength in the story.
The mysterious Kat is here to help guide you through Limbo.
Most of the cues for the story of DmC are taken from Devil May Cry 3, arguably the best game of the former series; that the reader may take as they see it. Mundus, the God of the Demonic Realm is the primary antagonist, and does a fashionable and even admirable role of being the corrupt business man possessed by a demon. Itís clichťd, old, and going into the game I did not like the central idea of the antagonist. Shockingly, I enjoyed his role and the ideas that come together to make him a threat.
With the outright inclusion of Virgil in this game the whole story has an unmistakable tension about it. How Ninja Theory interprets his role and whether or not he plays a more devious or sinister role was a question that persisted with me as I played through the whole game, wondering if he would be a true brother, or would yet again be my enemy. For every scene in which Dante and Virgil shared the screen together, there was a suspense that could only be described as stabbing. The real thrill that Virgil represented for me was having another opportunity to jointly be in combat with him, or even just witness him in combat. Unfortunately, similar to the let down of the combat system, I canít really say that you ever really watch Virgil in combat, heís just kind of there.
[Seriously, you donít want to be standing there.]
The combat for DmC is fairly similar to any former game in the franchiseís name, which is to be expected. Itís fairly fast paced, with uses multiple guns outside of just Ebony and Ivory. Players will also obtain angel and demon weapons which can be immediately swapped to by pressing the left or right triggers. Each allows for a different set of combos, and varied forms of damage. Demonic weapons deal very heavy single target damage, and angel weapons working best in crowd control, both allow a flow of combos between all weapons in your arsenal. Each style also offers Dante other significant abilities that help him to manipulate the environment or even his enemies. The one detriment that I noted was the lack of variety that the combat system offered in upgrades.
Danteís got his old arsenal of moves back, and itís likely that some will really enjoy this. If youíre like me though, youíll find yourself scratching your head at what to spend your upgrade points on half way through the game. Sure, all of the moves are cool but not all of them have real, in game purposes. Some are just kind of there, hard to execute, and generally wonít make a difference against harder opponents. Itís nice to see that many of the son of Spardaís moves were maintained, but I really wish Ninja Theory would have branched out a bit more, giving him some new flavor in battle.
[Be the white haired hero once more.]
This reboot for DmC by Ninja Theory was done very well, but it is also very safe. The team was clearly very familiar with the strongest points of the series past, and stuck with a similar formula. They made concepts like limbo, and the story of DmC their own, but it would have been nice to see some of that same flavor in combat upgrades and letting Virgil out of his cage. The story is very gripping, and the characters that move through it will seize your attention, but, itís a short story. If you donít intend to pickup every collectible in your path the game is roughly ten hours long. The soundtrack, as always, is very true to the style of Devil May Cry, and even though it does not give me issue, I know it causes some players displeasure. Still, even with some varied dislikes wearing on this game and the franchise overall, the game was clearly left in the right hands, and Ninja Theory sets the stage for something much larger to continue.
I give DmC: