With two others here the C blogs writing their impressions [cBlog 1] [cBlog2] of the demo I actually sat up and took some note. So why if two others have already talked about it am I doing so ? Well Iíve never been a fan of Devil may Cry , other than the anime series it received. Sure I looked at the games and saw they looked quite cool but Iíve tried before to get into the series and failed. I just didnít enjoy it, the combat felt too stiff and almost like the game was forcing me to attacking one target, it didnít feel fluid. Iíve always had this issue with most ďspectacleĒ fighter games, I didnít buy Bayonetta [/] for the same reason as I felt it didnít offer the fluidity of combat I wanted to feel. The only games Iíve ever really enjoyed in the ďspectacleĒ fighter genre are the odd [i]dynasty warriors game, Darksiders 1 which I got quickly fed up of and one I really enjoyed the combat in, Splatterhouse (the remake).
I played the demo and formed my impression before reading anyone elseís on it and after reading both other blogs, Iím writing this piece.
Finding out the developer and that the only game by Ninja theory Iíve played before was enslaved odyssey to the west,which I still maintain was no great game gave me a bit of a jolt. The reason for the jolt was, I actually kind of liked the Devil May Cry demo.
So letís run through a bit of what actually worked for me.
Firstly the games music and sound, people have said before to only ever mention sound and music if it adds something to the game and sticks out, for me in the demo it definitely did. The reason I refused to switch to a HD TV was because my present one has such nice smooth sound on it. This demo didnít make me regret it, the ambient sounds were rather great in the cutscenes and the clashing of weapons sounded so clear. Well done sound sucks me into a game like nothing else and the ambient noise alone worked. Combine this with the guitar thrashings of the fight scenes and the games audio does a great job of jarring. In any other game saying the music was Jarring would be bad but in Devil May cry it was in a good way as suddenly enemies appear and gone is the atmospheric noise replaced with the fight music. I also had no issue with tiny HD only text at any point in the game so woo hoo on that front.
Next onto the aesthetic because honestly I think it deserves some mention. While I can appreciate many people loved the previous Dante, I like the new change, it felt to me very much in the style of My Chemical Romance (Pre Black Parade). The graffiti on the walls, the almost melting logo its very much from that style of rock, the style of rock Iím sure many would happily call Emo.
The very Orwellian idea of the street with Big Brother watching and a commentator very much styled of Bill OíReilly talking about the terrorist threat on the news. The shift when the camera spots Dante early on was very much akin to the crossing over scene in the film adaptation of Constantine (Yes I know itís very different to the original hellblazer comics) only even more twisted as you see the world shift and contort. Even the writing that appears at various points in the demo very much made me think of a comic book world rather than anything else. I liked it and while I can see how some people might find it getting old it worked for me.
Next onto the gameplay. The fighting in Devil May Cry has always seemingly been what put me off and while there are issues, I did enjoy combat much more in this latest one. I got a nice flow going and managed to keep the flow for the most part, being able to near seamlessly switch from one target to another able to and points juggle two enemies in the air at once. There are however a few issues I found with the combat. First while for the most part its intuitive enough on occasion it the lock on seemingly still present in the game would switch targets and I had no indication I was about to hit something other than my planned target. This can easily be solved with some kind of target indication maybe in the style of an eye or other such thing. Next is an issue I seemingly run into with a lot of games and it gets annoying. The ďyou must kill this enemy this wayĒ issue, in DMC its adding shields to the enemies which the game handily told me I could break their guard by using a certain move. My objection is, why just that move, sure over time hitting them enough breaks the shield but to have essentially 1 move you have to do on them annoys me slightly. Why rather than do a super strong demon attack canít I use my angel grappling hook to pull his shield away, or Batman style jump off his shield and smash him in the head ? My next issue is with the idea of Angel and Demon ďstanceĒ while a neat idea to expand the moves further the idea of having Angel, human and Demon fighting to switch between just felt annoying, Iím sure down the line you can upgrade to have combos for them but in the demo they felt more liked tacked on styles than natural ones. My Final issue was with the introduction of the chainsaw wielding enemy who has an un-interruptible attack. This really is a bane for me as with many other things in the game letting me time my swing to intercept and nullifying both out attacks, this one had no real counter to it other than to dodge, which I felt broke a little of the flow of combat having to stop to dodge one attack I couldnít simply counter.
When all is considered the game's combat better than prototype and for me thatís pretty much the bare minimum requirement for a game with combat to beat for me be able to enjoy it. The combat at least feels more organic and fluid than the rather rigid combat found in many other spectacle fighters and sometimes removing the tight fraction of a second direction and move switches actually does more for a game than making the controls feel even more super responsive yet also feeling limiting.
Other aspects of the game also annoyed me a bit, with a platforming section in a church being a real pain as while the level early on were fine with me using my own style of angel dashing everywhere and not using the hooks provided. In the church one angel dash landed me on part of the ground scripted to fly up then fall, locking my controls and essentially forcing me to fall despite the fact I could have saved myself had it not been for the controls seemingly locking. Later in this section another minor issue shows up in the game failing to recognise targets and while the game said I had the angel powers thing selected from the blue glow, the game instead had me shooting at the objects I was meant to be grappling too. This lead to me falling to my death multiple times.
Next comes the difficulty, I was playing the demo at 4am so decided it best to play on Easy (or human as the game calls it) boy was this worrying, Iím essentially new to the genre and well other than on the boss fight where I made a lot of errors I barely fell below ĺ health (Except the boss fight where I literally took it down to the line due to being an idiot). Iím pretty sure the other DMC games were tougher than this even on easy and while I know itís meant for everyone, I kind of worry that itís a fair bit too easy considering how I managed to stroll through it.
My Final gameplay issues comes in the form of the obvious collectibles, in this one trapped souls and ancient key things which unlock hidden doors. While the idea is nice to give more reasons for multiple playthroughs, I hate multiple collectibles like this. I have no idea whatís behind the hidden door and hopefully its nothing too important to the game otherwise it could really ruin it for me, more worryingly is the fact these keys and trapped souls even appear in boss fights, Really adding them to Boss fights now ? I think my hatred of collectibles is more of an issue with linear games that donít present an open world to explore. With an open world you can normally fairly easily revisit for the collectibles but in Linear games itís often a case of miss it and you have to replay the level. I can only hope the important ones (the keys) carry over and donít require you to find all of them in one for it to count.
While Iíve seen people objecting to new Danteís style I like the new humour, it feels darker and less unintentional than say
that little bit there. The character and humour feels more like Constantine with a ďIím Constantine John Constantine AssholeĒ than some snarky action hero one liners.
Personally while Iím not hyped for the game I never was to begin with and while I wonít be rushing out to buy it on launch day it has made me think it might be worth picking up a month or two down the line when its dropped in price a bit. Also while most people donít seem to like the new Dante I actually do though that might be because the original Dante was almost the spitting image of a friend of mine. While I can get why fans of the original series are upset, as someone who actually enjoyed the Constantine film I actually look forward to another game with some of its stylings.