dmc__5_ 12 Feb

Better late than never huh? We know we failed to get this review out in a reasonable time, and we’re sorry. Nevertheless, here’s’s DmC: Devil May Cry video review!

Supposedly launching the genre of stylized action games, the Devil May Cry series has built a legacy of over the top action, outrageous cut-scenes, and cheeky humor. With the new DmC, Capcom has decided to hand the reins over to Heavenly Sword and Enslaved developer Ninja Theory. The franchise has now been rebooted, but retains many of the tropes found in the previous games. We approached this new Dante with skeptical optimism, with our love for his last iteration pitted against our enjoyment of previous Ninja Theory games.

When you first boot up DmC you’ll be introduced to the new Dante, a young, loudmouth, arrogant and inconsiderate jerk who has a soft spot for bad puns and sharp language. As you progress through the story his relationship with Kat, a kind yet troubled witch helps him develop into a more responsible person, though true to the original games, his vulgar humor remains. Ninja Theory has succeeded in capturing the personality we always imagine Dante would have as a young adult, something that’s driven further home by his hair gradually turning white as he gains more demonic powers. Dante exemplifies the teenage punk stereotype that should make us hate his guts, but a combination of exposure and his justified fury made us love the guy by the end.

In the new DmC, it turns out your old friend Mundus (the demon king) rules the world in secret through indoctrinating beverages, cut-throat economics and a multimedia empire. Mundus doesn’t take kindly to a Nephalim — someone with both demonic and angelic blood — walking freely in his kingdom; and tries to have Dante killed. From there Dante is brought into a conspiracy of angels, demons and the fate of the world. It’s not a particularly inventive story, but it stays true to previous games. The excellent cast of voice actors, and the thrilling and satisfying cut-scenes will make you care about the outcome, no matter how predictable it may be.

By the end of the game Dante will have earned two angelic, and two demonic weapons, along with his signature sword and pistols. You can switch between all the weapons seamlessly, increasing the options at your disposal when you want to hit that triple S rank. Stealing a feature from the fourth game, Dante can propel himself to enemies or pull them towards him, limiting the amount of downtime in fights. This feature is also used during the game’s platforming segments which, while not particularly challenging, do a good job of breaking up the endless monster galleries.

The combat is thoroughly enjoyable, and hitting those triple S ranks is still just as satisfying as it ever was. However, the game has lost some of the fluid-mechanical feel of its predecessors and pulling off combos is no longer as rhythmic or precise. In particular; every weapon has a combo that requires you to press the action button two times, and then pause before you press it again. Fine in principle, but the timing feels unnatural compared to the action on screen and getting used to it took some time. Your weapon will usually light up when you’ve paused long enough, something that we never had to count on in the previous games. Veteran players will want to shy away from the normal difficulty as we got double or even triple S ranks on almost every level without even breaking a sweat. Despite the problems we eventually started to really enjoy the gameplay, in short; it’s a slow burn.

Ninja Theory has done a fantastic job with the level design. Most of the games action takes place in Limbo, a corrupted dimension that lies between the demon world and ours. As Dante is pulled into Limbo by his demonic foes; the scenery around him crumbles and distorts, along with the laws of physics. From a level design perspective it’s mostly just a bunch of floating platforms, but it’s the way these dynamically move and interact with Dante that makes them so special.

The monster design is equally good. Seemingly taken straight from your favorite 80’s metal covers, they perfectly fit the over-the-top insanity that is the world of Limbo. Some of the more formidable foes will be immune to your regular weapons, and require that you weaken them with either demonic or angelic weapons first. This has turned out to be a double edged sword, because while it forces you to use all the weapons in the game, it also limits the amount of possible combinations at your disposal. Some further balancing is definitely needed here.

DmC definitely doesn’t have as many boss encounters as the previous games, but the result is more refined and exhilarating boss fights. It all boils down to recognizing patterns and exploiting weaknesses, which isn’t new to the series. But rarely have we seen boss battles as hectic and visually stimulating as these, and finally defeating the giant monstrosities feels incredibly satisfying.

The game is chock full of cultural and socio-political references, some more forgiving than others. One of the game’s bosses is a Bill O’Reilly lookalike media tycoon, another is a poster girl for plastic surgery gone wrong. Then there’s the demon King Mundus, a billionaire banker who buys politicians and pulls strings from behind the scenes. There’s no doubt Ninja Theory is trying to make a statement with this game, perhaps an odd pairing with such fantastical violence and crude humor, but it works.

While DmC definitely isn’t graphically up to par with recent PC games, it looks surprisingly good. There’s some pop in here and there, and the texture quality isn’t the highest, but the great art design carries the game well. On a semi-beefy PC it ran in excess of 150 frames per second, so needless to say we had no issues with performance. On consoles the game doesn’t perform quite as well, but still within an acceptable range.

Yes, Dante has changed, and no the game isn’t as good as Devil May Cry 3. But with this franchise reboot Ninja Theory has proven that they can do a DmC game, and that they can do it well. It’s a bit too easy, but that can always be solved by graduating to a tougher level. It’s also lost some of the tactile feel of the combat, and replaced it with something that flows better on screen but not in your fingers. Though these are serious follies, the game also has a more cohesive story, better voice acting, fantastic level design, gorgeous visuals, good overall gameplay, and an excellent soundtrack…though non metal and hardcore electronica fans might disagree. Here’s hoping Ninja Theory irons out the kinks in the sequel, but in the meantime DmC should be more than enough to soothe your lust for demon blood.

  • Name: DmC: Devil May Cry
  • Reviewed on: PC
  • Available on: PC (Windows), PS3. Xbox 360
  • Developed by: Ninja Theory
  • Release Date: January 25, 2013
  • Price: $59.99
  • Elder-Geek Score: 4 out of 5 / Worth Buying