At long last, a date with destiny
When you brush aside the controversy surrounding Ninja Theorys reboot of Devil May Cry, there lies a game that adopts the DNA of Capcoms classics and weds new ideas to the familiar tropes. It feels like a Dante whos still cocky, combative, and cool. And fortunately, upon first glance at the game in action, theres a good chance that youll be far more interested in chaining up big combos and destroying demons than worrying about neo Dantes haircut. Our experience with DmC: Devil May Cry at Captivate came in three sections: an official presentation, our first hands-on, and an interview with game lead Tameem Antoniades and members of Capcom Japan and US.
The more things change...
When we get our first look at the game in action, our half-demon hero wakes up alone in a pierside RV, hungover with empty bottles, half-eaten pizza slices, and bras strewning the floor. He has the phrase, Hell of a Night. Call us written in blood on his arm, which you may notice above.
Sharp scratches on his back heal instantly and highlight a huge glyph tattoo. We see a flash of a news clip regarding Dante as a threat to social order. Theres a pound on the door. He doesnt bother to put on any clothes to answer. Its a young girl, begging him to leave the trailer, as he recklessly alerted the Hunter to his presence.
Worst hangover cure...ever?
The Hunter unleashes a devastating blast that levels Dantes trailer and send him flying into his gear, during a hilarious series of Austin Powers-like double entendres, set to bullet time. Dante emerges from the scraps dressed in tank top, jeans and boots, with a sword emerging from his body after his glyph tattoo glows brightly. The sky is blood red. Hes ready to fight.
Different look, fresh approach
DmC flirts with dramatic aesthetic changes, yet it maintains core elements of the four games that preceded it. Combos are above and beyond S-rank now, and the onscreen font is a jarring bold Helvetica-like look. Ninja Theory spells out the point totals for hits, so know youll know when big attacks will help rack up enough score to hit S and beyond. It gives DmC a sense of the same accessibility seen in Devil May Cry 4, but Antoniades promised that the combat intricacies found in prior games are also baked into the action.
Hit 'em high, hit 'em low
Combat jumps between normal, Angel, and Demon weapons, and the difference between the heavenly and the infernal is pronounced in the direction that Dante knocks the numerous onscreen enemies around. Dantes trusty Ebony and Ivory pistols are still around to keep combos alive, but with a tap of either shoulder button, you can either knock demons to the ground, or launch Dante skyward toward them for high-flying aerial attacks. While the camera elements need tweaking, and theres the threat of game-breaking combos taking place hundreds of feet in the air, theres a real exhilaration to beating a creature into shards of ectoplasm and health points from great heights.
Fair and Balanced or Leaning Forward?
This is important, as Antoniades points out, because she is in real danger in both realms, and indeed, property damage that happens in Limbo carries over into the real world. It feeds the societal distrust toward Dante, who is portrayed as a terrorist in the mainstream media. DmC will use cutscenes with TV news broadcasts to heighten the perception of Dante versus what hes actually doing during his battles in Limbo.
Things aren't always what they appear to be
Limbo presents Ninja Theory with a good chance to toy with the real-world setting and present something fantastical. We immediately noticed that as Dante fought on the pier, the tourist attractions that appeared innocent and normal in the early cutscenes had subliminal messages laid out in Limbo. Suddenly, the hot dog stand has bold white signage that says Gluttony. A casino sign flashes Spend Money. And an ATM shrieks out Greed Is Good.
Such great heights
The surveillance cameras that look for Dante the Terrorist are giant disgusting eyeballs hunting for Dante the Demon Hunter in Limbo. In order to eliminate them, he must use his Angel leash to leap up to platforms and his demon tow to pull out others. He also uses his demon tug to pull the cameras out of their sockets and clear locked areas. These eyes seem to function much like the demonic barriers in the old games.
Abandon all hate, ye who enter here
Plus, we couldnt help but to smile at the self-reflective moment at the end of the demo when he escapes a collapsing cathedral, brushes himself off and apologizes to Cat that he took way, way too long. As he leaves her, he smiles and says church, as half good-bye, half warning. Immediately after, the cathedrals rubble collapses within a few feet of her as the screen goes black.
Our initial take?
Will it ultimately rival the depth of other games in the franchise? We'll need more than 15 minutes to tell, but so far, we're feeling good about DmC.