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DmC: Devil May Cry hands-on - 6 ways it absolutely improves on the original series

3. The gameplay mix is more creative and more coherent

Devil May Cry could always be a bit jarring when it came to breaking up the combat. Platforming and puzzle diversions often felt like uneasy token gestures, stapled to the games as an afterthought and breaking their flow rather abruptly. In DmC though, everything feels absolutely right. Dante’s jumping controls are much smoother now and, coupled with his slick, tactile grapple abilities and smooth air-dash, they make exploration almost as appealing a prospect as the game’s core demon-battery.

So it’s good that Ninja Theory has been so creative with its game design. Using the sentient, angry world as its jumping-off point, DmC mixes combat with excellently paced, imaginatively executed set-pieces every step of the way. With no physical rules to the environments it presents, the game is free to throw anything at you, from architecture-warping, do-or-die platforms runs, to hallucinogenic Bionic Commando grapple action which forces you to rebuild and reshape the very environment around yourself on the fly. At times it almost feels like performing anti-gravity parkour through an architect’s cheese-dreams, yet it blends with the ‘main’ action so well that the overall gameplay mix feels more complete and satisfying than ever before.

4. The cast are real people, not cartoon stereotypes

It’s fair to say that Ninja Theory riled a few people up when it described the new Dante as being the version you’d get in a Hollywood movie adaptation. It’s understandable too. You think of movies of games, you think of the inane works of Paul Anderson. And the Resident Evil movies are no great yardstick of characterisation.  But that’s not what Ninja Theory was getting at. Rather, the idea here is simply to create a version of Dante that would work in a pleasingly non-ludicrous way if a real man had to play him in a real-world setting. To take the core elements of his personality and the essence of his visual persona, and turn them into someone believable and relatable.

Our findings on their level of success? Nailed it.

Don’t think for a second that the new Dante isn’t every bit as cool and cocky and smart-mouthed as he ever was. He absolutely is, without even a hint of emo moping whatever the current internet perception of his character might be. What he is – along with the rest of the game’s cast in fact – is a character with real depth, believable human responses to events (despite not being human), and a layered, properly explored character arc.

He has reasons for being angry and disaffected, but he’s never self-pitying. He has a period of affecting self-discovery, but it’s empowering rather than self-indulgent. His past is properly fleshed out, as is his development into his future self, but this is executed with a pacey, upbeat, and dynamic treatment. Moreover, character development is emphasised and punctuated by in-game action, rather than halting it with lengthy naval-gazing cutscenes. The upshot is that you won’t just find Dante cool this time. You’ll genuinely find yourself caring about him. And on the subject of clever storytelling…

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22 comments

  • ultimatepunchrod - November 1, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    Awesome! I honestly can't wait for this game to come out. I love the old series, but NT seems to have meaningfully reinvented it rather than just for the sake of reinventing it. They have done an exceptional job at integrating interesting characters and plots into games and being literary without being too pretentious or heady. I like what they're doing with the medium. Also, thanks for not doing this article in the slideshow presentation. I don't mind that style in most list articles, but this style works better for more informative pieces.
  • alex-roy-bristol - November 2, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    Yes, I too do really like this style. I hate to bring another website into this, but, it looks more like Cracked, and that's a good thing in this case... :3
  • BladedFalcon - November 1, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    Okay, one thing before I comment on the actual article. Dave, why do you have to be confrontational every single time? I actually never have had too many gripes and problems with this reboot, and even I feel bothered and irked at how every-time you mention the game, you get all pre-emtively defensive and say shit like "whether you like it or not" when at this point, most people would have gotten past their initial backlash to the game, except many aren't BECAUSE YOU KEEP REMINDING THEM. *breathes deep* Okay, now that's out of the way, I do congratulate you for the rest of this article. While i haven't ever been damning of this reboot, I HAVE been somewhat skeptic in that I wasn't so sure if they would get combat and enemy variety right. But the points you provided do help me feel more confident in giving this game a go. Also, I don't find it all that surprising that the characters and story and far better developed now, since this is Ninja Theory we're talking about, but still, it's great to hear nonetheless. Lastly, I know I must sound Like I broken record, but I still have that question about the stylish score bar. Yes, you already replied to me to assure me that it's there, but does it still work in the same way? as in, rewards you with more points (and subsequently souls, or whatever currency they might use here...)the more you vary your combos and don't rely on spamming? or has that changed more in a way like Bayonetta did it?
  • StrayGator - November 1, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    With emphasis on trigger modifiers it might feel a bit like "Heavenly May Sword" amiriteguyse? and seriously, I'm quite worried about the technical aspect of the game. Previous NT games tend to get choppy during intensive scenes, and DmC is a must-stay-at-60fps-or-above-at-all-time kinda game, so... Yeah, here's hoping.
  • Pylons - November 1, 2012 10:04 a.m.

    Trigger modifiers aren't the only thing this game takes from Heavenly Sword - there's no control over the lock-on.
  • SanosukeEiji - November 1, 2012 12:54 p.m.

    The game runs at 30fps
  • narrat0r - November 1, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    "This is a more accessible game in the literal sense, not the dirty, casual-baiting Super Wii Party Family Sports Collection meaning of the word. " The combat in the real series was fine. Making it more accessible if the combat is functional means casualization. "You simply have not played a AAA action game with looks and atmosphere like DmC...the game’s every location and monster now instead infused with a fizzing urban decay and stark, lunatic brutality." A dystopian society is not original. I have seen a movie once where aliens own society and use propaganda to make people buy things, which is exactly like DmC. That false reality TV show level was done before in Saints row 3. Fox news satire was done before, and better, on the Colbert report. These aren't quality examples, just examples shown before. "Ninja Theory has been so creative with its game design." Other games borrow elements from other games all the time. The thing is, they are not called original for it. DmC is the least original game I have heard of in recent memory. from being a reboot of a beloved game series, to taking an orphanage storyline straight from the Canturburry tales, to making a night-club full of monsters from the blade movies, to the gameplay mechanic of hellboy hands, I don't see anything original here. "The cast are real people, not cartoon stereotypes " A bad boy rebel who spits on society a an evil demon false advertising things, from the way the trailers portray them, don't seem like living breathing people. They seem like, for lack of a better explanation, a sitcom character in the later seasons of a show where the writers just allow a characters minor traits (Stupidity, ambiguously gay, etc) to define the character, rendering that character to cartoonish levels. The nightclub bouncer scene was unnecessary. He could have just walked away and that would have been enough, but instead he does this over-the-top move where he punches the bouncer, writes fuck you, and has a smug ass grin on his face. "You think of movies of games, you think of the inane works of Paul Anderson" This isn't a movie. Don't compare to movies. If you do, it seems like the game will only be cut scenes. " The upshot is that you won’t just find Dante cool this time. You’ll genuinely find yourself caring about him." If the trailers are anything to go by, Neither of those things are happening. "brilliant opening title sequence depicting Dante staggering home from a nightclub with two girls in tow" Key word is brilliant, friends. That sounds cheesy and try-hard. "No more cheesy industrial metal on an infinite loop" This is the last reason they gave. This is a reason they are selling this game on. I will let that sink in for a moment. Not using industrial metal on an infinite loop is a reason to buy a game.
  • CRYP71K - November 1, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    Someone must have had a cold glass of Hatorade this morning.
  • cricket0 - November 1, 2012 11:12 p.m.

    That was a wonderful speech ya gave there. I got one too. Its much more reasonable and shorter too! Ninja Theory is doing everything to make this game better than the original series, and if you dont agree, then go to a place where people agree with you, instead of an article pointing out why its awesome. P.S., its a video game. Video. As in movie. Pardon the game makers for giving us a reason to kill stuff with some narrative. I guess we cant all be mindless killers like you sir.
  • simplethunder - November 2, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    Holy shit I just saw your comment. Ninja theory is doing everything to make this game better than the original, and it's failing. And since somebody doesn't share your opinion shuld just "go away"? also the article is a nice example of today's "gaming journalism": a pile of dogshit. "The game is good and if you don't like it you're wrong" wow.
  • goluboy-pidor - November 3, 2012 10:59 a.m.

    Or how about you, prepubescent tool, will shut up and let people express their opinions instead of believing all the crap written in payed previews like this. "Ninja Theory is doing everything to make this game better than the original series". lol, so they aren't doing anything then.
  • goluboy-pidor - November 3, 2012 10:54 a.m.

    Thank you good sir, the only person with a brain here as it seems.
  • dalef11 - November 8, 2012 10:49 p.m.

    I think I'll just number them for ease. 1. Not necessarily, it can mean that they're revamping it after finding flaws in the old control scheme. 2. It isn't just a 'dystopian society', it's infused with lunacy, it is clear from looking at some of the pictures that it is quite different to anything you've seen in a game before. 3. This one confused me when later on in point #5 where you state not to compare games to movies, as you have done exactly that. Otherwise I completely agree, no idea is original anymore, however it doesn't mean it can't be done *better*. 4. You're judging the character off of a trailer. A few minute trailer cannot develop a character, and they were more likely trying to show the audience with that video. The writer was talking about the impact of situations and dealing with situations is more human, rather than completely unbelievable. Note that we have not played the game, we can't really formulate any based opinions. 5. Comparing an aspect of the game to a movie does not make it seem at all like it will only be cut-scenes. 6. Again, don't base your opinion of a character on a short trailer of a game. 7. Now you're picking out the writers' use of the work 'brilliant'? This point was unnecessary, you had nothing more to say at all, did you? 8. Agreed that it is a weak point, however a games soundtrack can do much more than you think when playing a game. Also, the title of the article is '6 ways it improves on the original series'. By all means, don't buy the game if you're looking for things to hate so desperately. But your (mostly) unfounded points are just tedious.
  • Zeos - November 1, 2012 10:05 a.m.

    As a fan of the series since the first game, I was already looking forward to this game in a sense. After reading this article my excitement for this game just went up quite a bit.
  • tompie - November 2, 2012 11:04 a.m.

    I actually kinda liked the "cheesy industrial metal on an infinite loop" :( Still looking forward to it though.
  • simplethunder - November 2, 2012 12:32 p.m.

    The story is going to be shit. Just like the gameplay. They have no clue what proper characterization is, how to keep to a central theme, or even how their character's actions are perceived by the audience. They're hacks, and what we've seen so far of DmC's story tells me that not one person in their story meetings was capable of saying the words "no, I think that's a bad idea."
  • BurntToShreds - November 2, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    You forgot the part where you can just spam the same attack over and over and maintain a Triple-S Combo with no effort whatsoever.
  • goluboy-pidor - November 3, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Is this a joke? Ok, I swear Tameem wrote that article. Or payed the author, because literally every thing that mentioned is a straight out lie. This is like mitt romney, the game.
  • johny-ketchup - November 3, 2012 1:14 p.m.

    tl dr Fuck you

Showing 1-20 of 22 comments

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