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DmC: Devil May Cry review

Great
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AT A GLANCE
  • The stylish combo-driven combat
  • The top-notch level design
  • Finding collectibles and testing your mettle in challenge missions
  • The lack of enemy variety
  • Imaginative bosses don’t test your skill
  • Lackluster story feels like a missed opportunity

Change can be scary. When Ninja Theory's DmC was announced, many feared it would be an insult to Capcom's sacred hack and slash franchise. But it isn't. DmC is a fantastic action game, featuring intelligent combo-centric combat and creative world and boss designs.

This reimagining of Dante's origin story is set in an alternate timeline, where the Son of Sparda is just as self-assured as ever--even if he relies a bit more on salty smack talking. Yes, he's likable, and no, his updated vocabulary doesn't just include F-bombs. Dante's witty, cocky, and surprisingly mellow through most of the game's nine-hour campaign. His half-angel, half-demon lineage has piqued the interest of the demon lord Mundus, DmC's antagonist intent on destroying Sparda's spawn. While this setup is easy to digest, it isn't particularly interesting. Sure, you'll always know what's going on in the story and why, but the plot quickly becomes predictable and ultimately feels like a missed opportunity for something greater.

Check out the video review!

While DmC's story falls short, the combat excels, rivaling the best that the action genre has to offer. Each tool in Dante's vast arsenal comes with a staggering number of ground and air-based combos, which you'll unlock with greater frequency because separate resources are used for purchasing new abilities versus items. While the series has never suffered from a lack of combo variety, the ease with which you can transition between weaponry is admirably seamless. It's entirely plausible (and extremely gratifying) to include each of Dante's eight weapons into a single chain without missing a beat--and you'll frequently have to do so if you hope to land that coveted SSS rank.

Franchise fans will notice that the combat is slightly slower in pace compared to its predecessors, and it's more forgiving as well--but this doesn't detract from the intensity of the action. Though casual players will enjoy DmC on its normal difficulty mode, seasoned demon hunters will want to crank up the challenge right from the onset. In typical Devil May Cry fashion, grueling difficulties--such as the one-hit-and-you're-dead Hell And Hell mode--unlock after subsequent playthroughs. These, coupled with the fact that unlocked weapons, abilities, and combos are retained, will give you plenty of reason to jump back in once the credits roll.

"...the combat excels, rivaling the best that the action genre has to offer."

Still, balletic combos are only as interesting as the enemies you use them on, and while DmC has some slick demons to slay, you'll encounter most of them within the first half of the game. From there, you'll come across reskinned versions of familiar monstrosities--except this time they have a shield, or are immune to all but a couple of Dante's weapons. These mechanics certainly help make fights more dynamic, but they also run counter to the emphasis placed on combo variety. It's difficult to pull off impressive chains when some enemies can only be harmed by two of your weapons. Thankfully, these types of encounters don't occur with enough frequency to be damning, but you might be disappointed by the limited types of demons you'll face.

DmC's boss fights have the opposite problem: The gargantuan battles are impressive to behold, and many bosses have some of the most unique designs we've seen in years. Unfortunately, they're not always as fun to fight as they are to look at, because most rely on bland "hit the glowing weak spot" mechanics without ever really challenging your combat ability. That's not to say the bosses aren't enjoyable--but you'll probably only use the word "epic" to describe their size as opposed to the experience of taking them on.

"...while DmC has some slick demons to slay, you'll encounter most of them within the first half of the game."

The biggest change to the series, however, is in Ninja Theory's Limbo City setting, a parallel universe where demons reign supreme. Dante is constantly pulled into this hostile, living environment--and that's "living" in a literal sense. City streets twist, contort, and vanish from under you, while alleyways and buildings implode in an attempt to crush the wily demon slayer. Every new area is full of surprises (including a great deal of enjoyable platforming segments), and you'll marvel in awe as static environments transform into imaginative death traps.

You'll also get a kick out of the nuggets of social commentary embedded in each level. A billboard advertisement for Virility, a soft drink that demons use to enslave mankind, will suddenly be superimposed with the words "GLUTTONY IS GOOD" as you pass by in Limbo. Similarly, Raptor News--a Fox News parody--is full of over-the-top reporting gags that'll have you giggling while you murder legions of demons.

"...you'll marvel in awe as static environments transform into imaginative death traps."

What's more, each of the game's missions are rife with hidden secrets, some of which you can only reach once you obtain certain abilities and weapons later on. This adds a bit of Metroidvania flavor to the experience, and you'll fervently replay each level in an attempt to find every hidden treat.

Some of the secrets you'll come across take the form of challenge rooms, which require you to defeat large groups of enemies under certain conditions. One will task you with putting down demons without getting hit, while another might dictate that foes can only take damage in the air. These are great arenas for testing your combat prowess, and you'll be eager to complete them as quickly as possible to secure a top spot on the leaderboards. Best of all, you'll hone specific skills while attempting to do so. You'll need every ounce of ability you can muster if you hope to finish the game on its highest difficulty settings. No matter how many times you play through DmC, its frantic combat remains just as fulfilling.

It's natural to be afraid of change--especially when dealing with a long-running franchise like Devil May Cry--but DmC's gameplay speaks for itself. It's challenging, accessible, and experimental in all the right ways, while retaining the top-notch combat that put Dante on the map in the first place. Sure, it's not without its shortcomings, but DmC easily ranks among the action game elite.

This game was reviewed on Xbox 360.

More Info

Release date: Jan 15 2013 - Xbox 360
Jan 25 2013 - PC
Jan 15 2013 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, PS3
Genre: Action
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Ninja Theory, Capcom
Franchise: Devil May Cry
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Sexual Content
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

28 comments

  • praveen-bala - June 9, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    How do I go in to vergil's downfall,can body guide me to t???
  • gryzor - January 17, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    Without a doubt this game is audiovisual feast. Beautiful and artsy with killer soundtrack. It also brings the nostalgic feel of playing pal versions of games... Devil May Cry 2 has become my 2nd least favourite in the series.
  • GandalfTheGamer - January 15, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    I picked the game up and already played the first 2 missions on nephilim mode...this game is amazing...O_o OW and btw, I am the first one to enter the leaderboards in nephilim mode for the first 2 missions! I feel like I dedicated a lot to this game =)))
  • sandplasma - January 15, 2013 10 a.m.

    Why is he wearing a Union Jack, get with the times. USA USA lol
  • jackthemenace - January 14, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    Hell, as long as the combat's still DMC but with at least something fresh injected, I'm happy. a story, however good, as a bonus. And no matter what, it'll almost definitely be better than 2 and 4. Sure, 4 looked pretty good, but it's story was asinine, and the Dante sections were just unfortunate rehashes. And don't even get me started on 2... Either way, I think the combat and seeing Dante's origins'll be enough to tide me over until Revengeance finally comes out next month. It's a little saddening to hear the story's such a letdown, especially with Anarchy Reigns coming out to such mediocre reviews, but the demo was perfect, so I'll try not to let it get me too down.
  • BladedFalcon - January 14, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    I actually didn't dislike 4 at all. Sure, don't consider t better than 1 or 3, but it was far from a disspointment to me. Story sure was crap- but then so is with every DMC, and I guess i didn't dislike the backtracking with Dante because the combat itself was so damn fun and engaging. Could have been better? definitely, but for my money, it was the right amount of fun for me to feel satisfied. DMC2 Is utter shit though, no objections there.
  • Darkhawk - January 14, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    Not necessarily knocking it, but I'm just surprised that there's still a market for $60 nine-hour games anymore. I mean, Journey was my favourite game last year @3 hours and change, but it cost $15, not 4x as much. Who's buying this stuff new?
  • Cyberninja - January 14, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    I am for 2 reasons to get Vergil's Downfall for free (normally its $9 more) and So I can play this and then the old games to see which really is better.
  • BladedFalcon - January 14, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    Not specifically with this game. But I am really not against paying 60 bucks for a game under 10 hours if the content is polished, fun and/or original enough. Meassuring the worth of a game based on it's lenght alone is a rather narrow, sad way to judge things, since you're equalling quantity, not quality as value. And actually, I tend to dislike games that drag out for too long if it feels like they are adding stuff jsut for the sake of padding out the experience. It's why I never even got to finish, say FFXIII. Had the game been more to the point with it's pacing and story, I'd probably would have liked it 5X times better. Portal 2 or vanquish on the other hand, both games barely over 8 hours of campaign, but both genuinely original, excellent, polished, and their campaigns contained no fat or filler wahtsoever. Might have been fewer hours, but they were undilluted hours of fun taht I am glad I paid full price for. AND, the ammount of gameplay, production value and polish both games had far surprises what could be accomplished with a 15$ game such as journey. Which IS an amazing experience, but when you think about it, it's not a very expensive game or one heavy on gameplay whatsoever.
  • MetroidPrimeRib - January 14, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    "Franchise fans will notice that the combat is slightly slower in pace compared to its predecessors" lol
  • GR_LucasSullivan - January 14, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    you don't look a day over 12,000
  • JMarsella09 - January 14, 2013 9:10 a.m.

    8 is great.
  • DeathbyFira - January 14, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    They are adding DLC content to the game so hopefully they will release new enemy's but otherwise i am very happy it got a great score and i cant wait to pick it up tomorrow ^^
  • BladedFalcon - January 14, 2013 5:25 a.m.

    Hm, so right on par with what I expected. I definitely called out on the enemy design problem since the very first gameplay footage showed up, so the final product having that issue is disappointing, but at least I already expected it. What I didn't expect, was the game having the story as a weak point, if there's one thing NT had done right so far was that, and was one of the reasons the reebot seemed to be worth it- Since the story in all the previous DmCs was frankly a piece of shit in all of them. But ih well, at least the combat IS really fun from what I played in the demo. Probably will get it, but I am not in any hurry of doing so any soon. That privilege goes to MGR: Rising, which I will be seriously surprised if it doesn't turn out to be superior than this one.
  • GR_RyanTaljonick - January 14, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    I was kind of bummed by the story aspect, too. Ninja Theory tends to deliver in that regard. Not saying DmC's was BAD, just...nothing special.
  • BladedFalcon - January 14, 2013 10:31 a.m.

    Yeah, kinda expected more in that area from them. But well, at the very least, is it a story that makes sense? Because the main problem with past DmCs was that the plot was all over the place. And thus ended up feeling like throwaway stories.
  • GR_RyanTaljonick - January 14, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Yeah, it makes sense and is pretty easy to follow, so that's a plus.
  • obviouslyadouche - January 14, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    I'm pretty sure both their other games were written externally.

Showing 1-20 of 28 comments

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