DmC: Devil May Cry Review (PS3)
Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry reboot has had a lot going against it ever since it was announced back in 2010. I’ll never forget the tirade of angry comments that hit the web when fans first found out that Dante was getting a new look, complete with jet black hair. Skeptics also came out of the woodwork when it was revealed that Ninja Theory, a studio based outside of Japan and Capcom’s stable of talent, would be developing the game.
Fortunately for fans of the franchise—and any gamer who enjoys a tight action game—all of that worrying was done in vain, as DmC: Devil May Cry easily holds its own with some of the best in the genre. Fears of a whiny emo protagonist can be put to rest, and any hesitation regarding Ninja Theory’s involvement should be thrown out the window. This reboot is without a doubt the best thing to happen to the series in years.
Let’s start off with the most compelling aspect of Ninja Theory’s reboot: the gameplay. Slashing up foes is so smooth, intuitive and stylish, it’s hard not be enamored by how incredible the combat is in this title. Every button on the controller has been expertly mapped so that switching between weapons on the fly is a cinch. There’s a lot of depth in the combat and yet it’s hardly overwhelming. The game does a great job of doling out new mechanics and weapons so that as you improve your skills as a player, you’re introduced to new layers of combat at a digestible rate.
There are also plenty of customization options, allowing you to upgrade Dante and his arsenal however you see fit. With so many different abilities and attack upgrades that you can unlock as you progress throughout the game’s twenty chapters, you’ll likely never find yourself bored with the combat. In fact, I played a seven-hour chunk of the campaign in a single sitting and could have kept going if it weren’t for the fact that it was well past midnight. Trust me, fans of prior Devil May Cry games will feel right at home with the tight and super-responsive controls. After all, Ninja Theory knows how to make a killer action game, so it should hardly come as a surprise.
On the other hand, what disheartened fans will find pleasantly surprising is the protagonist himself. Sure, he doesn’t sport the same look as the Dante you remember, but who cares? Ok, some of you, but this new take on the character is far better, as Ninja Theory has managed to create an arrogant and snarky protagonist that is totally likable and endearing at the same time. Believe me, I’m shocked about it just as much as you are, but thanks to some excellent writing and voice acting, the entire cast, and Dante especially, feel far more relatable than in Capcom’s previous installments.
Those who have played any of the prior Devil May Cry games are well aware of the fact that the overall emphasis is on gameplay and not story. As such, I went into DmC not expecting much by way of narrative, and I’m glad I did. While it isn’t the most compelling story you’ll find in gaming, it’s actually quite entertaining and easy to follow. I must applaud the writing staff over at Ninja Theory for not making the plot over-complicated or convoluted. It’s a simple, yet engaging, story that does just enough to keep you entertained between combat arenas.
I say combat “arenas” because DmC is very old school in its approach to level design. As you progress through each mission, you’ll be blocked within certain portions of the level until you defeat all of the enemies. In this way, it is very much like the original games, which is by no means a bad thing. It does however feel a bit outdated, and I really hope that they opt to veer from the traditional Devil May Cry formula even more if there ends up being a sequel. I also had a few issues with a couple of the platforming segments, which had more to do we me having to readjust the camera than anything else.
As far as sound goes, the game features an appropriately rock-heavy soundtrack that fits the game’s vibe, but doesn’t do much to stand out or enhance the experience. Visually, DmC won’t knock your socks off or anything, but the way they play with color during a few of the game’s levels is really cool. The facial animations are quite good and aid in giving the characters personality, but let’s face it, that’s not why you’re playing Devil May Cry. The visual fluidity during combat is of the utmost importance for a game of this type, and that’s where DmC truly shines.
The campaign took me somewhere in the ballpark of ten hours to complete, but that was on one of the easier difficulty settings. If you want a real challenge, you’ll want to play through the game several times, unlocking even harder play options with each successful completion of the campaign. In this way, you could easily spend over fifty hours with this game should you be up for the challenge, and there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be if you’re a fan of the franchise. To put it simply, DmC: Devil May Cry breathes new life into Capcom’s beloved action franchise and anyone who enjoys this type of game experience would be foolish to pass it up.