Devil May Cry Preview (PS3)

June 18, 2012Written by Dan Oravasaari

Since the initial announcement of the reboot for the Devil May Cry series, fans have been wondering just what will become of their beloved protagonist, Dante. Then when Ninja Theory unveiled a much younger, dark haired Dante, fans across the globe thought their worst dreams had come true. But at this year’s E3, Ninja Theory set out to show that this brooding hero could not only fill his older self’s shoes, but take them to new heights.

In the upcoming DMC game, Dante is set out to fight off the demonic occupation of the human world. Luckily for this angsty hero, he will not be alone in his battles, as the world slips into Limbo. This time around Dante is assisted by a young girl named Kat, a human psychic who was hired to help him in his quest, given to him by a sect known as: The Order.

The Order is a small group of freedom fighters led by a mysterious leader that has one sole objective: to put an end to the demon occupation of the human world. With the humans blind to the suppression that they live under, The Order acts as the world’s last line of defense against the all-powerful demons

The Order wages war on the demons, and their collaborators, not only with force but also through counter- intelligence, politics and propaganda. It has great insight into the demon oligarchy – their communications, business dealings and future plans for mankind. The Order needs one more recruit to the cause, Dante, before turning the demon who’s who list into an assassination hit list.

In the preview build shown at E3, Dante was armed with his standard pistols (Ebony & Ivory), his trusty sword (Rebellion), and a chain with a familiar ability. Using all the proper tools, Dante handles much like all the previous titles that came before this one. Slashing into a launcher, then leading up with a follow up for more devastation is nothing we haven’t seen before. Yet, with new variation abilities given to Dante, he is more versatile than ever before. Using the triggers mid-combo allows Dante to access a demonic (heaving hitting) form or an angelic (quick slashing) form. Using both forms in conjunction with use of his chain allows Dante to pull himself or enemies closer, allowing an almost infinite combo-string. This in turn would build up his devil trigger, a mode that once unleashed – temporarily slowed time down, and him Dante his trademark red coat and white locks, an obvious throwback for fans.

From the onset of the preview, it was easy to notice that not only did Dante get a great deal of attention, but the environment had received more detail than we have seen in a DMC game. As Dante had taken his first steps in the first level, we were exposed to the world shifting into the demon realm. A world known as Limbo, that must be treated as much like an enemy as your sword wielding foes, as not only will it threaten you, but it will dynamically change itself to try end your journey abruptly As the world slips under your feet, Dante is able to use his chain to interact with specific points in the world, pulling parts of the environment to traverse past his deadly landscape. Watching the world crumble before your eyes gives you a sense of apprehension, as not only will demons try to kill you, but threatening words appear on screen to remind you that in this world, Dante must die.

Fighting through the first part of the demo, you are set against a number of foes that come in various forms, a diversity that the rest of the game could benefit from if kept up. This diversity is utilized fully by the ability to pull yourself or an enemy closer. Pulling yourself up to flying enemies allows you to meet them face to face, while pulling a shield wielding foe closer causes them to lose their guard. These dynamics intertwined with a fairly deep combat system can seem overwhelming at first, but given that DMC has always felt more like a 3D fighting game, it is a perfect fit for the series. With some of the best lighting effects and animations in the series it is real treat to watch a veteran of the series go at it as Dante.

The end of the preview was a boss named, Poison, a giant demonic cross of a spider and a slug, with a face. This lengthy battle consisted of slashing the limbs and face of Poison, while avoiding being blown off the various platforms, or being doused in a toxic slime. As the battle progresses through Poison’s numerous health-bars, the environment gets destroyed eventually limiting your access to stay mobile. This eventually led to the exposure of an environmental interaction that can put Poison in a difficult situation, something that barely supersedes a QTE event. This fight was the least interesting section of the preview build, as while it did require use of most, if not all of Dante’s abilities, it did not feel as epic as it could have been. In an age where we are dispatching gods, a boss that is supposed to be a late game fight should be more than slash till you can grapple.

When there is something strange in the neighborhood, who are you going to call? – Dante, cause for sure – he ain’t afraid of no ghost. Using a set of tried and true arsenal, Dante, while a bit younger, is still every bit as formidable as he ever was. Ninja Theory really has found a way to rework a main character, which this time around doesn’t look like he was designed by someone’s 12 year old son. Giving more personality to not only a younger Dante, but to the world around him, DMC just might be able to bring on a new set of fans, while appeasing loyalists.