Review: Capcom hits you over the head with Dante's new style in DmC: Devil May Cry
At a Glance
Opting for an angst-filled, emo-punk Dante instead of the classic dark-gothic Dante, Capcom’s new game reboots the venerable Devil May Cry franchise and tackles a different side of the demon-angel hybrid than we’ve seen before. He’s funny, slick, powerful, and rather carefree about everything but his mission to stop a deranged psychopath from taking over the world. You know, the small stuff.
Dante’s back and, thankfully for us, he’s at his best. When we first meet him, it’s clear that he’s not the same Dante we’ve seen in previous releases. He’s less of a gothic demon hunter and more of a hard partier, the kind that all the ladies dig (as the game continually points outs.) He has this way about him that screams confidence, one that carries over into his unique style of combat.
While the style might be unique, it doesn’t stray far from classic Devil May Cry and works exceptionally well. Combat flows along at a smooth clip and there aren’t any dead moments, unlike past Devil May Cry games. This time it’s all action, all the time, especially after you progress through the story and unlock more weapons. Once you have a few different tricks up your sleeve, switching between different weapons and powers becomes second nature and key to stringing together combos necessary to take out some of the more difficult enemies, especially when they spawn in groups.
The environments are beautifully rendered; each area feels unique and different than the last while still adhering to the basic level design present throughout. Platforming is a necessity in Devil May Cry, both to advance the story and collect the surprising variety of tchotchkes littered throughout the game.While you will encounter plenty of hidden collectables throughout the story, the most notable are keys scattered throughout the levels which allow access to hidden time trials found throughout the game. They’re all rather simple, but thanks to leaderboard integration, it can be worth replaying each one a few times to snag the top spot among your friends.
It's important to note that while the game looks great, while playing the PC version of Devil May Cry I ran into a few notable issues. Some textures appeared muddy and seemed to pop in at odd moments, but that wasn’t nearly as big of an issue as the massive screen tearing during cutscenes (especially during early sections of the game) that made it difficult to focus on what was going on. The PC version also doesn't evince much of a graphical improvement over the Xbox 360 version, making it clear that the console version of DmC is probably the ideal version to play.
Despite those (minor) issues, the game looks great and the sound design really stands out. Not only is there a great score to go along with the pacing and action, but the evolution of Dante as a character seems to be reflected in the overall soundtrack, which accompanies your actions with a diverse range of music encompassing a punk/dubstep vibe that imbues the protagonist (and the game) with more depth of character.
Along with this new Dante and his attitude comes a story that strives to match it, which allows for hilarious boss fights in which Dante and the boss yelling curse words at each other until one of them finally gives up. That sense of sardonic satire sticks around for the entire game, but Devil May Cry manages to keep it under control and avoid going over the top.
While the story isn’t the longest, clocking in somewhere around 10 to 12 hours across 20 missions, it is extremely well-paced and never feels artificially lengthy, which is exceptionally rare these days for an action-adventure title. The mission structure splits and seems a bit odd at first, but it actually works pretty well once you get used to it, giving definitive ends to story sequences while driving you towards the finale.
So far we have a new Dante, new tone, funny curses, and non-stop action, but the best part of all is just how much fun DmC manages to be. It struck the same chords that Asura’s Wrath did last year, opting for fun and outrageousness over everything else, and it excels because of that. It doesn’t take itself too seriously while still maintaining respect for the series, and that’s key.
DmC: Devil May Cry succeeds in re-imagining the angel-demon hybrid while capturing everything that made the original series so great. Sure, Dante might look a little different and have funny hair, but he’s brutal as ever and still looks undeniably cool firing dual pistols upside-down in a rainstorm of bullets. Even with a few technical hitches, I never encountered anything gamebreaking that soured my experience. After a long run of mediocre releases in 2012, DmC: Devil May Cry might be just what Capcom needs to get back on track.