DmC: Devil May Cry - Review

Just like a good friend of mine once said, when the reboot for the Devil May Cry franchise was announced back at TGS 2010 it was an "anti-hype". For fans it was a shock that their beloved franchise was getting rebooted for seemingly no explainable reason.
Even worse, the new Dante differenciated very much from his original look: black hair, emo haircut, teenager, etc. Only the main surface of the original Devil May Cry was still there.
It was the beginning of an outrage.
But then over time Dante's new look was slightly changed and less "emo", but the real kicker was the gameplay, which looked surprisingly good, and the demo that pretty much nailed the Devil May Cry combat style and added cool new features. Slowly the worries were put to rest...or not?
Whether a necessary reboot or not, is DmC worth your and any fans attention?   


DmC's story starts from scratch and has some similarities with the original DMC storyline but takes quite some new paths on its new plot:

The plot:
Dante no longer is a half-human-half-demon but a Nephilim, a half-angel-half-demon, giving him the power to wield the powers of both heaven and hell (because his father is a demon and his mother an angel...duh!).
Hunted by demons sent by the powerful uber-demon Mundus, who killed and imprisoned Dante's parents, he joins his brother Vergil's rebell organisation called "The Order", who want to destroy Mundus and his empire of demons that grows stronger and stronger by enslaving mankind through the demon-dimension "Limbo". With that, Dante's quest to defeat Mundus' pillars of power, one by one, begins...

DmC sports a radically new style compared to the original series.
While the original series was more oriented on Japanese Anime (and therefore included some of its madness and cheesyness), the new DmC is more down to earth and has a far grittier and dirtier look.
Although i am a big fan of the original, i have to say that i really enjoyed this new look. It felt much darker and more based in a reality that is comparable to ours (even the cities finally have citizens!).
With that said, the world of DmC feels much more alive and real.

Capture the style in one picture? ...Nailed it!

The new Dante has been improved very much since we first saw that ugly emo-dude from TGS 2010.
While still very different from the original cheesy-cool Dante, this new Dante is given a much deeper and better explained backstory. The death of his parents and his childhood gets highlighted and gives much more character to this new Dante that makes him much more relatable.
Some might say that his backstory is still kept very flat but still it is much more information than what we are given in the original series.
At first i was very much worried that the new teenage Dante would go on my nerves with his constant teenage-punkass-jokes, luckily i was wrong. New Dante's humor but also his serious side get balanced fairly well (although the serious side seems to even outweigh).
Overall, this new Dante is a good and satisfying new and likable main protagonist with an own unique style. Although still PERSONALLY i like the old one a good notch better just because he was more fun. But that's purely my perspective.

Also other characters like Dante's brother Vergil got vastly revamped. Instead of being an arch-nemesis, this time, Vergil is on Dante's side and supports him on his quest. His main looks mostly stayed the same, while his motivations are tweaked quite a bit.

DmC's story can in a way be described as a mixture of Blade and Matrix. Yes.
In DmC, demons are now capable of  disguising themselves as humans while influencing the real world via the demon world Limbo. During his adventure Dante constantly has to switch between Limbo and the real world to achieve various goals.
This new idea of two dimensions simultaneously co-existing in one-another is a fantastic improvement for the franchise not only storywise but also gameplaywise.
Limbo itself is the main reason why Dante's pretty basic revenge adventure is a roaler-coaster ride of fun (especially with the stages).

Ultimately, DmC does a good job in terms of a reboot. It respects the original series' legacy while also expanding it and tweaking things around to make it interesting again, despite a fairly basic story.
In the end, you can be damn sure that there is going to be a DmC2, and that's fine with me.

Know the difference!


The real reason why the new DmC completely convinced me of its great potential was its gameplay.
From watching the first gameplay to actually playing the demo: MAN! That was some very well designed gameplay!

DmC's gameplaystyle is one of those which are easy to learn but hard to master.
Basically, Ninja Theory stayed true to the original's roots and designed the combat around the idea of being extremely fluid and therefore being able to keep the style-meter as high for as long as possible.
DmC plays super-smooth due to massive flexibility in combat.
Without going into the inventory or doing complicated button-combinations, switching between different weapons in mid-combat is extremely intuitive and easy (and i think even easier than in the originals). Fighting through hordes of enemies, whose variety is pretty big, is extremely addictive, granting DmC my pick for probably the most addictive hack-n-slasher that i know of.
It is spiced up with an easy to navigate upgrade- and item system and LOADS of moves to each weapon that are very easy to learn/pull off.

Yet still, DmC's combat is not perfect although being very close to it:
In combat, Dante doesn't have the ability to lock onto specific enemies. Regarding the overall great combat mechanics this might be a minor nitpick, but i would be lying if i'd say that there weren't numerous times where combat got really frustrating due to the lack of a lock-on.

Moving forward to the gameplay in the campaign:
While the original Devil May Cry series is notorious for its difficulty, DmC's difficulty is toned down significantly in comparison. To be fair, the combat indeed does get more difficult towards the final showdown, but it's still all at the basic level of standard videogame difficulty nowadays.
(Therefore, i recommend that fans of the original should at least play the campaign on the "Niphilim" difficulty.)

The gameplay completely won me over.

Platforming is a mixed bag in DmC's gameplay. In the course of the game, Dante gains various gadgets/weapons to make moving from A to B quick and automatic. Though these automatic traversals fairly quickly become intuitive, double jumping or precisely landing via the gliding ability often turns out to be a bit tricky due to sensitive gliding and choppy jumps. But to be fair, falling deaths are not a big deal in DmC anyway because they don't count as deaths and are followed by very quick load times. 

What really disappointed me in DmC were its boss fights. And i am not talking about the boss designs. Those are fuckin' awesome! But the fights themselves:
Bosses in DmC have very simple patterns that only slightly (if even at all) change in a continous battle. Unfortunately, DmC also seems to feature not as many memorable bosses compared to the original series but kind of makes up for it with it's biggest strength: the stage designs!

Hands down the biggest star of the game is Limbo itself.
The developers described Limbo as a self-contained organism that regards Dante as a Virus and therefore tries to destroy it. This sheer idea is genius and extremely well executed in the final game.

The world of Limbo (or the demon dimension) is like a parallel mirror-dimension. During several (literal) setpieces, Dante has to escape buildings or streets trying to crush him. Often Dante can even use the torn world of Limbo for  his advantage by navigating smartly through it with his gadgets.
In Limbo, there is so much stuff happening with the world and landscape itself that you only have to admire how much love Ninja Theory has put into creating those moments - VERY well done!

After finishing the main campaign, there are numerous collectibles left that can be accesed in a new run with a fully equiped Dante, more difficulty settings and a secret missions mode that features different fun challenges in separate combat maps. Enough to do if you dig the smooth combat. But most importantly - after beating the game you unlock a Dante skin with white hair!

Boss fights are seemingly dumbed down for casual gamers.


While the DmC graphics themselves are pretty much at the standard level of today's videogame market, it's the art style, creature designs, setpieces and the creative stage designs, that really impress.
For 95% of the time, DmC runs super-smooth (which is necessary for this kind of combat) and only occassionally has some slight framerate slow-down, at least on the PS3.
If you dig the style of the game, you will not be disappointed by Ninja Theory's great work.   


The addicting combat of DmC gets underlined by very fitting agressive industrial-metal by Noisia and Combichrist. With a dirtier and grittier approach to the DMC franchise, this more agressive Metal music fits just right compared to the softer dark-electro from the original series.
I personally dug the music very much and will definitely look out for the soundtrack. 5 Stars!
Also the general sound design is awesome. Each one of Dante's weapon sounds heavy or fast considering which one you equipped and voice acting is also pretty solid throughout. 

"This isn't even my final form."

The Verdict

I flatout admit that i was one of the fans of the original that despised the idea of rebooting this franchise whose latest entries (DMC3 and DMC4) were very good additions to the series and which received generally very good reviews. In my opinion (and even after having played the new DmC) i still don't support the idea of a reboot.
However, that doesn't mean that DmC is a bad reboot or even a bad game.
While longtime fans will definitely still need some time to get used to the new Dante, Ninja Theory respectively did an awesome job with this game.
A new, more realistic, serious and gritty style, with a new Dante that exactly fits into this new world (the old one really wouldn't) and some very inventive new ideas considering the gameplay and the DMC universe. DmC is easily Ninja Theory's best game to date.
Most probably DMC was rebooted to appeal more to western audiences and therefore abandoned the cheesy anime-style approach of the original. While this is truely sad, the reboot (despite all the love for the original) has to be given a chance.
Ninja Theory showed that it delivered a well-round up action game with only minor flaws that can easily be ironed out in a sequel. DmC is more than a reboot with just the DMC name slapped on it.
If you put down your prejudices, DmC might surprise you just as much as it did me and turn your opinion upside down.

In the end, we also gave Daniel Craig as the first blond James Bond a chance. 

Final Verdict: 8 out of 10

Status: Great!


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