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A Little Angelic Spin to this Demonic Classic
By: Marquis Mattocks
2013 is here, and we’re starting off with DMC: Devil May Cry, a reboot of the original series that puts a whole new spin on the Dante we used to know. Ever since this game’s announcement, there’s been plenty of controversy around Dante’s new look and the new direction the series is going in. But now that the game is here, did Ninja Theory succeed in staying true to the franchise while bring something new to the table?
Let’s start with the story. One thing that I personally have had trouble with in the DMC franchise is the overarching storyline and trying to understand the world this game so desperately seems to be pulling me into. Among fans, DMC 3 seems to reign supreme mostly due to its fun simplicity and the reveal of Dante’s brother Vergil. However even then not much was told on the origins of these two nor was there any real depth to their supposed hatred for each other. However, in the new DMC: Devil May Cry, we start right from the beginning to find these answers. Dante at heart is still the same one we knew, on in Ninja Theory’s take, he’s a bit more distant, actually admitting to being the “loner type” and having trust issues. Dante soon teams up with a psychic who can see into the Demonic Realm and guide him through missions, and his twin brother, Vergil. Together they work to take down the King of All Demons and the one responsible for killing their mother, Mundus in order to bring peace back to the world.
One of the most interesting departures from the original story is that now Dante is no longer half human. Both Vergil and Dante are a new breed called Nephilim (half demon, half angel), their father still being a Sparda (a demon), and their mother being an angel. You soon find out that such beings are the only ones capable of defeating a Demon God, i.e. Mundus, who is in controlling the world essentially through debt and spiking a popular soft drink in the human realm with demonic properties in order to keep the humans docile. So now that the stage is set, the more important question is: how does DMC: Devil May Cry play?
Those who are fans of the original can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that the combat is what makes this game. It’s responsive, fun, creative, and brings a whole new feel to a classic formula. Dante in this adventure now not only has different demonic abilities and weapons to choose from but also angelic ones as well. From a Demonic Axe and Gauntlets to an Angelic Scythe and Ninja Stars, you have have a lot at your disposal as you combat whores of diverse demons. The game is built with a training mode and during loading screens you can even see different combinations of combos and attacks you can learn to use. You’ll find yourself quickly thinking up different combinations of attacks as you approach each situation you’re thrown in, which is essentially half the fun when playing this game. Another new component to this game is a new grappling hook like ability for the Rebellion, Dante’s sword. Aside from normal play forming elements, you can actually use it in battle to pull yourself toward your enemies or pull them toward you to enhance your combos when fighting. It’s a fun little trick to keep the momentum going in these fast paced battles and you’ll find yourself using it a lot more than you’d think upon first getting it in the game. Plus, it’s important to note that as you pull of these insane moves at the end of a mission you get scored according to how well you fought and you can post and compare your scores to other players on the online leaderboard.
And speaking of cool things to look at, let’s go over this games overall presentation. This by far is probably the most creative DMC game when it comes to the many different levels you go on throughout this game. The level design is superb and each new world is even more interesting than the next both in the human world and in Limbo. The game really does a good job of giving the DMC world a more expansive feel to it, than the previous installments and more of a realistic setting. As far as the character models go while some may still argue on Dante’s new look, each of the characters and even the demons in this game all look interesting and differ from each other which really help in making each of them compelling in their own individual way. Characters I was expected to feel for I felt for, to hate I hated, and to laugh at I got a fair amount of amusement. One thing you’ll hear a lot about as well are the different boss battles and each one is even more unique than the rest, and as you get deeper into the game the key to defeating them becomes a tad more difficult. The cast for this game was also very well done. As you get deeper in the game and starting hearing more of the character’s back stories it probably marks the first time in my experience with this franchise that I actually felt for some of the characters, which helps in your drive to help these characters achieve their goals in the game.
But with all these pros on DMC: Devil May Cry, it does come with a few cons. One key problem in a fight you’ll notice quickly is the lack of a lock-on type command when in battle. It makes its difficult when dealing with large groups of enemies, and it can sometimes interrupt you when you’re attempting a combination attack and you’re suddenly attack from behind without notice. And while I wouldn’t consider this as much as a flaw, but really a nitpick for some fans; it concerns the length of the overall story. The game clocks in at about 8-10 hours based on your skill at playing, but even with this supposed short length, the game makes very good use of that time. Though as a DMC fan even I would argue that if the game was longer while still retaining its diversity in level design, it could have made a huge difference. The narrative could have being expanded upon even more; however, I believe Ninja Theory may have wanted to save some of that creativity for the next installment or more DLC.
Overall, Ninja Theory did well in staying true to the DMC franchise, while also bring enough new to the table to breathe new life into this series. While the previous entries were hit and miss, I believe this new take on the DMC saga is taking the series into the right direction, and I definitely implore old time fans to not knock it before trying it. Dante may look different but at heart he’s still the same cocky badass we all know and love, and I look forward to seeing how his story develops in Ninja Theory’s new take in the future.
Marquis Mattocks is a college student, hardcore gamer, story writer, and aspiring game designer, currently living in Clermont, FL.