Review | DmC: Devil May Cry – Ninja Theory Proves the Naysayers Wrong

Ninja Theory and Capcom team up to reboot the beloved Devil May Cry franchise. Do they hit the mark or miss at every turn?
  • Platform: PlayStation 3 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, PC
  • Published by: Capcom
  • Developed by: Ninja Theory
  • Genre: Stylish action
  • ESRB Rating: M for Mature
  • Number of Players: Singleplayer
  • Release Date: January 15, 2013

Remember when Capcom announced DmC? The outrage of the fans were heard everywhere by Dante’s new look. Fast forward to today, when the game has finally released. Have the fans grown on this new Dante, or are they still weary? Whether they are or not, I am here to tell you to worry not – DmC is a fantastic game and does the series justice.

Let me start off by stating I was completely against the idea of Capcom allowing for such drastic changes to be made. This, of course, extends past the black haired Dante. The setting changed to a more contemporary, modern day setting and Dante’s dialogue went from smart-aleck one-liners to a profanity spewing douchebag. However, do any of these changes actually bring down the quality of the game? Not at all.

For starters, the modern day setting and change in dialogue give the series the fresh feel it needed after the rather disappointing Devil May Cry 4. The game feels more realistic, in a sense, and opens up for a character that one can relate to moreso than the original Dante. These two changes also add to what make DmC so damn amazing – the story. Hardcore fans have to agree, the original Devil May Cry games never had the best stories in the world. Ninja Theory changed that generalization with DmC. The reboot follows Dante as he is recruited by a female psychic – Kat – and his twin brother – Vergil – as they seek to overthrow the demon empire controlling Limbo City through debt and soft drinks. Dante’s origin story was changed just a tad, now having him a Nephilm – half demon, half angel – instead of half demon, half human. His demon father, Sparda, was captured and his mother, Eva, murdered by the demon king, Mundus. Vergil and Kat require Dante’s assistance to take down Mundus and save Limbo City. In many ways, the story is that of a satire, and those who know me know I am a sucker for a good satire.

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In summary alone, the story sounds better than the other Devil May Cry titles. Throw in some witty dialogue, an awesome cast of characters and voice actors and some of the best set pieces seen in a game this generation, and you got one absolutely stunning adventure. While the primary setting is Limbo City, the gameplay is sharply focused on the demon-infested, “other side,” Limbo. Walls being pulled apart, buildings turning upside down and words painting across platforms make up these beautiful environment. Ninja Theory has proven to create magnificent set pieces, but this is truly one of their best works. The pulled walls make for some interesting platforming sections that weren’t the strong part of the originals either. Place an epic soundtrack composed of heavy metal and dubstep, and you’re looking at one awesome looking and sounding game! Platforming gameplay is great, but how is the combat, which takes up most of the game?

In short – as fluent as ever. Stringing together fast combos couldn’t be any more fun. With quick weapon switching available to players with the press of a button, combos are a lot easier to pull off and a lot more brutal. Dante still packs his iconic Ebony and Ivory along with the sword Rebellion. However, later unlocks add some demonic and angelic weapons to his arsenal. These weapons not only add for some nice combo stringing to earn that SSS rating, but also add some strategic elements to the game. Certain enemies can only take damage by a certain weapon, and some enemies are weaker to certain enemies. The angelic and demonic weapons also give Dante a new, whip-like transformation which allows for some nice grapples and pulls to help string along combat smoother. A lot of strategic elements were added to DmC to help balance out the simpler gameplay, which I admire Ninja Theory for throwing in. While fans may complain, this is perfect for a reboot – allowing for new fans to pick up and play right off the bat. Hardcore fans looking for that definite Devil May Cry experience can start up on Nephilim (hard) and work their way up to the hardest difficulty – Hell or Hell.

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Boss fights are a mixed bag, with some standing out more than others. The boss battle against Bob Harper, for example, is a lot better of a boss fight when comparing to the Hunter. Overall though, the majority are enjoyable in the least. The unlocks are superbly done this time around this time as well. Using skill points unlocked through combat and mission completion allow for Dante to learn some new moves and abilities. This is nothing new to the Devil May Cry series, but the ability to respec those unlocks for others you may enjoy is great. This allows for quick, on the fly changing – similar to the Ability Switch in the original title. This alongside the addition of a training system is welcome for sure. The training allows Dante to perform his new unlock on a test dummy until the player masters it. A nice way for newcomers and hardcore players alike to master the new combat system.

While the combat is pretty fluent, it does have its share of issues that bring down the experience. For starters, the lack of a lock-on system is baffling. Unsure of whether Ninja Theory simply forgot to include this feature or if it was done purposely, it is simply a confusing mishap. Combat sometimes becomes really off when fighting enemies far apart due to this. Something featured in all recent Devil May Cry titles, it is rather odd to see it missing here. The game also runs at a jarring 30 FPS. Capcom and Ninja Theory assured fans that it would feel like 60 FPS, but it sure as hell doesn’t. The frame rate dips a lot during combat and even during simpler platforming sections. The game may choke up a bit every now and then, and this certainly draws immersion from the player, creating an overwhelmingly frustrating experience. Lastly, the iconic Devil Trigger seems to have been toned down a bit for DmC. While the transformation is nothing short of awesome – new Dante sporting a sweet red jacket, white hair and the world around him transforming grey scale – it’s purposes are pretty much useless. The time limit for is is absurdly short and with enemies being launched in the air, it becomes incredibly frustrating to do pretty much nothing as the time depletes in seconds. A few mishaps that can drag down the experience a whole lot.

Devil May Cry fans let out their devil cries when they saw the first drastic change. As more footage came out, fans let out their devil screams of anger at Ninja Theory. Now that the game has been released, fans need to worry not. Those spamming Metacritic with 0′s and 1′s need to head out to their nearest game shop and pick up this game – it will not disappoint. The game’s story is one of the best in the series and is backed up by some nice visuals and an awesome soundtrack! Combat is intuitive and is a lot of fun, despite the frame rate issues and lack of a lock-on. Fans of Devil May Cry and newcomers alike will definitely enjoy this game. So go pick it up!