Preview: DmC: Devil May Cry
Love it or hate it so far, but DmC: Devil May Cry is already notorious for a lot of reasons, with the major one being the liberties Ninja Theory took with the protagonist Dante in differentiating him from his roots. There are plenty of others too, and even today the game is still greeted with mixed reception whenever it emerges. Our rAge impressions were pretty positive though. But whatever your thoughts of the new DmC are, what’s certain is that it deserves a fair chance, so let’s get into what it’s about.
Name: DmC: Devil May Cry
Genre: Action, Hack & Slash
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Developers: Ninja Theory
Release Date: 15 January 2013 (PS3, 360), TBA (PC)
Price: TBC (expected to be R649)
DmC: Devil May Cry is set in a parallel universe, or you could say alternate reality, to the original series. The goal was to create a new entry point, direction and story with the franchise, so you don’t need to have much knowledge of the series in order to play this game. In the game you assume the role of a younger, redesigned Dante who, after getting attacked by a Hunter demon while recovering from a hangover, learns that he is in the bizarre Limbo City, which is a dreary city that looks peaceful enough on the outset, but isn’t shy to transform itself into a twisted parody of itself inhabited by demons and monsters. Dante meets a girl named Kat, after confronting a demon, and she sends him off to meet the leader of an organisation called “The Order”, who are labelled as terrorists by the media. The Order fights against Limbo’s demons, and its leader Vergil wants Dante to join them. Dante soon learns that he is Nephilim, the offspring of a demon and an angel, and as he slays his way through armies of monstrosities, he is constantly taunted and followed by the demon Mundus, who wants him dead.
Ninja Theory were quite ambitious with the story and setting for the game, replacing the Gothic style of the old game with more modern and contemporary themes. The idea was to make the world more accessible to newcomers, but also entirely fresh for the series. A goal for the story is to go back with Dante and redesign his entire persona and explore his history, delving into who the character really is and what he’s about. Speaking of him, what may be interesting to fans is that Ninja Theory’s primary designs of the character were in fact similar to the old Dante, but Capcom apparently sent the designs straight back to them and said that if they wanted the same character, they would have just made the new DMC title themselves. Capcom were clearly encouraging Ninja Theory to be bold and new with the series, and create a new entry point rather than try to follow on from the past. However, Ninja Theory will create some satire around the fan reactions to Dante’s appearance, with some jokes about his hair colour and such, and they will pay homage to it with his iconic white hair and red coat appearing during angel combos. It’s good to see they at least have a sense of humour about it, wouldn’t you say?
Although, regardless of your thoughts about the changes to Dante and the setting, DmC: Devil May Cry can’t be challenged on its style and quirkiness in the Limbo world, as it’s certainly bonkers and over the top in that regard. I will admit that I was initially worried for this game when I heard of Ninja Theory’s involvement, because while they’re great with story, cinematic experiences and audio and visuals, they really aren’t your go-to guys for deep and stylistic combat, and both Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West were proof of that. But this series is all about its combat, which was a cause for concern. Fortunately, while Capcom stayed at arm’s length when it came to Ninja Theory’s crafting of the design, story and setting, they provided their expertise when it came to creating the combat, and were apparently quite specific about many technicalities such as finesse, attack windows, pop outs and dodges. Hopefully, if done right, making the game more accessible won’t hurt the combat.
Ninja Theory wanted to retain what was special about the original series’ combat system, but it also wanted to expand on that and focus on creating an evolution of it. Fans will be pleased to hear that the combat rewards skill and retains style, and there will be incentives other than personal pride to chase after those S ranks, as you can unlock concept art and such. The developers have revealed though that players will get tutorial sections to teach them how both the combat and ranking system itself works. With regards to the combat itself, you’ll get multiple weapons which you can switch on the fly and mid combo for stylish results. Dante will primarily be in human form, but he’ll have access to both angel and demon powers which grant him new attacks and combos as well as unique weapons and abilities. The classic duel pistols are still in there, and there are also plenty of new abilities in both combat and platforming, which will still be an important part of gameplay. You’ll be able to unlock new moves for Dante as you progress, as well as reassign points to other moves if you need.
Puzzle sections will also feature, as they did in the original series, since Limbo City’s structure will change several times throughout the game, governed by an effect called malice, and this will require players to complete puzzles in order to advance. You’ll need both competent use of specific abilities as well as fast reactions to survive. Furthermore, DmC: Devil May Cry is being designed with replay value in mind, and you’ll be able to keep unlocked moves for a second playthrough, which will effectively be your New Game+ mode. In addition, your third and fourth playthroughs will also unlock new difficulty levels, such as Son of Sparda, Dante Must Die and Heaven or Hell for the hardcore players.
When it comes to graphics, so far the game is looking like a winner with its art direction, as its colourful, unique and packed with personality and flare. Capcom has also teased that despite the game running at 30 frames per second on consoles, technical wizardry will make the game appear as though it runs at 60 frames per second. My playing time with the game at rAge was too short to really see this in motion, but that doesn’t really matter since we can only evaluate how well it holds up when we get to play the final product. The music for the game is also pretty out there, as it’s being composed by electronic groups Noisia and Combichri. I guess we’re in no doubt about the game being over the top with its style. Furthermore, Capcom has hinted at the possibility of a sequel, as producer Alex Jones was caught saying that he wants players to consider “what could come next” after completing the main story of this game. I’m fine with that, as long as the game doesn’t cheaply set up for a sequel.
DmC: Devil May Cry is definitely going to be under scrutiny until it releases and we get to actually play it, but for now whether you love it or hate it there’s no denying that it shows a respectable degree of promise. Sure, I don’t really know anyone who is particularly crazy about Dante’s new look or attitude, but if everything else is good, especially the gameplay, then I’m sure most fans will be won over.