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Game Guys review - DmC Devil May Cry

1:19 AM, Jan 20, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'DmC Devil May Cry' by Capcom.
  • 'DmC Devil May Cry' by Capcom.
    

Well, they're at it again.  One of the "big boys" in gaming are rebooting a franchise that was doing perfectly well as it was.  This time, it's Capcom and its very popular Devil May Cry series.  Unlike Electronic Arts and its 2012 reboot of Syndicate, Capcom not only made a successful reboot of Devil May Cry, new-to-the-franchise developer Ninja Theory did a bang-up job at it.

DmC Devil May Cry takes place in modern times where Western civilization is more-or-less ruled by the man and the banks.  The action, however, doesn't occur here -- it happens in Limbo (more on that later).  Before anybody starts saying that the premise isn't so far off of real life, the man is a high-ranking demon (Mungus) who not only runs the show, he wants protagonist Dante dead.  Lucky for the player, Dante isn't alone (let alone human).  This Nephalim (half-demon, half-angel) has his white-haired brother Virgil and a street urchin witch named Kat to help him guide him.

The tale is that of half-vengeance and half-"make the world right".  The vengeance part comes in that Mungus killed the Nephalims' angelic mother and imprisoned their demonic father.  The other half is in defeating Mungus, they can turn the world right by eliminating the underlying demonic threat that is keeping humanity as unknowingly docile sheep to the demons' own ends.

The game's writers did a very good job to take a dual-motivated plotline and keep it simple without making it boring.  Conversational segments and cut-scenes are interesting and move things along well.  It should be noted that there is a very good amount of cursing in this game (maybe a tad too much), but a dash of profanity here and there do help to set not only the overall mood of things, but also how the characters themselves hold up.

A hack-and-slash game at its core, DmC Devil May Cry features solid controls with style.  Like any other good h-n-s title, DmC has Dante cutting through hordes of enemies.  Unlike most, however, h-n-s gameplay in DmC never seems to get old; and that's probably because of the simple variety in how Dante is able to take care of things.  Initially starting with only a sword (Rebellion), our hero soon gets his iconic twin handguns (Ebony and Ivory).  Soon, he discovers his Angel and Demon modes.  With the former, Rebellion becomes a speedy scythe called Osiris.  With the latter, a slow yet strong axe known as Arbiter.  In the end, the player has access to two angelic weapons, two demonic ones, a few different guns, and the sword.  Switching between weapons is quick and is easily done not only mid fight, but even mid attack -- allowing for some rather fancy and powerful combos.  Players are scored on each level and how (s)he does on each level matters greatly based upon not only how well, but how flashy the combat was.

Enemy variety expands right along with Dante's arsenal.  While much of the game is sprinkled with simple enemies that can be slashed to bits by whatever means the player chooses, many enemies have to either be worn down by a specific weapon type or are simply immune to all weapon damage save for angelic/demonic ones.  This all but forces the player not only to figure some stuff out on his/her own, but also to use different combinations in battle.  Style points might be what's ultimately awarded, but creativity is also rewarded in its own right.

The only real complaint that could be had about DmC's gameplay has to do with its camera.  There are times when it will settle for an odd angle that can prove detrimental to combat and simple exploration.  It doesn't happen often enough to say it's a deal breaker, but it happens more than one would like.

As great and important as combat is, that isn't all there is to do in DmC.  Platforming also plays an important role and, thanks to an altered reality state known as Limbo, it occurs is some rather surreal areas.  While in Limbo, gravity becomes a suggestion rather than a law, physical real-life items corrupt, and complete areas can twist and change seemingly at a whim.  What's nice is that all of this atmospheric stuff isn't reserved just for cut-scenes -- a lot of it actually happens during gameplay.  It keeps things not only interesting, but rather exciting as well as players have to keep on their toes for the next unexpected jump or grapple.

Visually, DmC Devil May Cry is one of the most stylistically stunning games released in quite a while.  The environments that Ninja Theory put together - both in and out of Limbo - are not only constructed well, they're good looking.  Same can be said about Dante, Kat, and the rest of the characters.  They look very un-Capcom-ish, which is more of a good thing than Capcom would ever want to admit.

Like it does with the visuals, DmC does not disappoint with its audio.  The voice acting is on the higher-end of the scale, as is the rockin' soundtrack.  Really, the presentation given to the player with this title is near-perfect with little more than intermittent frame-rate issues during non-gameplay segments and loading screens that, while interesting, are up for way too long.

A successful re-imagining of Capcom's Devil May Cry series, Ninja Theory delivers 2013's first legitimate blockbuster title that really wows.  The game is rated Mature and with that "M" rating comes plenty of violence and suggestive themes, but what's a gritty, urban game about demon killing without a little sin?  For those who are of the appropriate age, DmC Devil May Cry is a title that should not be avoided.

GAMEPLAY: PRESENTATION: STORY: QUALITY: FINAL SCORE:
24/25 24/25 24/25 22/25 93/100

Version tested: Xbox 360

(Capcom supplied a copy of this game for review.)

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