So earlier today during some back and forth banter amongst the Respawning team, Salman explained that his feelings on the Devil May Cry franchise. Now we all listened as he explained his likes and dislikes but then he said something that shook me to my core… Salman doesn’t like DMC: Devil May Cry. He even pointed out that he’d written an entire piece on why he doesn’t like the game (Which you can find HERE). I couldn’t let this stand! I WON’T let this stand! So here I sit typing away to argue the case for the latest entry in a franchise so dear to my heart! So sit right there and let me explain why Salman is wrong!
DMC is a big change from a franchise we’re all used to yes but is that a bad thing?! We’d seen everything Capcom’s white haired rocker had to offer and it was time to freshen up the series so giving the reins to a new company was the best idea they could have had. New style, new characters and a deeper story than any other in the original series DMC delivers a new experience with just enough familiarity to keep the series fans happy.
So where to start? Since it’s a hack and slash game I suppose combat. DMC put’s a lot of emphasis on stylish attacks and combos which is obviously nothing new in the series but with Dante’s new arsenal of transforming weapons and of course firearms you can link combos a lot more easily. Fans of the first 4 games will remember fondly Nero from Devil May Cry 4 who used his demonic arm to reach far away enemies and draw them in close. It was a great mechanic and made linking combos and looking cool all the more easy! The only problem was With Dante taking over from the second half you lost the arm and with it the amazing linking abilities it brought! DMC remedies this by giving NEW Dante a sword with the capabilities of Nero’s arm being able to extend as a whip to grab hold of demons and drag them to you or send yourself flying at them like an angry pigeon just bringing a lot more pain. Weapon switching is easy with the left shoulder buttons being responsible for Dante’s high-speed low damage angelic weapons and the right controlling the lumbering and powerful demon weapons. Simply holding down either button will instantly transform Dante’s sword into either and frees you up to link some incredible combos. Using the previously mentioned whips you can bring the fight to the air and keep it there! Drawing yourself up to battle a flying demon before dragging the other bad guys in the area up as well for a few cheeky hits while the flail in the sky rethinking their previous life choices. A series stable we are all happy to see again is Dante’s devil trigger. This cheeky demon trick has changed drastically since the original series. Rather than transform into a demon himself Dante now grains a significant power increase and all enemies in the area are forced into the air leaving them helpless to your overpowered onslaught!
Talking about the new Devil Trigger leads me nicely into the environments. DMC takes an interesting approach since the demon filled world is now a separate plain of existence from the human world. The human world is a grey dull place with little going on and a few humans wandering about. Quite similar to my hometown. Because of this most of the time in the real world is just used for cut scenes to set up the next time Dante is dragged into the demon world now called Limbo. Limbo is a gorgeous environment with a focus on bright colours and over the top architecture to confuse and disorientate you. It feels as though the very world itself is as focused on killing you as the myriad of demons are and on several occasions this is the case with sections of the game forcing you to flee from falling floors and extending hallways that reminded me quite a lot of Inception. One level in particular stands out with limbo forming in a nightclub and leading you on what feels like a sadistic version of X Factor! As I mentioned before when you activate your Devil Trigger the world changes again with everything around you becoming monotone aside from enemies blood and Dante’s coat taking on a bright red hue.
I said before that DMC has a deeper story than the rest of the series and that’s true. With Dante and his brother Vergil playing the role of revolutionary’s fighting against a demon overlord intent on enslaving humanity. Not exactly groundbreaking but it touches a lot on actual issues in our own world like addiction and the opinionated media. This makes everything you do with the brothers carry a lot more weight than you’d think it would as you question some of your own choices and what is going on around you. More than I expected from a game about showing off while stabbing demons in the face! The characters also take on a new more human edge with Dante now being a flawed individual with a grimmer outlook on the world and a lot more angst than the old silver haired playboy we grew up with. To balance out Dante’s new darkness and bad boy attitude we are introduced to Kat a fairly badass witch with a moral code to rein in the new boy and an interest in Banksy style witchcraft. She and Dante’s relationship is shown to be respectful and friendly and refreshingly not romantic.
Overall I’d say that DMC is a stellar new chapter in a franchise that has had its ups and downs over the years. Bring a much needed update to a formula that we all love with the combat being faster and more stylish than ever before and characters that actually seem real rather than caricatures of what marketing teams THINK is cool. As a fan of every game in the franchise myself and yes…that includes Devil May Cry 2… I think this is a great new direction for the series and the fact it’s been 4 years and there is still no sequel in sight is a real shame! Also and most importantly…Salman is wrong!