So, let me start this review off with a confession: I did not play any of the other Devil May Cry games for longer than an hour each. I just couldn’t get into them. So if you’re looking for someone to compare the reboot with the old franchise, I’m not the one!
The new DMC: Devil May Cry was met with trepidation by fans of the series, mostly because Dante is now a smoking-hot emo bro. Okay, so in the pictures, he didn’t look that hot, but once I started playing, I was quickly won over by his looks and roguish charm.
Oh yes, won over, because the introduction of the game immediately alienated me. The game begins with a cut scene of Dante enjoying some ladies. It was very graphic and suggestive and stupid. My first thought was: why go through all the trouble of making Dante pretty if this game is CLEARLY just for the guys, filled with gratuitous T&A?
And then we got our Dante T&A scene (yes, I’m calling it that) where he flies through the air and into my pants. I mean heart. Into my heart.
As this is a reboot of the series, the plot and some details are a little different than the previous series. Dante is the son of Sparda and an angel, making him a Nephilim. He is recruited by The Order to take down Mundus, the demon who murdered his mother and imprisoned his father.
The plot has no major surprises, but it is wonderfully tongue-in-cheek as the problems in Dante’s world align with modern issues facing the world today. In other words, a conspiracy theorist would love this game.
The characters were both wonderfully compelling and perfectly voiced. I didn’t think I would like Dante, but with impeccable comedic timing, Tim Phillipps stole my heart. Once in a while, I even laughed at loud at things Dante said.
But it wasn’t just Dante. Each of the characters had such good voice actors that I actually noticed it.
Kat’s character design is a mess (why in the world is she wearing a low-cut hoodie, booty shorts, and thick comfy socks? She looks kray) but her character is compelling in her simultaneous weakness and strength. She lacks confidence in herself, yet spends most of the game rescuing Dante. She’s often a companion in the game, but never a burden, which I appreciated. And her voice actress, Sage Mears, played that perfectly.
With all of the characters, there were no strange pauses, no parts that sounded like someone was reading it, and no overacting. Everyone’s voice really fit their character, and the banter between Dante and the villains was exciting and fun. Kudos to this voice cast!
Another home run for the game was the soundtrack. The music was finger-lickin’ good, with the pounding, electro tech music setting the scene of a broken world perfectly. There is even one level where the music actually becomes part of the level design, but we’ll get to that in a moment. The music was composed by electronic groups Noisia and Combichrist, to give you an idea of what to expect. I ended up on YouTube for hours listening to the soundtrack after I finished the game.
Speaking of finishing the game, let’s have a few more confessions: I suck at this game. Some people might tell you that the game is too easy; well, I am not one of them. I found the enemies challenging, the environments and puzzles often took some thought, and I wasn’t always sure what to do.
All of which I loved. DMC really reminded me of old school games, where the way you learned a level was by playing it. The first time you played Super Mario Bros., no one told you to look out and jump over that second hole. You either made it or you missed and had to try again. I liked that about this game.
In general, this game is not hard to pick up for someone who has never played any of the Devil May Cry games. Simply toggle on “tutorials,” and it will guide you through the different buttons. There are A LOT of buttons to learn, but in general, the game does a good job of giving you a level to play around in that mostly requires the new skill you’ve learned, helping to solidify your command of it.
Combos made combat fun and wild. Your goal is to get style points, and those points go down if you use the same move within a certain amount of time. In other words, you get a lower score for spamming an attack that works really well. The solution? String crazy, mind-blowing combos together. Add to this the myriad combinations of enemy types that can only be killed with this kind of weapon or after that kind of move, and you have chaos in a bowl. Once you gain access to the demon trigger power, aerial combat gets even cooler.
The boss fights in some ways were amazing in their creativity and then in other ways became repetitive, as bosses sometimes re-used tactics from other bosses. In general, boss fights were easier than many of the combat situations, but were also often more dazzling and memorable as far as concept is concerned.
Auto-targeting proved to be the devil in some cases. Not being able to choose which enemy I was targeting proved to a be a serious challenge as the game progressed, but I learned to compensate by dodging like a drunken donkey.
Another gameplay negative was the repetition of enemy types with (pretend) new names, ie: Rage, Blood Rage, Ghost Rage, rage puppies…they are all still just Rages!
There were also sections of the game where each place you fought looked just like the last area, which got annoying around the third courtyard battle. However, this was not the norm, as the majority of the game had excellent level design.
In fact, to me, the most amazing part of DMC was the level design.
I had to go and look up the word I needed to describe just what enchanted me so much about DMC: Devil May Cry: it was the level design. This game looks like the artists and developers HAD FUN creating the twisted levels and the world of Limbo.
You will fight in areas that remind you of What Dreams May Come, you will climb symbolic representations of human greed, and you will spend one mission following Kat around while being helpless to protect her. The world will turn over upside down and sideways, you’ll be on a television, you’ll be in sound waves in a club, and you’ll watch the story of your parents’ love in street graffiti. I was just blown away by the creativity. Giant demon heads would crash into your scenery, actually creating the feeling of smallness and fear that one imagines Dante must feel on the inside…until Dante tells the demon to go do something very rude with something seemingly impossible. The mission with Kat stuck outside of Limbo was especially compelling because it gave Dante such a feeling of helplessness. You truly felt powerless and frustrated along with Dante as that level progresses.
Levels were also designed with multiple playthroughs in mind, as some of the secrets are inaccessible until you gain certain abilities, leading me to come back and start over again after I beat the game. But I’m a completionist, and many others might not feel the need to go back and find all the secrets; therefore, the replay value of the game is a little low.
Speaking of which, it should be noted that the game is pretty short, with only about twenty missions. Powering through the game could definitely be completed in one day.
One can’t discuss the level design without discussing the beautiful graphics. Colors were great and almost saturated looking, vaguely reminiscent of bright red blood in a way. The backgrounds were huge and glorious, giving the impression of cities of twisted shapes floating on a blue sea. The characters had very expressive and unique faces as well.
Cutscenes and actual action were often indistinguishable from each other, leaving me to frantically hover over my controller in case I was suddenly required to demon pull something in the scene. In a way, these cutscenes were kind of annoying, as they looked so much like gameplay that I often felt they just should be gameplay. Why take my hands off the steering wheel at crucial moments?
The negatives as far as how the females in the game were mostly portrayed, the repetitive enemy types, and the jarring cutscenes are all balanced by the amazing level design, hilarious dialogue, and visceral combat. Despite the game being a little short, it does have some replayability factor for those who want new skins or to get all the trophies.
Overall, this game is really fun and far surpassed my expectations for a reboot with a new pretty-boy protagonist. The characters are badasses, the combat is fierce, and the levels are exciting and creative. I’m already excited for the sequel!