Another year, another reboot, this time the spotlight shines on Devil May Cry, but does the Devil still remember his lines? It is true that Devil May Cry has been heading downhill since Devil May Cry 4, so a well designed reboot might have been the solution, however the end result turns out to be a mixed bag. First and foremost, Devil May Cry was famous for its challenging combat and it’s stylish gameplay, but even though the combat still does shine in all its glory, the difficulty starts off very low.
Casual players may rejoice, but DmC veterans will have to play through the entire thing numerous times simply to unlock its full potential. The game is relatively easy even on the already available Hard difficulty thanks to the abundance of checkpoints, especially at every boss, which is blasphemy for DmC standards. Restarting from a checkpoint also fully regenerates your health, the only penalty you suffer for using them is in the final mission score you are awarded. So basically, beating the game and getting pretty much anything but the top scores is easy.
While Devil May Cry games have never primarily focused around telling you its story, DmC: Devil May Cry tries to change that and focuses more on it this time. It sprinkles lots of dialogue through both gameplay moments and its longer cut-scenes. While dialogue might make you chuckle a few times, it has been poorly written in bad taste and resorts to a bit too much swearing. If you could enable a censor filter, half of the lines spoken would consist of “bleeps”. Writing dialogue for DmC: Devil May Cry seems to have been coming up with creative insults, none of which are actually good, but in fact so bad they will be the reason for putting a smile on your face as you frequently facepalm yourself. Instead of aimlessly wandering around mysterious corridors looking for mystical skulls to insert into skull-shaped indentations, DmC: Devil May Cry follows a more linear structure. This means exploration and picking a route is kept to a minimum, with optional secrets simply being hidden around corners or other less noticeable places. These secrets are usually just collectible items scattered around or placed on trickier to reach balconies or platforms. It’s a very straight-forward game, there’s no map to keep track of your position in a much larger, architectualy more elaborate structures and places anymore.
The trailers and previews might have led you to believe that Dante will be interacting more with the world and people populating it as he travels to corporate buildings or network studios, as he is now a well known criminal with SWAT forces chasing his tail. While this is certainly true story-wise, gameplay-wise it boils down do a disappointment. Much like Bayonetta, the entire game takes place in so called Limbo, the other dimension which is strictly populated with demons. Limbo offers some nice and twisted scenery at first, but soon become tiresome and ugly as you get used to them. Since the entire game experience is tainted with Limbo syndrome, this makes you feel more detached from the human world you are trying to save from demonic manipulations.
Some rather questionable design choices have definitely been made in DmC: Devil May Cry; there’s a strange amount of platforming segments in a game that’s all about fast paced combat. The problem is that these are all about grappling to predetermined points, so it’s all very repetitive and boring after a few missions as they always seem to be loaded with these at almost every step. Platforming in DmC is essentially an unprompted string of everyone’s favorite Quick Time Events. The grappling hooks give you abilities to move and reach platforms, but the environments are full of these grappling points that tell you where you need to use them, completely eliminating all factors of actually needing to think for a second on how to proceed, and all of them are completely straight forward one-sided experiences. You cannot manually move platforms to create a path for Dante to use, instead you just press a button, and everything falls exactly in its place, it’s a far cry from interactive entertainment. Fortunately these grappling hooks also have their use in combat, and combat is where DmC is at its best.
There’s about 8 weapons to whack demons with. Combining them to create exciting combos to manipulate your enemies distance and juggling them in the air is great fun, and wrapping your brain around all possible combinations can take a while as each of them have separate unlockable moves, many of which are simply not needed at all, apart helping you more easily achieving SSS stylish combat ranks. You can easily play and beat the game with just 2 or 3 of the weapons, and this is a nice option for those that prefer some over others. Each of the weapons has its purpose in combat, enemies covered in blue auras can only be harmed by angelic weapons and those in red by demonic weapons. Mastering quick weapon swaps while surrounded by many different enemy types is an exciting and satisfying experience.
Fast paced combat is prone to frequent interruptions, as the game seems to be pausing to explain tips and tricks in almost every room throughout the entire game. First it tosses and introduces some demons your way and then when you get all hyped up, already dreaming how you’re going to twist and turn their bones, the game starts feeding you text to read while combat is paused in the background. Displaying these while loading takes place would have been a much better solution for those that do not wish to be interrupted as it ruins the flow and pacing of combat.
By now you must be wondering how does Devil Trigger make the transition, and let me tell you, it’s bad, very bad in fact. Instead of actually turning Dante into a more powerful and faster form who can unleash even more mayhem, it simply stuns and makes all present enemies helplessly float in the air so you can easily slay them, which makes it more of a hassle than fun to use because it boils down to static air combat against deactivated enemies. By the time you get it later in the game, you will have already gotten used to playing without it, then you will use it once and quickly forget about it ever existing.
Bosses are another big letdown in DmC: Devil May Cry. They are nicely designed… for a Crash Bandicoot game. The developers obviously thought that bigger bosses make for better bosses, but in fact it’s quite the opposite. Bosses here are basically immobile titans whose hands take turns to swing at you, which you must simply avoid until they reveal their weak point on which you just mash at. Repeat this a couple of times and voila, that’s the boss fight. They are very static and predictable, with only a few varied attacks, unlike the bosses of DmC3 and even some in DmC4 which were smaller, more humanoid in size, but faster, more unpredictable and challenging in nature. That was what made them satisfying bosses to take down, not these whack-a-mole bosses we get here.
Lastly, we have the music of DmC. The soundtrack consists of Combichrist and Noisia, and while they do have a hint of some aggressive DmC spirit in them, it just doesn’t hold up to the insane music style of DMC3 or DMC4 which was much more exhilarating. The sound of DmC: Devil May Cry boils down to generic roars and screams which soon become tasteless. Oh yeah and there’s also some dubstep in there for all you *wub wub* lovers.
DmC: Devil May Cry is at its best in combat, but the amount of boring one-sided platforming segments are likely to turn you off from playing it again on a harder difficulty settings, let alone beat it 5 times to unlock the most challenging difficulty. If you’re hungry for some DMC, do yourself a favor and go replay DMC3 instead because this reboot has been stripped down to bare bones, and then stuffed with unneeded platforming.