DmC: Devil May Cry is the 2013 polarizing reboot to the classic Devil May Cry games and frankly, I think it was absolutely fantastic. I vaguely remember from when the game was initially released, but there was a lot of controversy over the game not being a proper sequel and because the main character’s appearance was changed. Honestly, I had this in mind prior to starting to play the game, but I eventually forgot about this and simply enjoyed the game for the many things it had to offer, great gameplay, graphics, and a very well fitting OST. For the most part, I fully enjoyed the game and since I’ve only played the first DMC on PS2, none of the complaints that most fans had for this game applied to me.
As previously stated, DmC is a reboot and that means while it retains some of the main characteristics of the previously released DMC games, there was a lot that was changed. In DmC you play as Dante, a demon hunter who has much to uncover about his forgotten past. While attempting to rediscover who he truly is, Dante ends up facing insurmountable odds yet rises to the occasion and becomes much more than the emo looking douche he initially appears to be. Much of this is alluded to as even in the first level you’re more or less a one man army, but it gets even better as you progress throughout the game. Not only do you see Dante’s personality change during the game’s events, so do his combat abilities.
For the most part, DmC could be described as a hack and slash game, but it’s so much more than that. Initially, your weapons are limited to your main sword and your dual wielded pistols known as ebony & ivory, but as you progress through the game you’re able to unlock abilities and discover many more weapons. What really grabbed my attention in this game is that when using these pistols, Dante does the same swaying back movement as he did in the original DMC game, I thought it along with the other weapons offered were a great reference to it.
Some of the weapons offered in DmC are an axe, a scythe, a shotgun, armored fists, and a few more that can be seen as subsets of the weapons found in the early levels. As you make your way through the game and collect souls, the in game currency to purchase items/abilities, these weapons not only become stronger, but they also allow you to use them in more ways than one. What I’m now describing is the game’s combo system.
Almost immediately as you begin this game you realize how fluid the combat is. At times it appears that Dante is almost dancing as he hacks and slashes his way from enemy to enemy. What’s great about this is that in the hands of a very skilled player there’s a lot of room for creativity and this is beneficial in more ways than one, seeing as how the more diverse/connected your attacks are, the higher your score will be at the end of a level. The higher your score, the better off you’ll be in regards to being able to purchase useful items and abilities to further diversify Dante’s attacks.
Another thing I noticed in regards to the weapons and attacks in DmC is how they’re organized. The way it’s done leads to good weapon selection balance whereas in most games you would have to individually select which weapons to use until you choose to switch. In this game, you’re able to select them all in-game and this is done with the D-pad along with the left and right triggers plus their particular buttons. I felt that this was well done because it ensured that combat would flow smoothly, rather than having to go into a menu each and every time you wanted to switch weapons.
Up to this point I’ve mainly described DmC’s weapon/combat system, so it would make sense to mention the enemies that you encounter in this game. Like everything else in this game, there’s an abundance of enemies to deal with and that’s great, combat never feels stale. Combat not only feels fresh due to the types of enemies that you encounter, but also due to the game’s music. I didn’t expect it, but DmC’s OST is worth listening to and I even looked it up on Youtube soon after beating the game. The OST is fairly diverse, but the chunk of it is modern metal. This particular genre of music was a good choice because it fits this game’s overall image and gameplay very well. I’d also like to add that as toolish as it may sound, tearing demons up as metal is playing in the background makes you feel like a badass.
The thing worth mentioning about the enemies encountered in DmC is that they’re mainly demons that range from low to high level and depending on which one you’re facing, you will have to change up your strategies. Some of these enemies can easily be disposed of by spamming your basic attacks, but others will also require specific weapons or even strategies due to their size or elemental specialties. The enemy types are diverse, but there’s a few that are simply stronger versions of the enemies encountered earlier in the game. At times you’ll also have to face various combinations of enemies so it’s a constant challenge. This is best showcased when dealing with the game’s few, but remarkable bosses.
Within 20-25 minutes, depending on the difficulty setting you choose and your abilities as a gamer, you will encounter a boss fight. At first I thought this meant that the boss fights would be frequent, but I was wrong. As previously stated, the boss fights are few and far between, but they’re possibly the best part of this game. Like in other games, the bosses in DmC are much larger than your character, but if anything that makes things much more exciting. I didn’t mention it before, but two of your weapons have the ability to function as a hookshot, either to bring enemies to you/you to them, or simply to gain access to hard to reach areas. This function is almost always used in boss fights, but they’re always done in different ways. One thing that stood out to me in one boss fight was how freely I was able to swing around the enemy thanks to this ability, it felt similar to how Spider-Man swings freely from skyscraper to skyscraper. I also have to mention that despite being few and far between, the boss fights are generally quite the interactive experience and particular.
Besides the overall entertaining gameplay, the graphics in this game are also noteworthy. Honestly, being that this game is almost five years old, I didn’t expect the graphics to stand out as much as they did. Maybe it’s because I’m gaming on a 1440p/60hz monitor with a gtx 1080, but I got the impression that DmC was well optimized due to not really having any sort of FPS drops or general problems. The game’s great graphics were usually best displayed in its two different cutscene styles. One consisted of drawn still images, which reminded me of the first Max Payne, and the other was more conventional yet visually stunning animated scenes. Certain levels also made use of the game’s great graphics due to how bright/colorful the visuals were. This is definitely a game worth playing with good hardware, you’ll notice the difference.
Honestly, I enjoyed DmC more than I originally expected to, the few flaws I saw in it aren’t extreme or numerous at all. I previously mentioned how stunning the graphics in this game are, and maybe I’m just nitpicking in regards to this, but shadows in cutscenes appeared to be a bit blocky/fuzzy looking, especially around faces. This isn’t as awful as say facial animation problems, but it’s noticeable due to how long some cutscenes will focus on the character’s face.
Two other things that caught my attention could be seen more as neutral issues rather than outright negative flaws. I previously mentioned that you are able to use numerous abilities/weapons, but it can honestly be a bit overwhelming. Depending on your playstyle, you may rely more on certain abilities/weapons than others, but even then it can get problematic due to having to press a lot of particular buttons and it leads to some overlapping. This is especially problematic when facing hordes of enemies and being in the middle of a high combo, one little mistake could lead to you being hit and having your combo cut short.
In the beginning of this review I mentioned that this game was polarizing for many reasons, the appearance of Dante being one of them, but I could also see the dialogue of the game and general personality of this game’s Dante being seen as sophomoric or even cringey. I can’t recall specific moments, but there were instances where Dante’s response to a situation was nearly the equivalent of a 15 year old internet troll. It didn’t really bother me because the gameplay was very satisfying and this game could be seen as a sort of origin story for Dante. It has occurred in other games/mediums where a character/hero wasn’t fully mature right from the beginning and that feels corrected towards the end of this game, along with the controversial appearance of Dante.
To conclude, I highly enjoyed DmC and I see myself eventually playing it again. Maybe it’s because I’ve only played the first DMC game (soon to be corrected), but I didn’t feel quite as strongly as others did towards this game. From the reactions I saw at the time, you’d think this game was complete garbage with no redeeming qualities, but that’s not the case. Even if you feel that this game butchered the DMC legacy, I still say it’s a game worthwhile due to its satisfying gameplay, visuals, and OST. On top of all of that, I feel that this game was a success because it makes me want to delve into all of the DMC games I never got to play. If I feel that this game was great and others say that the previously released games were even better, I have to give them a try. I give DmC a 4.5/5 and I highly recommend it.