DMC: Devil May Cry Demo Impressions

DMC is a reboot of Capcom’s popular Devil May Cry series. It was announced a couple of years ago and has incurred the constant wrath of every Devil May Cry fan since. You see, internet, most video game series don’t do reboots. It is usually easy enough to tack on extra story than to completely ignore everything from the past, and since many video games rely on fans, destroying the world and characters they love is somewhat of a no no. Devil May Cry is a series that was started on the Playstation 2, and it is one of the fathers of modern action games, innovating in many ways and really pushing the genre to new heights. Since those days, the series has stagnated. Despite a terrific third entry, the second and fourth instalments of the series have been poor and have lacked any real innovation. Today we’re going to look at the demo and see if fans were right that the entire series has been ruined by this game, or if they’re just being a standard volatile fanbase, scared to death of the slightest hint of change.

For a game about style, they really phoned in the generic cover art.

Story-wise, the game actually has some promise. There is a certain big brother theme to the game, which meshes with Devil May Cry’s traditional anti-authority stance. The idea is that Dante is a half angel half demon and he and his brother Vergil hunt demons who killed their mother and enslaved their father. The basic plot seems somewhat all over the place, but there are some decent themes there and if Ninja Theory can capitalize on them, then they may have something. Unfortunately, the voice actors work against them. Dante comes across as a block head and there doesn’t really seem to be any kind of standout. I’ve heard fans complaining about the over-the-top dialogue, but that’s par for the course for Devil May Cry games, which universally have appallingly bad stories and cringeworthy dialogue. As it stands from the demo’s quick story wrap up in the beginning, there is a ton of uncertainty and the game could be good or horrible depending on how it is handled.

Just like if two of these girl’s have crabs, the story of this game is a bit of a crapshoot. 

The gameplay is the cornerstone to any game, and will trump story every time, which is why previous Devil May Cry games weren’t considered absolute garbage, as they all (Read: 2-3 of them) had phenomenal gameplay. DMC abandons much of the gameplay mechanics of the older games in favour of a more freeflowing concept. There are three melee weapons in the demo which you can switch to by holding the shoulder buttons and each of them have a limited number of moves you can pull off. The sword is basic all around useful. The axe is very powerful but slow, and the scythe is weaker but has a wide area of effect. There is a good balance and it’s pretty easy to switch to them. Learning from the single decent thing from the fourth game (Sorry fans), Dante can pull enemies towards him or pull himself towards them. This means that you rarely have to wait in between beating up enemies. Combos work well and the series’ stylish system is still in place; however, as part of the freeflow concept, everything seems a little more flighty.

I for one would rather anything than having to play as Nero again.

There are two major caveats in the gameplay. In the demo, button mashing was way too effective. Devil May Cry has always walked a fine line, but skill is what always won out. By removing the ability to lock on, it is hard to target specific enemies and can be seen as dumbing down the game to a more primal, less skill-based hack and slash game. The other main problem is that DMC doesn’t seem to innovate in any way. Devil May Cry, even at its lowest stood above all of the pretenders (Sorry Ninja Gaiden fans). However, after the incredibly polished Bayonetta, DMC really needs to be more than average to survive. Since I mentioned the wildly innovative Bayonetta, let’s look at the biggest problem with DMC: why does it exist? There is literally no reason to reboot this series. It has always had poor, cliched characters and stories, and rebooting it alienates the fanbase. Why wouldn’t they make a completely new game? Truthfully, if you changed names, this game would be an entirely different one, and it wouldn’t come with all the baggage. Bayonetta was met with such huge praise, in part, because it was a new IP. There are some good ideas here, but the Devil May Cry legacy definitely holds this game back.

This happened, and all of a sudden there is a huge new standard for action games.

The environments were very hit or miss with me. Much if not all of the game seems to take place in purgatory, which is a more fluid and flexible version of the real world. As such, the world around you is constantly changing (During fixed events), and that is undoubtably cool. The problem is that the environments themselves are really boring with an incredibly bland colour scheme. There are minor glitches such as screentearing, but these don’t really effect gameplay. There is occasional slowdown as well, which is more troublesome and the game seems to run sub 60 FPS and that may be a problem. However, none of these things interfered with the gameplay to any real extent; they just made the game feel much less polished.

Great and all, but a little boring.

Should Devil May Cry fans be upset? Sure, as we’ve talked about recently on this blog, abandoning of series and changing franchises are always a problem. I personally have no problem with what they’ve done to Dante as I’ve always considered him a shallow character to begin with, but if you are attached, this may be a problem. Truthfully, this game is in a very strange position. The gameplay is very fun, but there are way too many unknowns. I want to say that the good gameplay will win out and it’s worth looking into, but there are enough red flags raised that it might be best to wait on some reviews before taking the plunge. Don’t get me wrong, I see an equal amount of good in this game as well, but without knowing more, I don’t think I can wholeheartedly jump on board.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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