by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
What’s most surprising about DmC is that I actually began to enjoy the tale and characters as the story progressed. While Dante is a bit of a twat for the first few missions, I started to like the guy as I progressed further and further. He’s got a certain charm about him in the way he handles himself, and his interactions with the other characters made me like him more and more. The modern setting does well in contrasting with the characters. Take Kat, who uses spray paint and stencils to easily conjure spells and rituals instead of chanting words. It’s a nice touch, and it does well to distinguish itself from the previous entries in the series.
The real meat that can be found in the story however, are the villains. Using financial institutions, corporations and the media as the homes of demons feels fresh, and it resonates well with today’s economic and political climate. The pompous news anchor of the games fictional Raptor News Network is a not so subtle jab at one of the world’s most well-known conservative pundits (Hint: His last name rhymes with Wiley). And the soft drink company, whose advertisements are actually subliminal messages designed to foster obedience, is an attack at today’s massive multinational corporations. The critiques themselves may not be complex, but they do help to create a reality which the player can be drawn into.
But at the crux of any Devil May Cry game is the combat, and DmC does not disappoint. To anyone who has played any hack n’ slash game as of late, the combat should be very familiar. Attacking, dodging, and combos form the core structure which keeps the gameplay held together. Dante starts off with his sword and pistols, and they are amazingly varied weapons which could hold the game up on their own. Rapid fire sword strikes and a flurry of bullets are sufficient in dealing with most enemy encounters, and the inclusion of an uppercut attack allows for the same smooth combat in the air.
Dante’s sword and guns are assisted by Angel and Demon mode, two forms which greatly increase his effectiveness in combat. The Demon form is meant for slow, crushing attacks that knock enemies over, while Angel mode is weaker but faster and better at controlling the crowds of enemies which spawn forth. And as you progress further through the games 20 missions, new weapons such as axes and scythes are added to your repertoire at regular intervals. Taken as a whole, the sheer variety in combat is amazing to behold, and I can honestly say I haven’t seen combat this good since 2010’s Bayonetta.
The combo system I mentioned earlier is fluid and engaging, with players earning ranks from a D to SSS as they engage in more varied and elegant action. Using too much of one weapon lowers the score, and getting hit sets the combo back a few notches. That said, having played on the second lowest difficulty, it is not too hard to bring back up again. Furthermore, when enemies disappear from the camera’s field of vision, they attack far less often, which is a godsend in fights with more than six enemies, as it allows you to focus on your attacks without fear of any cheap shots outside of your vision.
Elegant combat, great art and level design, fun story and likeable cast.
Short, poor boss design.