by Keaton Arksey
previewed on PS3
It Was the Best of Times...
Before Bayonetta, before God of War, there was Devil May Cry. Capcom’s series successfully merged high-octane action with style, resulting in one of their biggest franchises. Four games, an anime series, comic books and other adaptations later, Capcom has decided to change things up with the upcoming DmC: Devil May Cry. A series that has sold over ten million copies worldwide has some devoted fans who have taken the reboot a tad too personally. Given how things are shaping up, their complaints appear to be unfounded.
The most notable change is in who is handling development duties. Like with fellow Capcom properties Dead Rising 2 and Lost Planet 3, Capcom itself will not be developing DmC internally. Instead, Ninja Theory will be in charge. While this may seem like an issue, Ninja Theory has experience in the action genre, developing the PS3-exclusive Heavenly Sword. Better yet, they also were behind the sorely underrated Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. While Enslaved suffered from weak combat, the story telling and presentation were superb. Thankfully, signs seem to point to the fast, stylish action of the previous titles will return, with the focus of building up large combo-chains present. Dante will still yield his trademark sword and dual pistols, with that concern assuaged, the possibility that Ninja Theory can bring that high-level presentation to Capcom’s beloved series should be enough to get any fan excited.
New Hands at the Helm
Along with a new developer, DmC reboots the world as well. While story details remain light at this time, DmC takes place in an alternate universe. Living in Limbo City, a young, new looking Dante, son of an angel and a demon, is still a demon hunter like in previous games, and retains the cocky punk attitude that has endeared him to fans world over. Now, however, Dante appears to have human enemies as well, with authorities worldwide viewing him as a member of the terrorist organization “The Unknown”, an anti-demon group who share a penchant for snazzy masks with real-life Anonymous. In a recent trailer, a newscaster who shares many qualities with a certain Fox News anchor known for doing things live calls Dante a sexual pervert, sure to please fans of the sometimes groan inducing over sexualisation in previous games. Growing up in demon operated orphanages and foster homes, torture and violence was commonplace for Dante, and helped develop his hatred of demons. The fact that demons influence nearly every aspect of life in Limbo City makes it a perfect place for Dante to get some revenge. Limbo City is not just a typical urban center however. Whenever demons appear in their true forms, the buildings and features of Limbo City disappear, and Dante enters the demon’s world, Limbo. Dante has no control over when he enters this world, and while humans are unaware of its existence, they can still feel the effects of what occurs in it. Worse yet, Limbo itself is just as much an enemy to Dante as the demons are, actively spawning traps and demons to try and rid itself of Dante.
Fans expecting the same old combat are sure to be surprised as well. DmC looks like it will incorporate a lot of air combat, though Dante can take care of matters just as well on the ground. His angel-half also opens up new Angel Weapons, like the scythe Osiris, and a slower, more powerful fire ax. A new push/pull grappling system also changes combat, allowing Dante to pull himself closer to enemies to dole out some close-quarters punishment. Better yet, Dante can grapple enemies in midair, leading to some insane juggling combos.
While button mashing can work, DmC is all about style. The combat system rates each move with phrases that appear during combat such as “sadistic” or “dirty” as well as a multiplier, and those that take the time to learn advanced techniques like jump cancelling and parrying can rack up some awe-inspiring combos.
Looking Good, Despite the Looks
Platforming segments always seem to be the bane of action games, but new abilities look to solve that problem for Dante. Along with the new grappling ability, which can help Dante reach edges normally just out of reach, Angel Boost also gives Dante some more distance in his jumps. In Limbo, he is going to need every inch, with Limbo changing its layout, leading to some do or die platforming sequences.
Humans tend to fear change, and in some cases, rightly so. Change can ruin something that was never broken in the first place, or remove a beloved element. The outrage that has arisen from Capcom’s changes to Devil May Cry is perfectly understandable. But from the looks of things, if fans look beyond the cosmetic changes, they will find the same combat system they have fallen in love with, along with some new features and a story being helmed by a developer who has created some of the best tales of this generation.