Reinvigoration can be a dangerous tool. Shaking up the fundamentals of what makes a series great – but more importantly what fans love – is a treacherous path. It’s a fine balancing act that needs to respect the past, but also incorporate a new, unique taste for players to sample. DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition is a remaster of the reboot of the original beloved series of the same name.
Still with me?
Developer, Ninja Theory, took the concepts of the popular franchise and decided to shake things up. Ignoring the past, present and future, they built a new world, utilising the same characters that had been built up for many years prior. It was a hard gamble, and one that ultimately didn’t pay off in their favour. But for those it sucked in, DmC provided a gateway to a previously impenetrable series for some, and a wonderfully bizarre take on the Devil May Cry formula.
The term cult classic can often get thrown around, but DmC definitely fits into that category. Critically it received acclaim across the board. Reviewers praised the game’s style, combat and new approach to the series. Long time fans, however, found that the changes were disrespectful to the past and took a dumbed down approach to the genre.
DmC is a reboot for all intents and purposes. Lead character, Dante, is a loud-mouthed, brash figure who thinks with his fists rather than his brain. Sporting a younger look than the original series, he’s often emotionally uncontrollable and less restrained than previous iterations. Much to fans’ dismay, he strays away from his iconic look (often mocking the past), and embodies his own persona. Thrust into a semi-origin story, DmC is easily approachable for new players, but lacks any accessibility to the main series.
The human world is overshadowed by demons remaining in disguise, controlling their way of life. Dante not only ventures to rid the world of the demonic evil, but is on a path to discover the origins of his heritage, after losing his memory at a young age. It’s a serviceable story that reminisces about early 2000’s action movies. Heavy rock music, a grungy art style and fast-paced combat that beats you over the head with its gut wrenching pulses is on the menu here.
Combat in DmC is easier to grapple with than the past. Originally, Devil May Cry rewarded the skill of those who were able to perform specific button combinations to perform intense manoeuvres. It was challenging, but a rewarding experience for those that put the graft in. DmC eases players in more gently and retains easier methods to take down enemies.
Weapons are mapped to the shoulder buttons and utilised with simple button inputs. Holding down a shoulder button will have Dante equipped with said weapon and able to crush every demon in his path. It’s incredibly easy to button mash your way through DmC – which is often a major fan complaint – but for those who want a more tactical challenge, the game opens up fairly quickly to expansive moves that demand a more skilled approach. The Definitive Edition also allows the option to speed up the combat by 20%, which encourages faster play and a more invasive approach to battles.
Bosses also demand quick actions from players, and are definitely some of the best moments of DmC. Due to the game’s loud and invasive art style, bosses also embody that same sensibility. Everything about DmC is in your face, from the excessive colour palette to the brutal combat animations. Every boss battle uses these elements to create climactic events to remember. One particular battle against a news presenter is an eccentric, larger than life fight that demands quick reflexes and attrition from the bombardment of explosive action. This is just one of many bosses that bring positives to the forefront.
The level design is also to be applauded as well. Much like Splinter Cell: Conviction, mission objectives are projected against the environment in interesting and unique ways. DmC constantly mixes up the way levels work with varied locations. From amusement parks on piers to expansive news stations, everything comes together in one consistent art style, but also manages to create differentiating zones that make each area a blast to explore. Collectibles remain hidden, secret doors provide access to combat challenges, and set-pieces push you through each area. Alongside this, Dante is awarded multiple new abilities to navigate through the environment. With access to dragging objects towards you, swinging across chasms and ripping apart vines to reach hidden rooms – there’s always something new to play with in the world.
The Definitive Edition also includes the DLC and skins, and runs at a fluid 1080p/60fps. For a game that prides itself on having its foot on the pedal, these inclusions are welcomed and provide a wonderful extension to an already great game.
DmC on Xbox One may have disappointed many, but it also provided an entry point to a previously impenetrable series for newcomers. While it can be argued that the games are still playable (especially with the collection on Xbox 360), many will find the harsh difficulty and hard to master combat of the original series potential gateways to an enjoyable experience. DmC is a perfect access point to newcomers that ensured I was interested in the highly regarded Devil May Cry 5. It’s a fast-paced, explosive adventure that may lack the maturity of the originals, but is a unique take that is worth taking a dive into.
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