The words "Devil May Cry" hold a lot of meaning for me. Devil May Cry was the first game I ever played for the PS2, and I’ve enjoyed every game in the series since it (except the second entry; what a shocker). I know Dante as if he were my own brother. I’ve seen him grow up, grow up some more and even take a backseat to another cocky little white-haired bastard. I understand every aspect of Dante as a character.
That’s why it surprised me to hear some people complaining about the new Dante in DmC: Devil May Cry. He is the same Dante as before. He’s just younger and more immature. Weren’t we all that way once (I still am)? Don’t get me wrong; I was shocked when I first saw Ninja Theory’s new character design for Dante. Now that I’ve played the game, I get it. I see no problem with it.
I also see no problem with making Devil May Cry a little easier. I grew weary of getting my ass handed to me in the older games, which could be agonizingly frustrating at times, and "agonizingly frustrating" does not equal "fun". If that makes me any less of a gamer as I’ve seen some users on Metacritic stupidly point out, I apologize. The thing is, it doesn’t. It’s just yet another dumb observation by a bunch of idiots who shouldn’t even be allowed to play video games.
Besides, DmC does stay true to its predecessors in the way that its combat is an absolute blast. I found myself getting all giddy when I nailed an especially impressive looking combo. I kept nailing cool combos throughout the game. It may have been because of my experience with the previous installments, or it may have been because of the lowered difficulty, but either way, it was awesome. The combat system is deep, satisfying and easily one of the best things about DmC.
It has tons going for it. It’s very fast-paced and exciting. As the game progresses, Dante gains angel and demon weapons. What this basically means is that one type, the angel weapons, are assigned to the left trigger, and the other type, the demon weapons, to the right. It’s a brilliant choice by Ninja Theory that allows players to mix things up by constantly swapping between each weapon type and Dante’s firearms.
New enemy types are introduced throughout the game, forcing players to strategize. For example, one enemy type might only take damage from an angel weapon, and vice versa. This can be one of the game’s biggest flaws at times due to the lack of a lock-on feature. I found myself aiming but hitting the wrong enemy type a lot of times, which was irritating. Thankfully, the lock-on has been replaced with a dodge button, which is a welcome addition to the series. It can stay right where it is, thank you very much.
Dante can also grapple toward enemies or pull them to him. This adds even more depth to an already broad combat system. He can also use his "grappling hook" to latch onto platforms in the environment. The platforming is kind of a letdown, but it has its moments. Still, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if Ninja Theory changed it up a little bit in the inevitable sequel. It sometimes overshadows levels that are otherwise enjoyable.
Speaking of the levels, the environmental design is amazing. Dante has to make his way through a place known as Limbo, which is a world he gets pulled into for the majority of the story, and it’s a world full of wonderfully grotesque and picturesque vistas. Limbo in and of itself is an enemy type. It really does seem as if the environments are trying to kill Dante. It was an ingenious decision on Ninja Theory’s part to design the game in this manner. Exploration was my favorite part of DmC (and it often resulted in me getting a bad time rating at the end of the missions).
My least favorite part of DmC is definitely the story. It isn’t really all that different from the stories in the other Devil May Crys. A bunch of incoherent crap happens and Dante says dumb stuff. That’s about it. It attempts to make fun of society and FOX News, and all of that is funny at times, but it’s utterly useless as a meaningful storytelling method. The character named Bob Barbas is essentially an exaggerated version of Bill O’Reilly, which means he runs his mouth a lot about nonsense nobody gives a damn about.
The story is at its best when it’s exploring Dante’s past and developing him as a character. Dante realizes before the end of the game that he may have a bigger purpose in life than lying around in a mobile home, boozing and sleeping with women. I chuckled at a few of Dante’s unbelievably lame lines of dialogue, but a lot of them are just that–unbelievably lame and unfunny. It’s one thing to spout off Schwarzenegger-esque lines like "You’re fired"; it’s quite another to brag about your penis being bigger than someone else’s. That just emanates desperation.
DmC: Devil May Cry‘s strengths far outweigh its flaws. The story sucks, but the gameplay is great and the art style is better. I played through the game on the Devil Hunter difficulty, and it was pretty easy. The thing is, I feel compelled to play through it several more times. I love it. 2013 has started off with a bang.