DmC: Devil May Cry
Fuck Devil May Cry 4. There, I said it. Having no prior experience with the franchise (being a purely Nintendo gamer until about 2006), Devil May Cry 4 was my first foray into the series, and it left an extremely bitter taste in my mouth. The characters, while all very personable, I found extremely unlikable, especially the main hero Dante. The gameplay was boring button-mashing, yet at the same time managed to be unrelentingly forgiving, and had the balls to give me a rank. If I weren’t such a completionist, I could look past this, but when I beat a level on the lowest difficulty and get an A thrown my way, especially with the retarded higher ranks being S, SS, and SSS (seriously? 3 S’s?), I took it as a personal insult. This problem was especially large due to one of the factors being time, and the game’s second level featuring a series of jumping and grappling sections that only worked about half the time, one of which even making you fight an entire group of enemies every single time I failed. Every. Single. Fucking. Time.
For some reason, that wasn’t enough for me, and I pressed on to find an upgrade system that did nothing for your character’s power, but instead only added in new combos that seemed to do very little in regard to actually helping you. I will give the game two positives, though. I enjoyed the universe as a whole (the whole idea of demons being almost like household pests with Dante being a sort of exterminator), and I actually did love the boss battles (when I wasn’t being rated on how well I defeated them). Regardless, I hold to it that Devil May Cry 4 is still closer to the bottom of my list of games than it is to the top.
That being said, I still picked up a copy of DmC: Devil May Cry. Now, I know what you’re all thinking: why is the “m” lowercase in the abbreviation and not in the title? I know, this is really bugging me, too. You also might be thinking, “Rayze, what the hell, man! If you hated DMC4, why did you possibly think you’d like this one?” The answer is simple: Devil May Cry fans seem to absolutely hate this game. Well, I’m not a Devil May Cry fan, so maybe a winning formula has been found. After all, I heard a rumor that there exist people who actually liked Super Paper Mario, so I guess fucking anything’s possible.
Triforce of Interaction:
When I first started playing, I became extremely confused. It felt exactly like Devil May Cry 4’s gameplay, except I could actually see what I was doing, pulling off combos actually helped in killing monsters, and I was able to progress through the platforming sections based on my own skill, rather than whether or not the game felt like working. It was Devil May Cry gameplay minus the shitty parts. As I unlocked new weapons, I found myself often switching between them for maximum effect; none of my weapons gathered dust. This is excluding the addition of monsters that can only be harmed by certain weapons, by the way. In a standard battle, I could seamlessly and smoothly swap from my sword to my flaming hammer and then to my icy shuriken without missing a beat. Combos were easier to do, but not in a hand-holding sort of way, but more of a “holy shit the controls actually work” sort of way. Finding that gameplay actually worked was a great first impression for me.
Enemy variety is fairly decent in the game. There are a good few enemies that are given different names, complete with their own introduction and all, which seemed no different than others, but the number of truly unique foes was still plentiful. Basic demons that would simply punch at you, flying demons with projectiles, flaming swordsmen that could only be harmed with demonic weapons that set the ground around them ablaze, icy swordsmen that only angelic weapons could harm that would attempt to freeze you in place, giant rats that would become stronger and faster if one of their allies was defeated, floating witches that could pass shields to whichever demon you had your sights on, hulking behemoths that would try and bumrush you, and plenty of others. It was more than enough to force me to experiment with all of the weapons at my disposal, as no one could ever get the job done for an entire group of enemies. However, my first real problem with the game came early on with a battle involving multiple flying and ground-based foes. The game features no lock-on system, instead having you attack whoever is most centered in your camera. More than a few times, I did find myself trying to work this to shoot down flying enemies shooting at me from afar, but ended up shooting nearby demons that weren’t giving me nearly as much trouble instead. Some sort of lock-on function would’ve been greatly appreciated, but I never found myself failing any battles due to the lack of one.
Outside of combat, the game features some decent platforming sections. They’re all fairly simple, consisting of floating chunks of road and buildings that Dante must jump between, oftentimes using demonic powers to pull platforms towards him or angelic powers to pull himself to the next platform. Nine out of ten times, this worked like a charm, the only real issue then being that the sections were all fairly scripted. Jumps that I could easily have made have often failed because the game wanted me to pull out a new platform, and I found myself sliding off of perfectly flat surfaces because of this. The other issue came when the game expected me to use my demonic or angelic powers mid-flight, especially when it wanted me to alternate between them. Reactions had to be spot-on, often requiring I memorize the timing just to be able to pass certain sections. Segments exist that required you to use your angelic powers to pull yourself into the air, use your demonic powers to pull a door open, then do a mid-air dash to blast into the door before you fall, and these sections are all near impossible to pull off until you’ve failed a few times and gotten your timing down. The obstacles don’t reset, though, so if a door is pulled open, it’ll already be open the next time you attempt the jump, making the sections easier but also ruining the point of the platforming sections, in my opinion.
The final gameplay-related subject I feel a need to bring up is boss battles. The bosses are huge, their designs are unique and oftentimes disturbing, and the battles are all fairly difficult until you master the timing. The final battle, in particular, I found to be a ton of fun, almost enough to make beating the game worthwhile just for that battle itself. The game’s not perfect in its gameplay, but compared to every other hack-and-slash button-masher I’ve played, the overall gameplay of DmC towers proudly. The faults were easy enough to ignore for me, but do be aware of them before picking the game up, because I can see some of them being deal-breakers. Regardless, this is my personal review, and I loved the gameplay.
Triforce of Interaction: Earned!
Triforce of Connection:
I confess, the game’s overall story is… kind of ass. I found it engaging enough for the times I was playing the game, but looking back, it’s hard to pinpoint any specific moments that stood out as anything other than generic… except one. Now, everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, and I don’t want this to turn into a political debate, but almost all of my friends, Conservative and Liberal alike, agree that Fox News is a biased piece of shit. Why am I bringing this up? Because one of the game’s main villains is the head anchor of a network that is clearly a parody of Fox News, a man constantly stretching the truth and telling lies about the going-ons of the world, always preaching about how he’s “just doing God’s work,” and who, minor spoilers, is actually a demon himself. I found this absolutely hilarious, and if you’re among the majority of people who oppose the bias of Fox, you’ll get a huge kick out of this, as well as if you’re one of the station’s fans, but is able to take a joke. It’s a ballsy move on the game’s part to have such a political centerpiece in the game’s story, but I think it ended on an amazing note, and the resulting boss battle is one of my favorites in the game, second only to the finale.
Besides that, the story is generic as all hell. Dante, now looking less retarded and more like a real human being, has spent his entire life being dragged into Limbo and being forced to fight off the demons that reside there. Limbo itself exists as an alternate dimension to Earth, featuring the same general layout but including a few more demons and a few more gravity-defying exploding buildings. In one of these outings, Dante meets the first human he’s ever seen to be able to communicate with him in Limbo, a girl named Kat. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely love Kat’s design. I think they did a great job at making her attractive, and yet still looking like a normal human being that we could conceivably run into walking down the street. This doesn’t change the fact, though, that you could swap her out with a crash test dummy while no one’s looking and the only difference you’ll notice is that she now has a lot more personality. Anyway, Kat helps Dante defeat his first boss demon, and then introduces him to his long-lost brother Virgil, and the three of them begin their mission to overthrow the subtle chains that the demons hold over humanity. I feel a need to note, though, that humanity seemed way better off before they knew the demons existed than they were after the events of the game. Good job, guys, you ruined everything.
The big discussion in this section, though, is Dante. As if the second sentence of the last paragraph didn’t tip you off, I think Dante’s new design is a huge improvement. He doesn’t stand out nearly as much as he used to, although I feel like he’s going to slowly begin to resemble old Dante as this reboot continues, based on how he looks at the game’s end. Personality-wise, he’s almost exactly like old Dante. He’s lazy, perverted, constantly cracks one-liners, talks to his weapons, and at one point we see him flying naked through the air with nothing but a slice of pizza covering his genitals. The only main difference is that new Dante is a bit more angsty, but given his situation, I feel this only helps to make him more believable. As for this Triforce as a whole, it’s a tough call for me, but the killer really is the pure number of clichés the game features, as well as the fact that, despite how proud of themselves the heroes seem at the end, they ended up causing more death and destruction than there would’ve been if they’d just left everything alone.
Triforce of Connection: Failed.
Triforce of Immersion:
In my opinion, this is the category in which the game does the best. Bam, spoilers for the next few paragraphs in the first sentence. But seriously, the game’s environments are simply beautiful and extremely creative. Remember that Fox News villain I mentioned? His realm in Limbo isn’t in the news tower itself, but the reflection of the news tower. Dante has to actually jump into a reflective pool and traverse through an upside-down underwater city to reach the boss’s chamber. Then, when he actually reaches the tower, he’s surrounded by a surreal environment that, strangely, feels like how I feel it would be like to be sucked into a news report. The resulting battle, which I won’t spoil, is a work of art, plain and simple. If you pick this game up and end up not liking it, I at least urge you to stick with it until this fight, because it’s something that must be experienced.
My other favorite level is one of the last, where Kat draws out a plan to infiltrate the main villain’s base on a chalkboard. As you progress through the tower, then, the environment will occasionally shift to appear like a chalkboard, with Kat’s directional arrows leading the path to continue. I feel like I’m describing this section poorly, but take my word for it in that this section is a lot of fun and very artistic. These two sections may be my favorites, but there are many others in the game that give the same vibe. If anyone who worked on this game deserves praise, it’s the people who designed these environments. One important thing about the environments, though, is that I have never gotten lost in them. While I only had this problem to a lesser extent, I have a friend who found herself getting completely lost (in the bad way) in Devil May Cry 4’s scenery, unable to tell where to go next. Having detailed environments like the ones in DmC while simultaneously eradicating this problem is worthy of praise in itself.
Admittedly, there do exist problems with being unable to tell which is the “right direction,” by which I mean which path with continue the level and which path will have collectibles. Also, a few of the environments are repeated a bit too often, one in particular being fairly bland and used way too often. It’s nothing that takes away from the game itself, but compared to how stunning and original most of the game’s scenes are, these sections stand out as particularly unexciting. Still, love the overall mood of the game as a whole, and I feel a need to give credit where credit is due.
Triforce of Immersion: Earned!
The vastly improved gameplay over the previous game in the series is a major plus in the game’s favor, as are the game’s environments. The story may be a deep fried turd on a stick, and the characters may be fairly bland and generic, but the overall package of DmC shows a ton of effort being put in. It’s far from the best game I’ve ever played, but is easily one of the best hack-and-slash games that has ever graced my console. If you’ve ever played a Devil May Cry game and saw any sort of potential in them, then I can highly recommend this game, assuming you’re not the kind of person who will default hate the game just because the main character got a haircut. Suck it up, you pussy.
Triforce of Interaction: Earned!
Triforce of Connection: Failed.
Triforce of Immersion: Earned!
Overall Score: 86/100