The latest version of "Devil May Cry" will turn even non-fans into believers.
You've got the wrong guy. Me, review "DmC: Devil May Cry"?
This time last week I would have been glad to sit you down and tell you about my active aversion for hack-and-slash games. The weird "suction" mechanic whereby button presses have you automatically swinging at nearby enemies, no aim required, just doesn't sit well for me. Or at least, it didn't. This game kind of changed that for me.
With "DmC," Capcom and Ninja Theory (the real engineers behind this reboot) have effectively broken down my snobbery with gameplay that's somehow both gritty and easy to giggle at. The Death Knight's first appearance -- he crawls from the ground, all bones, and shakes off the dirt with a quick banging together of sword and shield -- will prove to be one of the more memorable gaming moments of my year, I'm sure. It was badass, but I couldn't help laughing a little. I think it's because I couldn't wait to fight the thing.
A moment later, I was given a new weapon to better deal with future Death Knights. "DmC" gives you new stuff at a regular clip, and it's all good to play with. In the end you'll have eight weapons, an arsenal available without putting a stop to the gameplay. For this Ninja Theory brought in a great mechanic from "Heavenly Sword": hold down either trigger for a complete change in your move set (by virtue of a weapon swap). Along with the redesign imposed on Dante, this is what's having "Devil May Cry" fans crying foul.
But it works so well. In a matter of seconds you can launch an enemy into the air with the Arbiter (a fiery ax), jump up to smack him down with Eryx (punching gauntlets) rake him back up with Osiris (a scythe) and finish the job with your plain old sword. It's glorious.
It also fits beautifully into Dante's shtick as a child of angel/demon lovemaking. L and R in games have for some subliminal reason become associated with good and bad respectively, and "DmC" marches along with that.
Dante's changed, but the script brings out the cheekiness that many fans were fearing lost. The storyline keeps to a small cast of characters, and refrains from overwrought plot points. Dante's exchanges with his twin brother, Vergil, can get crude, but in an unapologetic way (that's the only way to pull it off, right?). His dialogue with bosses gets filthy, and tables some measured and truly satisfactory use of the F word. That's no simple science (seriously, don't step into the battle with the Succubus if grandma's around. Or a nun).
One could accuse "DmC" of being a little easy. There are no maps, for instance, because none are needed (no multi-storied dungeons here). There's also just the one late-game puzzle; at least it's clever. On the normal difficulty setting, I beat the game in around 15 hours and only died a handful of times out of mild laziness.
But what isn't easy is acing those report cards at each mission's end. You'll be judged on style (how varied you were in your demon-squashing), how much secret stuff you found, and how quickly you finished up.
Beating the game unlocks Son of Sparda, a difficulty mode that takes enemy groups up a notch. Here the very first batch includes a Hell Knight. Another difficulty mode has Dante die in one hit. I'm looking forward to playing as Son of Sparda, especially since a lot of the hidden unlockables aren't available in the first play through.
It's Ninja Theory's way of goading me into another play through. It doesn't need one. "DmC" has carved a little hellhole in my heart (that's a good thing). To fans of the series, no matter how preliminary disappointed with the change of direction you might be: give this game a chance.