If it's crap ... We'll tell you
DmC: Devil May Cry follows the story of Dante, a rebellious youth who’s constantly being hunted by demons in attempt to kill him at every turn. He meets a girl named Kat, a member of “The Order”, an organization that is fighting against the demons and their brain washing methods over humanity and attempts to recruit Dante. There he meets the leader of the group, his twin brother Vergil. He reveals to Dante that they are Nephilim, a powerful species born of demons and angels. Only they have the power to defeat the leader of the demon’s Mundus and free humanity from its unknown slavery.
DmC, or Devil May Cry, or the very popular DmC: Devil May Cry is the fifth entry in a long running hack n’ slash series by Capcom. The first game debuted in 2001 by director Hideki Kamiya, first made as a Resident Evil backwash helped reinvent the genre. Most known for its stylish fast paced gameplay, gothic backdrops, and quirky main character.
Devil May Cry or DmC is another franchise in another experiment long trend with the Japanese gaming company Capcom when it comes to outsourcing its games to western developers, an idea originally implemented by once member and artists of Mega Man, Kenji Infaune, in an attempt to spice up their IP’s and appeal to western developers. This time to UK developer Ninja Theory, who’s made such games as Kung Fu Chaos, Heavenly Sword, and Enslaved. They’ve made a name for themselves by producing games that bring forth a strong narrative that weaves beautifully into their stylish gameplay and always present their games with very distinctive art styles, vivid colors, and scenic backdrops. In 2010 at Tokyo Game Show, Capcom revealed a trailer for the next title in this series with jarring art style and notable changes to its main character Dante, the big question on everyone’s mind with this title is.. Can it hold up?
Yes and No.
One of the big aspects and draw of the Devil May Cry series has always been its flashy moves, complex combos, and its difficulty; while this entry certainly has the “flash”, it has nothing else. That isn’t to say the combat doesn’t have some fun elements to it, it’s very fast paced, and fighting large groups of enemies and the larger sets that require proper dodging and parrying are quite fun, but there is a bad working against the good in this case.
While the game itself does boast a decent list amount of combos for each of the game’s 5 weapons, they just don’t add anything to the overall game flow. Each weapon carries the same combos, and both sets of Angel and Demon weapons carry the same effects, meaning there is no sense of uniqueness to their use. This was a big element in the original games, each weapon played very differently from each other, each with their own strengths and weaknesses; in this game, angel weapons are all about swift wide area sweeps that deal low damage, and devil weapons are slow heavy hitters, each one has a launch move and standard aerial combo. The game makes you use these weapons in an otherwise annoying gimmick, where certain enemies can only be hit with its responding element. While effective in concept, this serves only to break the flow of the gameplay. An otherwise fast combat session is brought down to a halt the second you need to focus on a single enemy using a very limited move set. The later levels in particular set you up against enemies where you’d have to switch between angel and devil arms on the fly, which plays more annoying than it sounds.
Style Points, something that was once rewarded for switching up the combat and never using the same move twice on an enemy, is now replaced with a meter that bases it off of how much damage you inflict, removing the penalty put on the player they would otherwise get for just mashing buttons. I was able to achieve D to SSS in the matter of seconds.
The level design itself also bogs down the player by attempting platforming elements which take up over half of the mission’s gameplay time. This segments just boil down to using Dante’s grapple weapon to pull him to platforms, pull platforms to him, or using his dash ability in air. There is nothing interesting about them and just feel like an annoying set of QTE’s and double jumps. This should play into one of Ninja Theory’s many strengths in how well they can project a environment, but this game is riddled with low res textures, awkward lighting, and blue and orange contrast as far as the eye can see.
Now that I’ve detailed the lack luster combat in all of its fullness, now comes my favorite part. The story. This is something Ninja Theory and a lot of gaming outlets took great pride in prior to the game’s release, one of the actors describing it as Shakespearean themed. Well. It’s far from Shakespearean. It’s brash and immature. It’s a male power fantasy and brings forth elements of a middle schooler’s fantasy notebook after getting a few CD’s his mom bought him at Hot Topic. This game also had quite the tendency to open up with a cinematic, put several cut scenes in the middle of the gameplay, and at the end of a mission. This leads to a longer play time of me doing nothing more often in a mission than actually playing the game. While the game does try it’s best to make our ‘heroes’ more likeable characters than our evil banker villain, sometimes it’s hard. Dante is a person who is far from relatable. He’s crude. Childish. And worse yet. Not funny. Dante carries a handbag full of different one liners that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger blush. There is no subtly or wit to this story what so ever. Whatever tension or dramatic build up that could be had is broken due to the characters speaking solely in exposition. We never really get a feel for them as people; they appear to be distant information machines and a whoopee cushion playable character. While the story in the previous games weren’t quite pushing the boundaries of a dramatic experience or ground breaking dialogue, but they had a certain charm to them, it worked in its simplicity and corny humor, fit the tone of the game and the characters, this just felt forced, as if they needed to reach a quota of bad humor to balance out how dramatic the game tries to be, it feels inorganic and distracting.
Overall DmC: Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 5, DmC, or just DmC: FU is just an average game. It’s shallow yet fun combat becomes bloated due to it’s excessive platforming and how it constantly reminds the player of its uninteresting story and terrible characters.