Review – DMC: Devil May Cry


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Review – DMC: Devil May Cry
I’ll have ‘My Words’ with a side of chips, please
Ninja Theory
Release Date:
XBox 360, PS3, PC
Age Rating:
[Editor’s Note – This review is so very late. And our apology is directly linked to that.]

I had reservations about Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry reboot. I had them over here.
I was anxious the combat system seemed tired and archaic. Compared to standard bearer Bayonetta, or even legendary predecessor DMC3, it is.
I feared its gameplay might leave new ground unpushed. You’ll find no trails blazed here.
By its own franchise standards, DMC suffers a limited arsenal. True enough, attacks can be chained into endless strings of violent evisceration. But that’s been a staple since 2001.

And somehow, none of this matters.

Because of the Pew Pew!
Because of the Pew Pew!Enlarge Enlarge

For the third title in a row, Ninja Theory has hurled their A-Game into atmosphere. This coating of polish has improved DMC’s overall quality, immeasurably. Infectiously irreverent as the originator was, Brat Dante grows on you over time. Like a rash...

Initially crass and shallow, the kind of poser you’d omit from your evite list, Dante soon lets his guard down, revealing assorted treasures such as vulnerability and wit. Still, kind of a poser though.

DMC lore has ever been peripheral, yet Ninja Theory has dragged it, screaming and convulsing, into the light. One reworked origin later, and Dante is now the son of both Demon AND Angel, his katana wielding brother heads an underground revolution, a troubled medium hangs about to ground the uncaring protagonist and Demons control the populous with soft drinks, malicious media and... bank debt...

Gameplay, in this obviously lovingly revamped title, occurs almost exclusively in Limbo: an ethereal parody of the ‘real’ world, ominously bent to the antagonist’s will. Perverted and deformed locales offer a startling contrast to proceedings which you’ll barely notice. Because you’ll be busy, with the chopping!!!

Fluid, juggle-centric combat lacks the irresistible brutality of God of War, infinite depth of DMC3 and batsh*t insanity of Bayonetta. But there’s satisfying heft to Rebellion’s swings. Plus elegant weapon swaps ensure battles descend into gratifying affairs of personal one-upmanship. Fights conclude with a dramatic flourish and, in a genuinely radical turn, XP can be swapped out freely, bestowing greater scope for experimentation.

Fiendish difficulty levels bookend a disappointingly slight (8-9 hour) campaign and there’s no ‘Bloody Palace’ arena to really explore the combat’s nuance. But overall narrative quality once again cement the fact Ninja Theory’s real proficiency lies beyond gameplay. A clichéd affair? Sure. But when handled with such care and enthusiasm for character and design, it stands out.

Ultimately, DMC is a success. A modest, safe, calculated success. A success that arguably misconstrues what made the DMC franchise so formidable in the first place, but replaces it with storytelling orders of magnitude superior to what’s gone before. Perhaps next time Dante will identify himself with a grapple mechanic, a meatier move set, counter-attacks or a sexy new hook like contemporary MGR: Revengeance.

But for now, consider Devil May Cry well and truly rebooted.

Right up its arse!

7 Stars
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