Ever since the announcement of the Devil May Cry reboot (DmC) developed by Ninja Theory, the game has been shrouded in controversy. From the re-imagining of a much younger Dante which rubbed many hardcore fans the wrong way, and now to the point that many fake reviews of the game are being released on the internet. For those that are unaware, DmC is bringing the series back before the original games. In which we are shown a much younger, attitude driven Dante who has the smartarse mouth of a teenager, backed up with the extreme swordsmanship Dante is known for.
Is one simple re-design enough for this game to garner as much hate as it has? I believe not, though he may be visually different from previous games, his personality is Dante all-over. Having gone through the entire Devil May Cry series over the past few weeks, I am here to tell you why DmC shouldn’t be disregarded. It seems to encapsulate the true meaning of the Devil May Cry series, in more ways than one.
Out of the previous 4 Devil May Cry titles the one that stands out as the pinnacle of the series is DMC3, it was able to refine everything that the series was known for and produce a cohesive package from start to finish. One of the reasons this game stands out is because we got to see Dante’s personality in comparison to the first two titles, he could quite possibly be classified as the ‘silent protagonist’ in the original games. Barely showing the slightest of personality, we spent two entire games with our hero, yet apart from his back story we were left questioning ‘who’ Dante was deep down. DMC3 put a stamp on the series, setting it before the original 2 games and providing a much younger version of Dante, in-turn creating a character with a loveable personality, he was frankly badass. Though the odds may have been stacked against Dante, he never kept quiet, showing demons complete disrespect with his crude mouth.
From what we have seen of DmC, this attitude that possessed Dante is back in full-force. Giving the finger to his enemies, swearing and setting his adversaries into a rage with his abusive comments. Have people forgot what we loved about Dante? His attitude gave the entire character a well-rounded base, it showed he was out to rid the world of demons and have a blast doing it. Devil May Cry 3 left us with how Dante truly feels before the credits roll, “I love this! This is what I live for! I’m absolutely crazy about it!” These simple words gave a solid foundation to the characters motives that past games just could not show, he is a born hero, but unlike most protagonists he is crazy about what he does.
This fun-loving attitude against the forces of darkness has from all accounts been pulled off perfectly within DmC, in gameplay videos and trailers we have caught glimpses of this attitude in progress and no doubt it will raise its head numerous times during the campaign. Dante is a teenager and in all respects should give off even more attitude than our cocky, fun-loving demon killer of DMC3.
What makes Devil May Cry stand out in the crowded hack and slash genre? Style. Cut scenes throughout DMC games are full of stylised killing action, for instance, I must go back to DMC3 once again. We start DMC3 with Dante being attacked in his office by a group of demons, from there we get the definition of ‘stylised action’. Dante shoots a white snooker ball mid-air, that then collides with every other snooker ball which then shoot off and kill the demons around him, there is nothing cooler. We even see Dante put on his signature red coat with style, very similar to the way the Dante in DmC gets dressed for battle. These stylised moments made Dante legitimize his skills as a demon slayer and DmC seems to understand this.
The opening video of his trailer being destroyed by that over-sized demon, it reeks of Devil May Cry style, the way he gets dressed, his ability to fly through the trailer and grab everything he needs to kill this beast in slow motion, these scenes are an absolute pleasure. The fact that the opening scene is able to showcase the style Dante has at hand, really does open the doors for the other crazy action moments we could see throughout the game. These were a pleasure to watch and the fact Ninja Theory knows this, should give fans confidence in DmC’s ability to keep to what Devil May Cry stands for, but in their own style.
Honestly though the main factor of Devil May Cry is combat, if the combat feels off then it can never live up to the games of the past. DMC has evolved over time with the first two games restricting the camera, 3 allowing slight movement and 4 giving (mostly) full control, but it never felt exactly right. If DmC is able to make a camera that can clearly function well with the graceful, fast paced combat of Dante, then they will do something that the series itself has never been able to accomplish. Not only this, but from my short time with DmC demo, the combat feels slick, refined and seems to have that in-depth nature that previous titles have grasped.
See Devil May Cry is easy to string together basic combos, but those who master the game truly find the detailed combat available. From all hands-on accounts the game feels like it shines in this regard, having now experienced all the previous iterations, DmC feels strong. This is only from a short sample of the game, but assuming they have the same options of extending your combat repertoire as previous titles, combat could become more interesting as the game progresses.
These are just a handful of bullet points that make the series so great, but they are of course not the only things. The narrative must be strong, what made DMC2 so weak was its plot, it never really made sense and left a lot of holes in the overall story. This is where DMC3 and to a lesser extend 4 stepped up, giving us a strong narrative that showcased the characters well, Ninja Theory was able to showcase great characterization in Enslaved: Odyssey of the West and that ability would work well in DmC.
But one of the main things people love about the Devil May Cry series is the amount of content the game has to offer, offering challenging difficulties, secret costumes that allow you to do some really interesting things (Like play two player through the entire DMC3 campaign). These secrets keep people coming back, adding to the overall package of what DMC is able to accomplish. Though we won’t be able to find out how Ninja Theory handled these aspects until the game ships, the fact they have already included some of the best things the franchise has to offer, gives me great confidence.
So why the hate? Have hardcore fans just jumped to the conclusion from a slight re-design, that this character and the overall product is not worth their time? I think that is a silly assumption, re-designs can offer some great new aspects to a series and as we saw with Halo 4, new developers handling a series can even sometimes find a way to outshine the original. Though DmC has not been released, the wait for the final product is growing ever shorter. I think those writing DmC off as ‘not a Devil May Cry game’, are missing the true essence of what Devil May Cry is about.
DmC is a dark horse, that I believe will be able to provide a fresh take on the series, whilst giving nods to the past. Could I be wrong? Of course, but until that time I will continue to wait for DmC to arrive on my doorstep with great excitement, because like Dante before me. “I love this! This is what I live for! I’m absolutely crazy about it!”
Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction where you can find all his latest reviews, interviews and features and also like them on Facebook. Also follow his daily life on Twitter @AnalogAddiction and their videos on YouTube.