When a popular piece of media gets remade, there’s a fine line that all design teams must be wary of. The makers of the reimagining have to create something that captures the spirit and entertaining qualities of the original, but still make it different enough that it doesn’t seem like an exact replica.
A lot of people didn’t think Ninja Theory would succeed in their reboot of Devil May Cry, but many were surprised when the new game hit shelves and blew them away- myself included.
The remade version of the original hack-and-slash game features a new Dante, the son of Sparda, a demon knight who saved humanity from his own kind. The son of the demonic general and twin to his katana-wielding twin brother, Vergil, Dante is now also the son of the angel, Eva. This is a huge difference, considering that the original Dante’s mother was human.
With his parents gone, Dante must team up with his brother to free the human race from the clutches of Mundus, the demon king.
For those of you who haven’t seen the trailers for this game, DmC takes place in the fictional location of Limbo City, the home of Mundus. The original Devil May Cry games typically took place in gothic castles or cities that had been corrupted by the ‘demon-world’.
Likewise, Dante himself has gotten quite a makeover. He is no longer the stylish, suave gentleman with a wisecracking mouth; Dante is now a violent punk with the mouth of a trucker. This was the main source of fan outcry; they couldn’t accept that this new character was the original, charismatic swordsman they once knew. Some people were most angry about his black hair, though it does return to its shocking white during his infamous devil triggers.
This is, in fact, NOT the same character. I, for one, very much enjoy the new game, including the setting and art style this game was going for. It’s very gritty, with a 70’s punk horror theme. However, there’s just enough elements of the original to appease Devil May Cry veterans like myself.
For example, Dante, while using profanity in many of his quotes, still loves to taunt and belittle his opponents before he cuts them down. He also has the compassion of his original counterpart, going out of his way to help people he cares for.
Another example of maintaining the original spirit is the music. This wouldn’t be a Devil May Cry game if it didn’t have a rocking heavy metal soundtrack with a good grunge tone to it. The developers got two actual bands to compose some music for this game; Combichrist and Noisia. I had never heard their songs before, but being a fan of this kind of music, I now listen to them.
Now on to the main part: the game play. I’m not going to lie- I drool when I think about playing this game but find myself unable to. It’s addicting. Wailing on enemies with the various weapons the game gives you feels so satisfying. You’re now able to change weapons in the middle of combos just by holding down one of the shoulder buttons, giving you incredible variety and freedom to make the combat system do basically whatever you want.
The game is a hack-and-slash, just like the other Devil May Cry games. Essentially, you have a bunch of enemies that need to be annihilated, and the more stylishly you do it, the better. As you get better at combat, you learn to pull off more tricks and skills, but the game also gets harder, pushing you to get better as well.
There are a couple of changes from this game and the others. For one thing, the aim button is gone. This game has an auto aim system which targets your enemies and directs your attacks towards them. It doesn’t hinder the game at all, but veterans of previous games will definitely have to get used to it, and fast if they want to win.
Another unfortunate omission is the styles from Devil May Cry 3 and 4. Whereas in those games you could switch from being a gunslinger to a sword master or dark slayer, here you’re just Dante the Demon Killer. Yes, it does have a nice ring to it, but I like to be a trickster as well.
Another minor issue I have with this game is the occasional loading screen. It doesn’t happen very frequently, but when it does, it feels like I’m stuck in limbo with Dante, waiting for the chance to escape the horror of the lag.
Perhaps the most unfortunate letdown is the length of the game. It’s pretty dang short. With only 20 missions, your first play through will clock in at about 10 hours. The replay value, like the other games, is to test your skills and play the game on a higher difficulty. If you do not like challenging yourself, though, you might find yourself disappointed.
Like a good classic game, DmC does have plenty of secrets and hidden items in the game that can only be found on subsequent plays, encouraging playing through at least one more time. Thankfully there are nothing but fun missions, an interesting story and hilarious dialogue that isn’t getting old anytime soon.
I would strongly recommend getting this game if you like beat ‘em ups and hack-and-slash games. Old school Devil May Cry fans should give this game a go- you might find that you actually like it. I give DMC a rating of nine out of 10. It is most certainly worth playing.