A year after its release, I have finally tackled Ninja Theory’s DmC. Controversial, divisive etc, etc. What a load of whiny bollocks.
Just to get it out of the way – a year later, DmC is good game, and I really hope Ninja Theory have another stab at the franchise. By now it should be expected that Ninja Theory would make a pretty game albeit it one with questionable animations. They may not create technically impressive feats, but they wield a distinct art direction. Mainly, they use colours other than mud-shit and grey. There are some fantastically directed levels, at times feeling like Buffy-goes-Tron on MDMA. These neon-drench levels are a neat, if shallow, distraction.
As always in the Devil May Cry series, combat is stylish and fanciful, with a heavy emphasis on the style. Dante’s Rebellion and Ebony and Ivory return and additional weapons are split between the angel and demon fighting styles, and while this may sound like typical video game gimmickry, it works well. The two styles are controlled by the left and right bumper, and allows for four different styles to be used in one chain with the combos being similar across all styles allowing for fluid fighting. To be honest, I do not understand the fuss about this not being a DmC game, it lets you fight in style with ease. That’s Devil May Cry!
As a side note the game reminded me a little of Guacamelle, which reminded me a little of the original Devil May Cry. So you know what? Nice circle.
Now for the difficulty. Okay, the game is a bit easy but I have no quarrel with it. However, I do not understand why developers keep locking the higher difficulties in their games. Let people decide their own difficulty from the start and on the fly and give gamers the choice. Locking difficulty as a reward is ridiculous.
The characterisation is good, but not great. Dante gets better throughout, but I do prefer the original Dante. The jump between the two Dantes is like comparing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Adventure time – same shit, different generation. Kat is a serviceable character who ultimately keeps Dante anchored to humanity. If she returns to the franchise, I hope Ninja Theory realise her further and give her a bit more power. Though Dante views her as strong and interesting, her most striking moments are when she is a damsel in distress. Tone back the full on emo girl personality and give her more power next time; let her have as much fun as Dante and Vergil. Oh, and Vergil is brilliant, and the relationship between the brothers is playful bordering between bro-love and bro-hate. The playful rivalry tensely and joyfully foreshadows the bitter rivalry that you are waiting for throughout.
Other mentions should go out to Bob Barbas, the news reader, his boss battle being a delightful surprise, and Phineas who acts like a Phineas/Tiresias Greek-prophet and guide. Though the latter has a minor role, he is a wonderful supporting character, feeling like a deleted character from Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.
So yes, as a fan of the series, DmC surprised me. The nod’s to the series’ history were welcomed and not overdone to the point that the game was hindered by it. This is how reboots should be done. Now all we need is Ninja Theory to be given the chance to try again, and for God sake shut up the masochists by unlocking the harder difficulties from the offset, because, you know, devil’s will cry and all.