The second the first visual trailer of this game appeared, fans revolted. Fans rioted. I even got upset. But I tried to tell myself that a characters look doesn’t define its gameplay. And fear not action cravers. This reboot brings its action!
The first thing to say is Dante’s new look. Sure, most of us loyalists don’t like it (and I still can’t get used to it even after beating this game like 5 times already). But in the sense of being a brand new start, it’s not THAT bad. And his attitude isn’t completely terrible either. The Dante we know of has a smooth, cool character that always seems like he’s in his own personal rocking world. And even though that character in a regular world would be ridiculous, it’s awesome in a video game! Now the new Dante on the other hand has more of a punk, rebel attitude. At times he tries to play it smooth, but it never clicks like the old Dante, but it does have its own distinguishing qualities. Many will hate it, many might like it, but all in all, it’s not bad.
Now the atmosphere and tone of DmC’s world is a much more distinguishing character as it is a part of its storyline. Multi-billionaire, Kyle Rider (aka Mundus, the Demon King) has the world at the palm of his hands, or as his woman quotes it in the intro, “the world is now your bitch”. But the only thing he doesn’t have in check is the rebel deviant Dante. So Mundus sends out his minions to hunt Dante down. The world of DmC takes place in two realms: the real world which looks really gray and uninteresting; and Limbo, a crazy twisted, vivid and colorful dimension. Most of the game takes place in this alternate reality and Dante gets dragged into it about every second. But that’s no problem cause all your demon slaying only happens in Limbo.
The combat in this game stays extremely faithful to the basic concepts of the Devil May Cry franchise, with some small touches and additions that fans of developer Ninja Theory may know of. Dante can use three classes of melee fighting: human mode (his sword), angel mode (a scythe which allows you to attack quickly and to control surrounding enemies from attacking you) and devil mode (a heavy axe which is really slow but packs a huge punch). Using either angel or devil mode is as simple as holding a shoulder trigger and using the same face buttons. It may feel awkward at first but it starts sinking in after an hour or so. And combos are actually pretty easy for any beginner or pro to execute. Plus, you get special grapple abilities with each of the two god modes. With devil mode, you can grapple an enemy to come closer to you (like Nero’s arm in 4) and with angel mode, you can grapple yourself closer to enemies. These grapples help keep the action always flowing as well as your combo. As you progress deeper into the game, you unlock extra melee weapons and switching out between them in mid-battle is just a tap of the d-pad. The variety of combos that can be performed since you obtain your first angel and devil weapons ups your repertoire by 3, but once you unlock the other weapons, it multiplies the possible combo variations by 6 to even 9. The combinations are endless, no matter if you know what you’re doing or not. After finishing about half of the game, you earn the ability to activate Devil Trigger, which turns our protagonist close to the natural look of the Dante we’ve come to know and love by coloring his coat red and his hair white. It also sends Limbo into chaos. The world turns white, the sounds almost dim out completely, and all your enemies are thrown into the air. Your health replenishes while in this mode and your attacks are doubled but it takes so long to charge the meter up to use and once you do, it goes down too fast. And the worse part of it is that your enemies are helpless floating in mid-air. This may sound okay in writing, but it’s one of the worse parts of combat because you have to pull everyone in just to start an attack on anyone. Last but not least, Dante brings back his iconic dual pistols Ebony and Ivory, allowing you to continue your combo if an enemy is too far away or link it in between combos. More firearms become available that also up the ante to your move set.
One thing that I felt somewhat upsetting was how easy combat felt. Now I’m not saying the entire game is easy. There is some difficulty in certain areas, but its only due to the specific waves of enemies they throw at you. The developers did two things that lower the difficulty and pressure of the game. There are signals or signs from the enemy that show clear as day as they are about to attack. Now, even without the shine of the enemy’s sword, lots of the enemies take too long to attack you so it’s pretty easy to avoid most of the attacks. On the other hand, on harder difficulties, lots of enemies fill up the screen and makes it a bit difficult to concentrate at times on who will strike at you first. But there is a small helping hand from the camera that can make your battles somewhat easier. If you happen to get your camera to just have a specific enemy in view (example: fighting an enemy in a corner only displaying you and your one opponent) enemies off-screen will not barrage you out of nowhere. This is a good asset to have at certain times when you feel outnumbered and need to catch your breath and battle enemies one at a time. Like I said before, it’s not an easy game but isn’t an extremely difficult one either. Boss fights don’t feel very creative or difficult either. Sure, you have to learn the attack pattern first but once you got that down (which you could practically figure it out on your first go) all the bosses are pretty simple. There is one boss that has an exception: the final boss. Without spoiling, the last fight is probably one of the most interesting parts of the game for its execution and tone.
Progression is fairly simple: fight demons, rack up white (used to buy new moves) and red (used to buy items) orbs, do a bit of platforming here and there, and fight bosses. There are also special looking doors that open secret missions, but you need to find the secret keys before you can play these missions. Many of these secrets can only be found on your second playthrough so there’s a bit of replay value. The secret missions don’t even feel as close to difficult as some of the ones in the old games, but they do add up to your final score if you are looking to earn the highest rank in each mission. One good thing I liked that Ninja Theory put in this installment is that any secret keys you collect, secret missions you complete, and lost souls you set free (tortured victims in red that you will find hidden throughout Limbo), they will always add up to your score without the need of doing them again. This helps if you want to race through the missions quickly. But the only other variety thrown into the game is a small puzzle near the end. It might as well not have even been there at all.
All in all, this game as a whole feels great from start to finish. Sure there will be complaints and comparisons to the old Dante and games, but as a reboot, it’s a fresh new take on the DmC world with new horizons to explore in its near future. But if it makes the fans happy, this game doesn’t even come close to the heights that the third installment created. Nevertheless, this is one action-adventure game that should be checked out!