DmC: Devil May Cry Hands-On - Captivate 2012
DmC: Devil May Cry Hands-On - Captivate 2012
Oh boy, was I sceptical about this one. I'm not kidding, I did not have high hopes for the effete creation I saw in the initial media for DmC: Devil May Cry. I've never been so attached to the series as to have been offended by Ninja Theory's offering, but I could definitely picture in my mind's eye how a fan might harbour some resentment.
I mean, this Dante wasn't cool, I thought to myself, evidently deluded into thinking I knew what cool was. To quote The Simpsons, "The whole thing smacks of effort, man". He was trying to be cool, but he was in fact a fool (this sort of rhyming bullshit is a big reason why I'm not cool, by the way).
Then Pizza Crotch came into my life. I sincerely, honestly, pray that Capcom/Ninja Theory has the good grace to release some sort of trailer featuring Pizza Crotch, but I simply can't take that chance. Instead, allow me to paint you a picture with my words.
Dante wakes up one morning, butt naked, to the sound of a woman bashing on his door. He opens the door, and after greeting her is immediately confronted by a massive demon making its way out of the sea.
The demon attacks, throwing out a chain-whip-hook type thing at Dante but missing, hitting his Riggs-style caravan and ripping it towards him. Dante - still naked, obviously - leaps up, through the open door and starts to dress himself while still in the air. We're treated to artfully placed items from around the caravan taking the place of his wang, all of them saying big things about Dante's... thing... until suddenly it's there, in all its glory. No, not his wingus - a piece of pizza floats in midair, covering up his junk. Pizza Crotch.
A 'cool' game would keep us reminded of Dante's manly superiority. Instead, DMC gives us the cheesy, red ringed crust of a pizza to save our innocent eyes from Dante's dong. Then, before our eyes the pizza rotates, transforming from a crusty phallus into a triangular crotch covering - subverting Dante's manliness via a pastry based castration (a pastration).
In Ninja Theory's DMC, the game takes place in 'the real world' - though in this universe a secondary demonic world lurks just beneath the surface, one with strong resemblances (but demonic differences) to our world. Dante, having Demon Blood, can move between these worlds as he likes - though at the start of the game he doesn't really have control over it yet. Ninja Theory didn't tell me whether 'moving between worlds' would eventually be something Soul Reaver-esque, but that doesn't fit the game conceptually.
So in the game we saw and I played, Dante gets dragged into Limbo when a demon shows up to kill him. The atmosphere changes as the world takes on reddish hue, and subliminal messages become superliminal as they paint themselves all over your environment. Limbo itself is supposedly a combatant in Dante's struggle, altering itself to stack the odds against him as he fights demons. Still, this concept of Limbo actually being out to get you is a bit of a misnomer - a piece of marketing easily regurgitated. The environment altering so that it might kill you itself translates into some fantastic platforming sequences, but if it was really out to get you it would just swallow you whole while you were fighting cherubim.
The platforming parts really are well done though. Some of you are probably worried about jumping puzzles in DMC - I know I was - but I am happy to inform you that the camera stays behind Dante like a third person shooter camera should. I honest-to-god stopped playing Devil May Cry 3 because I got too annoyed with one of the shittier jumping puzzles, where Dante's movements were camera relative and your perspective would shift mid-jump because I'd done something grossly offensive to the level designers or something.
So I'm happy to say that platforming is good - and when Limbo actually wants to make things challenging, it was able to make me think quick on my feet while jumping through the ever-changing world.
The combat is great, too. As well as Rebellion (his sword) and Ebony and Ivory (his twin pistols), Dante has Angel and Demon weapon modifiers, allowing him to further tailor his attacks to his enemies. In practice during our hands-on the Demon modifier gave Dante strong single target attacks, while the Angel modifier was more about area of effect, crowd control style combat.
Modifiers mean you can keep your three button combat - one button to attack, one to 'launch' and one for ranged style attacks - but a quick trigger pull gives you nine different options. The modifiers also make an appearance in the traversal sections of the game, as the Angel and Demon triggers work as either a grappling hook or a Scorpion style 'Spear' respectively, allowing you to move around the world quickly.
The changes to the ranking system are the other very welcome new addition - now all combat is ranked on the fly, so you can track your progress as you fight. The game also tells you how much damage your attacks are doing, which means you'll know to alter your strategy if you're not killing demons quick enough to get the SSS rank.
It's true that my apprehension towards DMC stemmed in equal parts from my initial dislike of the Ninja Theory version of Dante and from my concerns regarding elements of the series that I've always disliked - the fixed cameras, for example. I guess I wanted to be sold on this reboot of the series, and getting my hands-on it definitely converted me successfully.
Still, I think fans of the series will welcome the changes the Enslaved/Heavenly Sword developers are bringing to Dante's world - there's still the Japanese style Extreme Action elements of self-challenge, complex combos and punishment for failure, but it's tempered by Western influences like a functional camera system and interesting traversal.
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