Gritty reboots have been all the rage in movies, nowadays, and it’s no wonder that some games have opted to join in the bandwagon. Whether it be in the form of retcons, reimaginings, or even character revamps, shaking things up gets people talking about an otherwise stale or overused product, although that does not necessarily equate to higher sales and followership.
The latest to try their hand at reboots is Ninja Theory with their latest contribution to the ever-popular Devil May Cry franchise. DmC: Devil May Cry is, in fact, not a reboot altogether, as it is set in an alternate reality that features a younger and more “hardcore” looking Dante as he battles a seemingly sentient town that contains various demons and creatures as well as some recurring, and also reimagined, characters from games belonging to previous installments of the franchise.
Developments, as well as rumors about the game, have been present since 2010, and trailers of the game have been met with mixed reactions with some praising the changes made overall, while some have met this new incarnation of the game with scorn, primarily with the more emo-looking protagonist. Throughout its development, however, Ninja Theory has made some minor changes to make the game much more appealing to everyone without changing the bigger picture, and this action has resulted in previous critics to change their opinions about the game.
As with most reboots, most players and fans of the series would be excited about the changes that have been made with regards to the characters as well as with the storylines while also anticipating what element would stay the same. It can be said that DmC was able to mix these two elements quite well, giving the game a familiar look and feel while still being able to present a fresh new take on a game that has been around for over a decade, with the first Devil May Cry game being released in 2001.
The first major change that is pretty obvious with DmC is the way that the protagonist, Dante, looks. He now appears with shorter and predominantly black hair, and his coat is now shorter as compared to the long coats that players may be familiar with. His look has been more Westernized, as compared to his anime like appearance from previous games.
The storyline also pretty much relates to plots from earlier games, albeit with a few differences here and there. The environment is still dark and macabre, though not as gothic as in previous games. The story is very well written and the dialogue can be both mature and humorous at times. Players would be able to really see Dante progress as a person in this game, and the graphics are absolutely top notch, with details such as floating debris and dark clouds prevalent in the purgatory like environment.
Of course, the core of the game is still pretty much hack and slash, and Ninja Theory was able to keep that particular element that makes Devil May Cry hugely popular to fans of the genre. Doing combination attacks are still a central part of gameplay, and achieving long combos are rewarded with high rankings as well as upgrade points that serve as in-game currency.
An innovative mechanic within the game is the ability for Dante switch fighting styles as weapons in a pinch. This serves well when facing different types of enemies as well as opening new depths when it comes to juggling enemies and executing continuous attacks to single or multiple enemies. While holding down the L or R shoulder buttons, Dante can switch between Angel and Demon modes, which would see him change his styles to faster but lighter attacks (Angel mode) or slower but more powerful strikes (Devil mode). Some abilities such as the ability to dash as well as pull enemies towards you are also available in these modes. This ability to switch fighting styles adds even more possible combinations on how you can deal damage to opponents, giving you the ability to deal a huge amount of punishment to enemies within a relatively short period of time.
The Devil Trigger also makes its return in DmC. By activating this ability, time slows down for Dante, allowing you to perform attacks with more ease while also providing you with a stylized look on how the enemy is taking the punishment. Add to these the over top special effects and animations and what you’ve got is an amazing eye candy supported by Unreal Engine 3.
There is also an in game shop that allows you to purchase weapon upgrades and new moves to add to your repertoire of attacks. You can purchase these using the aforementioned upgrade points earned when chaining attacks together. What’s even better is that the game allows players to try out the move in question before purchasing it. If only more shops allow that in real life.
In any case, DmC seems to be a generally good game to play, especially for those who love stylish action as well as skilled button mashing action. Some Devil May Cry purists may disagree in the notion of changing the way Dante or looks or how it ruins the canon of the game. However, DmC’s alternate reality excuse pretty much solves all that. Besides, both Marvel and DC have multiple universes and they often interact with their respective dimensions, so Ninja Theory has that going for them as well. In fact, we may even get to see some interaction between old school Dante and the revamped Dante some time in the future, and just how cool would that crossover be?
Still, with a solid storyline and great battle mechanics, DmC is shaping up to be worthy of being the reboot that changes the landscape of the franchise. Hopefully, the quality of the game keeps up in succeeding installments, if any, as the purpose of any reboot or revamp is to refresh and reintroduce the game to a whole new generation without putting off those who have spent years playing and loving the series. With what could be seen, however, it can be said that DmC will surely not disappoint in this regard.
DmC was developed by Ninja Theory and will be published by Capcom. It is available for the PS3 as well as the Xbox 360. It will also be available for the Windows PC and the game has a set release date of January 2013 for all three platforms.