I’ll admit, I’ve never played any of the Devil May Cry games before, mostly because they were never on the consoles I owned (barring Devil May Cry 4) but that doesn’t mean that gaming’s white-haired demon hunter has escaped my notice. And with my recent rental of the Devil May Cry HD Collection, I figured now was the perfect time to check out the demo for the upcoming entry in the series, DmC: Devil May Cry.
Despite seeming like a prequel to the rest of the games, based on my readings DmC is actually a reboot of the franchise set in a parallel or alternate universe to the main series. You still play as Dante, a Nephilim, or half demon/half angel (isn’t he half demon/half human in the main series?). The world Dante inhabits is one of deception. It seems normal, but it’s actually under the control of demons who manipulate humans without them knowing. Being more than human, Dante finds himself at odds with these demons & frequently dragged into Limbo, a parallel dimensions where demons roam freely. Along the way, he’s recruited by the Order, a “terrorist” group headed by an Anonymous wannabe who turns out to be Dante’s half-brother Virgil.
The demo has two levels. The first is a tutorial level, presumably one of the earliest ones in the game. In it, you learn the basic controls as you fight your way through a small section of Limbo. The second level is a boss fight with some disgusting cockroach-maggot thing. Both levels also include a bonus challenge, self-contained timed rooms with specific objectives. The first is a race along platforms while the second requires you to defeat five enemies that can only be damaged while in the air in one minute.
Thoughts on the demo: Given the series’ reputation for being unforgiving, I played through on the easiest difficulty (Human). Dante starts the game with several weapons at his disposal. Normal controls allow him to shoot his guns, light & heavy attack with his sword & jump. He also has a dodge move. However, Dante also has an Angel & Devil Mode which is used by holding down the left or right triggers respectively (on the 360). Angel Mode uses a scythe which seems to have the fastest attack speed while Devil Mode uses an axe, which is slower but does more damage. The controls in these modes are the same with the exception of shooting. Pressing the fire button in Angel Mode pulls Dante towards platforms or enemies while in Devil Mode it pulls things towards Dante. There’s also a Devil Trigger gauge that you can build up for even more power. There also appears to a shop to unlock moves, abilities & maybe weapons, but you can’t access them in the demo.The Good & Bad: + Combat is fast & fun + Interesting story + Nice level design in Limbo + Unique enemy design + Good boss fight – Tricky platforming – No block?
For being the first time I ever played one of the games, I really enjoyed the combat. It feels very fast & flashy. And while at first it’s easy to look at it as a button-masher, it’s a fairly easy system to learn & start racking up combos. For my first time, I earned an S ranking in style in the first stage & an A ranking in the boss level. Juggling enemies is always fun, & the weapons you have access to are different enough to feel useful for different situations. I especially like that the control scheme doesn’t change when you use Angel or Devil Mode. Also, from what I’ve seen so far, the story seems pretty interesting. I like the idea of demons secretly controlling the world. It comes across with a Big Brother/1984 vibe that I like. The whole thing has a cyber-punk feel. Even the enemies look very robotic. A few even carried chainsaws. Finally, the boss fight was well-done. As you would expect, he had several stages, between which his attacks varied. The fight made use of all on my abilities & had a specific strategy that took me a few minutes to figure out.
On the downside, the platforming can be a bit tricky. Dante is fairly agile, but there was one bonus section I couldn’t reach no matter what I did. The platforming seems to require a lot of timing & precision. This isn’t a bad thing if you like challenge, but hopefully there are upgrades to help during the full game. I’m also no sure if you can replay or go back to stages if you miss something. I also don’t recall there being a block function. Hopefully this is an unlockable ability, because dodge doesn’t really helpful when you’re surrounded.
Overall, I think DmC will be an interesting game when it comes out. I think a lot of people are giving the reboot a hard time just because it seems so different from the original series. However, all of the elements that make the Devil May Cry series what it is seem to be present. Fun & acrobatic combat, challenge & same-old Dante attitude (although in this version he seems less cocky & more like a rebellious teen). I hope fans of the series will at least give it a chance when it comes out in January.