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First Impressions: Devil May Cry HD

As with my Silent Hill HD Collection reviews, my plan for Devil May Cry HD Collection is to review each individual game as it stands on it own & then give my opinion on whether or not the collection as a whole is worth purchasing, particularly if you already have the original copies of the games.

Devil May Cry is one of those games from a time when I didn’t do any gaming myself but still maintained enough interest to keep in touch with what was coming out.  But I never really looked into Devil May Cry the way I did Silent Hill or Parasite Eve.  I only know the most basic elements of the game.  It’s about a half-devil demon hunter named Dante who hunts demons to find the one who killed his mother.  The game starts with a blond woman who looks remarkably like his deceased mother telling him about a devil named Mundus that he needs to kill.  And after playing through the first two missions, that’s still about all I know.

I should first preface any discussion of these games by apologizing that I’ll probably be switching between calling them “devils” & “demons.”  I don’t know what the game considers the difference, & I can’t escape my Christian background telling me there’s only one Devil & everything else is a demon.  So sorry if it bothers you.  I’ll try to stick with “demon.”

Anyway, so far I have mixed feelings about the game.  On the one hand, I like the combat.  It’s very fast & Dante is agile enough that I can spend most of the time rolling away from enemies.  It’s quick & easy it is to switch between using guns & swords.  I also like the music so far, both in & out of combat.  It’s especially helpful that the battle music ends as soon as the last enemy is gone, letting me know I’m not about to get blindsided (more on that in a second).  The graphics also look pretty good for such an old game, but I’ll have to find footage from the original to see how it compares.

But I do have two issues with the game.  The first is the fixed camera angles.  I know this was the thing back when Devil May Cry was made, but that didn’t make it any less annoying then.  I can’t see enemies off-screen, which is bad if you’re facing ones with projectile attacks.  It’s even more annoying when the changing angle messes up your controls.  More than once I’ve been just trying to walk & ended up stuck between two angles because it changes my controls so fast I can’t correct then.  For example, if I’m walking down & the angle changes so that I need to walk up, I end up turning around & walking back into the previous section.  I really wished they would’ve changed the camera to a player-controlled one for the re-release.

My second issue is holding down the right shoulder button (on the 360) to be able to shoot or roll.  It feels awkward, especially if you have small hands like I do.  I think it would’ve been better to use the right trigger.  I’m not sure why they didn’t, given that the right trigger has absolutely no use in the game.  And you can’t reassign the controls.

Those gripes aside, I have enjoyed what little I’ve played so far.  Although there are around twenty mission, they all seem to be fairly short (I’m managing to clear them in around twenty minutes).  I’m going to try to play a couple of missions every day, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m moving on to the second game.

– GamerDame

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Demo Thoughts: DmC

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.

-GamerDame

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