wed 23/04/2014

DmC: Devil May Cry | Gaming reviews, news & interviews

DmC: Devil May Cry

Demonic fury executed with angelic grace, our sneering Dante is newly suited and rebooted

'Devil May Cry': the British are here

It’s been a rough couple of years for Capcom and their fandom. After the slating they received for rebooting their Resident Evil franchise, the storm has continued with their attempts to do the same with their much-loved Devil May Cry series. The fanboys were up in arms as usual, mostly concerning main character Dante’s hair, but Capcom were always prepared for a backlash, and Kudos to them for sticking to their guns, because they’ve rebooted DMC with a vengeance.

Taking the story right back to its origins, the mantle has now been handed down to British developers Ninja Theory (of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West fame). Under specific orders to revamp the franchise to appeal to a modern, younger market, the Theorists have made their mark on this game, right down to the British flag sewn onto the sleeve of Dante’s coat. With Alex Garland at the writing helm to refresh and reinvent the original story, the message is clear: the British are here.

The world itself is an amazing achievement. As Dante is dragged in and out of limbo the two worlds merge and overlap, reminding me strongly of the dream sequences in Inception. The whole world becomes your enemy as you race through its morphing and fracturing streets and corridors, destroying CCTV cameras that reveal you to demonic forces, and where 20-foot-tall phrases like "KILL HIM", "TRAP HIM", and "COME CLOSER" appear on the walls around you. The graphics are gorgeous, as we’d expect from these developers, and the mythic and religious themes of the game are flaunted in gloriously blasphemous Baroque tableaux and portraits.

The game’s major issue is combat, which is undeniably slower than previous incarnations - you never quite reach that zen level of button-mashing movement associated with the best example in the genre, Bayonetta. So yes, seasoned DMC gamers will be let down by the speed. However, the reason for the adjustment from 60 frames-per-second to 30fps is that this game has more to show you, and NTheory want you to actually see it, rather than losing all the details in a manic flurry of button-mashing mayhem.

NTheory’s main additions to the combat are the twin angel and daemon weapons and grappling instruments, which keep the action flowing and the platforming fun. Traditional combos remain, punishing you for repetition and taking damage, and rewarding variety as you quest for a SSSensational grade.

Undeniably the biggest change fans are going to have to deal with is Dante himself. It’s always a risk to mess with an icon, but you can’t just plonk a fully formed character into an origin story, and western audiences don’t really go in for heroes with long wavy white hair and the petite facial features of a 12-year-old girl. Enter Tim Phillips, the human motion-capture face behind the new, sneering, trailer-trash heartthrob Dante.

Using the expertise we saw with Andy Serkis in Enslaved, NTheory have created a truly real face for Dante, but be warned, his initial petulance makes you want to punch him in it. He is a westernised Dante for a westernised series, but he may yet become an icon in his own right. With or without the white hair.

Helen K Parker on Twitter

The mythic and religious themes of the game are flaunted in gloriously blasphemous Baroque tableaux and portraits

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