Friday, February 8, 2013

DMC: Devil May Cry game Review

Seriously? DMC: Devil May Cry? Redundant much?

Feb. 8th, 2013 - I want to first point out that this is the first Devil May Cry game I have had the pleasure of playing, so this review won't involve reflections on games past.

It's been many a year since I played a good old fashioned hack and slash game. However, a few things directly after the start up concerned me. Starting off a game where the protagonist is waking from a drunken stupor, surrounded by the fruits of his labor from the night before, always makes me a little wary about how this game will react around the main character. Usually the guy is a self-centered arrogant prick whose only care in life is sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. This game adopts that stereotype right off the bat if you replace rock n' roll with some badass killing potential.

Now, I'm not sure how most people like to wake up, but a psychic medium banging on your door telling you a gigantic demon is about to rip you to pieces doesn't seem like my kind of alarm clock. After being yanked into Limbo and throwing on his clothes as his trailer gets launched across a fairground boardwalk, I'm betting my character is pretty pissed off.

The protagonist in this game, as with all Devil May Cry games, is Dante. The half-demonic badass who turns killing demons into a professional business. Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life, right? Based on what I know from the past characters, the visual change is a bit noticeable. Gone is the Gothic brooder with the mop of white hair, and in its place is the epitome of a punk rocker. Both versions have the same "Fuck You" attitude. Dante 2.0 (main character for this reboot) is a bit more snide, but overall not much has changed between the two.

The first thing I noticed is that this game introduces you to this world assuming you have played the games before. You get no back story to start off, and the scene that greets you is some large fat guy speaking to the President about how he (the fat guy) "controls the world through debt." Then there's something with a gross and disturbing woman who looks like plastic surgery gone wrong. Imagine if all of the botox suddenly disappeared from Joan Rivers' face, and you have this psycho broad.

The story never really gets into gear, and ultimately feels a bit lackluster. With all of the Heaven vs. Hell routes they could have gone down, it seems like they chose to play it safe and do a basic story. Mother murdered. Father imprisoned. All of it based on vengeance. Your brother never is fully fleshed out either, and the only real growth in the game comes from the relationship between the psychic, Kat, and Dante. Dante grows more mature during the story which is probably the most redeeming quality of the story.

About halfway through the game you finally get some more to the back story beyond what your brother revealed to you before signing you up to join his cause of ridding the world of the Demon King, Mundus. Oh, he's the big fat guy at the beginning. Anyone see that coming? Yeah, everyone did. Anyways, the background of Dante's parents, the Demon Sparda and the Angel Eva, falling in love that ends up creating a rift in the endless war between Heaven and Hell, gets them hunted down and destroyed. Eva, murdered before Dante's eyes, and Sparda, banished for eternity to endless torture and enslavement. Their two children, Dante and Vergil, are the hybrid children between demons and angels, called Nephilim.

At that halfway point, you learn more about what it means to be a Nehpilim and why they are hated by both sides. Nephilim originally were the third race. Born of both sides, they had the power of both sides and this made them powerful beyond reckoning. They held the fate of everyone and everything in their hands. Out of fear of the power they held, the Nephilim were hunted and destroyed. I really would have liked if they had expanded on this idea rather than just tossing in a 5 minute explanation. Making it not so much about just demons, but also angels who feared the Nephilim. Having both sides involved could have made the story more effective and entertaining.

The second thing I noticed is that the game is very dark and gritty. As soon as you hit Limbo you realize that this world between worlds is not your favorite place to be. Demons might not be able to hurt you in the real world, but the minute you cross into Limbo, anything goes. All sorts of demonic forms are trying their damnedest to kill you. Skeletons, evil cherubs, and horn helmeted dead guys with shields are your most basic enemy, and Dante can make quick work of them.

That is a very large, ugly demon

The real world around you is dank and gray with just a hint of depression. In essence, boring. Even though it's where all the decisions will have a resounding impact, in Limbo, you actually make those decisions. Limbo is where the main focus of the gameplay is. In the outside world, the most Dante does is run down a corridor or move through doorways. Once in Limbo, the sword comes out and the fun begins.

Combat is where this game really shines. The controls are fluid and there are a multitude of weapons that Dante will unlock through story progression. Using the RT and LT (Xbox 360 version) you can imbue your standard weapons with Demon and Angel powers. Your sword can turn into a slow but very powerful axe from hell, or become a blessed scythe of Heaven. You gain power over a claw weapon that can either yank your enemies to you for devastating punishment, or launch yourself to them to deliver a brutal combo attack. Those two combinations of claw moves also help navigate Dante through multilevel environments and crossing large gaps. You encounter new enemies throughout the game where button mashing will not work. You will need to keep your wits about you to break through shields or avoid certain enemies with certain attacks. A demon based attack against an ice or ghost enemy will not be effective at all, and vice versa for angel weapons. You will need to incorporate fluid combos to survive.

Where the combat fails is in the boss fights. The bosses are relatively underpowered and very basic. Memorize and dodge the attacks, hit them with a combo, repeat. They seem to have given the boss fights a "gross out" factor rather than an actual challenge. They succeeded on that end of it anyways. Several of the bosses are just disgusting. The final boss battle is somewhat satisfying, even if you could see it coming 10 minutes into the game.

Limbo City

While the story may be lacking, the setting does not. Moving through Limbo is quite satisfying. The color scheme makes the areas pop and the ominous demon voice and words forming on the walls gives it a feeling of dread. Or it would be if you weren't a 6' tall half angel/demon hybrid with god powers and blessed/damned weaponry. The shades of real people that bleed through the barrier between worlds always lends some shock value, especially later on in the game where you see the full state of their torture. Limbo shows the reality of what the outside world sees instead. Where a normal person sees a container filled with soda, in Limbo you see that there is a gigantic fat demon in the container who is basically pissing out the chemicals that guy was drinking. A normal television studio turns out to be a prison for the damned (although isn't that what a normal tv studio is?). And there's definitely something to be said for being such a badass that the literal world is trying to kill you.

While there are several areas that don't have quite the oomph to propel this game to the top, the overall action and beautiful artistic settings gives it a lot of value in both re-playability and enjoyability. I can't wait to see where they go from here.

8.0? Fuck you!

  • Combat system is fluid and enjoyable
  • Combo attacks are quick and satisfying
  • Limbo is entertaining
  • Variety of weapons
  • Believable growth of the main character
  • Voice acting is well done
  • Story never gets where it should
  • Gaps riddle the storyline
  • Boss fights are too simple
  • Characters aren't relatable
Overall Score: 8.0/10

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