Reception for the rebooted DmC (Devil May Cry) has been mixed at best. From Dante’s new design, the change in mythos, to the change in gameplay style has resulted in the new DmC to have sparked passionate responses from fans of the series. The saga is well documented and quite frankly, this is not going to be a recap of it. Ninja Theory has decided to give gamers a taste of DmC by releasing the demo on November 20, 2012. That is nearly two whole months before the release of the full game. The hope of Ninja Theory is to put to rest any concerns that gamers still have of DmC by letting them have a little taste of the action.
The first portion of the demo is titled Under Watch, which was the portion shown at E3. While playing Under Watch you will be introduced to the controls and basic mechanics of DmC. You have access to Rebellion, Ebony and Ivory, a scythe called Osiris, and a power weapon called Arbiter. Used in conjunction with each other, Dante is capable of pulling off some stylish looking combos. The combos are easy to pull off and do look impressive, however combat is looking a little shallow. Hopefully this will not be an issue with the full release of the game, since you will eventually have the ability to upgrade Dante’s move list. Overall though, combat was simple yet satisfyingly fun.
Dante also has access to angel and devil modes. In the demo, these modes give you the ability to change Rebellion to Osiris in angel, and Arbiter in devil. Also, you have the ability to pull enemies and object to you using devil mode, and pull your self to enemies and objects in angel mode. Using these abilities will help extend your combos, or help navigate the platforming sections of the demo. There is also a meter that builds up that allows you to unleash Devil Trigger Mode. This transformers Dante into has classic look for a short period, slowing down the game, and allowing Dante to perform more stylish and devastating attacks on his enemies.
One design issue that I came into worrying about was the lack of a lock-on button. Instead of a lock-on, Ninja Theory opted to have two dodge buttons. While this design still baffles me, I did not at any point miss a lock-on feature while playing. The demo did a great job of establishing who to attack, and I had no issues whatsoever. This design though may have contributed to an overall easier experience than Devil May Cry fans are used to.
While the hardcore fans will bemoan the simple combat system, one cannot deny that the game plays great. Dante moves fluidly, and not once did he get stuck in animation or stutter his way through his sword slashing. DmC does move at a slower rate, thanks in part to running at 30 frames per second, but I believe that this ‘negative’ is greatly exaggerated. The fact is that you do not need 60 frames per second to have silky smooth combat.
Graphically, DmC looks fantastic. The character models look great, and I enjoyed the monster designs. They look unique and fit into the aesthetic that Ninja Theory set out to establish. Personally, I was a major critic of new Dante’s design, but I can say that it has slowly grown on me. While he still does not look as cool as old Dante, he certainly does not have the worst re-design that’s ever been unleashed. Another hotbed of controversy was Dante’s personalty – was he still going to be that likable smart ass that we all now and love? Well, Dante is still a smart ass, but whether he will be likable is still up for debate. He did provide some silly quips here and there so I am cautiously optimistic. At the same time though, Dante does seem like he can become an angsty teenage punk at any moment.
The next portion of the demo is called Secret Ingredient. This mode highlights the boss fight that was first showcased a while back. The boss is not very challenging, and it has the same gameplay elements. You do have to utilize some quick platforming, but it is no issue.
Overall, I am not entirely sold on DmC quite yet. However, my initial worries have been put to rest to a degree. The way the environment itself is trying to kill Dante is a cool touch, and I certainly appreciate the They Live references. Combat is largely a mixed bag at this point. even though I enjoyed the gameplay, I expect a challenge when playing a Devil May Cry game. Also, I am not yet sold on the story that Ninja Theory is trying to tell. Dante certainly does have style, and he does show off that trademark sarcasm, but will that be enough to satisfy old fans while establishing new ones? Another point of concern for me is that from the looks of things, DmC might get a bit heavy with the melodrama. Will Dante fall into the typical angsty teen stereotypes of trying to find himself, or will he be trademark Dante, taking things in stride.
There is only one way to tell, and that is to play the full game when it launches January 15, 2013. In the mean time feel free to download the demo and tell us what you think about it. As of right now, color me interested.