DmC: Devil May Cry REVIEW

DmC: Devil May Cry Review

The funfair in hell: non stop queuing.

Release Date: 15 January 2013
RRP: £39.99
Format reviewed: Xbox 360
Also available on PS3 and PC
Publisher: Capcom

Of all of Capcom’s many licences, balletic action-battler Devil May Cry was one of the ones in least need of reinvention. Last year’s HD Collection of the first three games still ticked all the right notes. So when Capcom handed the franchise to UK developers Ninja Theory for a reboot, the online fan backlash was so savage we’re amazed it didn’t lacerate Capcom HQ’s fiber-optic lines.

DmC replaces the original cocky, white-haired demon hunter Dante with an ASBO-collecting Taylor Lautner-lookalike. Likewise, horned monsters have been traded for demons much closer to home; series Big Bad Mundus, for example, has gone from living statue to corrupt fat cat who secretly rules an Orwellian state by controlling the global markets.

The contemporary switch-up is surprisingly well handled. Inevitably, not everyone will approve of Dante’s switch from mercenary paranormal investigator to sex-obsessed clubber, but the likes of friendly wiccan Kat, who opens portals by spraying roll-up stencils with batches of pre-cooked spells, are incredibly well written.

Whatever your opinion on the thematic overhaul there can be little complaint levelled at the game’s spine: its action. Devil May Cry lives and dies by its combat, and DmC’s take on scrapping hits new highs for the series. Dante’s staple twin pistols Ebony and Ivory and sword Rebellion survive the reboot unscathed, only now they’re complemented by angel and demon weapons, all of which can be changed mid-combo.

Angel weapons are fast but weak, demon attacks slow and powerful. This duality means three-hit attacks can quickly become thirty-hitters and then minute-long combos, if your fingers can keep up.

It’s a powerful system that even extends to the game’s platforming. Gothic castles of old have made way for fairgrounds and cities that warp in real-time as Dante’s ripped in and out of Limbo. As the ground buckles and breaks beneath your feet the angel and demon weapons can be used to slingshot Dante to new ledges and pull floating brickwork beneath his feet, giving DmC’s traversal system as much rhythm as its fighting.

Boss battles are the only stuttering point: beautifully stylised but mechanically shallow dashes between levels otherwise crammed with energy and excitement. Few reboots can claim to have made as many successes and so few mistakes.

Matthew Pellett

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