Far be it for me to review a game I’m hardly fit to do any justice when it comes to gameplay. If you listen to our podcasts, and you really should, you know that BobbyBeatle plays this game with the accuracy and skill of Dante himself. When he picks up that controller, you see Triple S in mere seconds. The kid is a virtual battery when it comes to combos. While not as big an enthusiast for the series as Beatle, I really do love the characters and mythos behind Devil May Cry. Most of all I love Hideki Kamiya, the original series creator, who had nothing to do with this game. Also since Beatle hasn’t done a review for us in over a year(SAD FACE!), it’s up to me to bring you the review you need, but not the one you deserve.
It bears repeating though: we have a gaming podcast, in which the SFC?! crew has talked about this game to an extended degree. We’re all huge DMC fans, and mostly Capcom fanboys who share a love/hate relationship, but my expectations for this game were pretty low to begin with. With that established, read at your own risk.
Story – 3/10
From the onset, we’re introduced to a new booze drinking, womanizing, pizza-gorging, Dante. He’s completely into himself and he obviously thinks he’s God’s gift to women. He’s the type of guy to eat your corn flakes empty, leave his mess for you to see, then make you feel bad for not cleaning up after him. If your that guy, for shame! And for whatever fucking reason, his eyesore of a trailer-home is parked smack in the middle of a Coney Island type location. But I don’t see any other housing areas, nor a vehicle for him to move said trailer. How a trailer can find a residential spot in a business/retail zone is a mystery to me, but I guess Ninja Theory felt a family-oriented carnival was the best place for a sodomite to call home. Fast forward, some weird hot girl, Kat, shows up at his front door, he answers the door in his birthday suit. You know, just in case she wants the “D.” Suddenly, Dante finds himself exported to Limbo, fighting low level baddies to get you warmed up for the crap fest about to commence. Limbo is pretty much just like the actual world, but in a perpetual beta stage of development. In Limbo, Dante can access all his fighting abilities, but for whatever reason, he and other demons aren’t allowed to fight on Earth.
I don’t like this aspect of the game very much. It takes away the impact of Dante’s actions on the real world. Some collateral damage carries over, but it’s all story-driven, like a church steeple falling over, or a Ferris wheel rolling down the boardwalk. These instances only serve to “fluff” a scene in an empty attempt to sell ridiculous action sequences that fail in comparison to previous entries in the series. The worst part is the inconsistencies carried out when traveling through Limbo. At first, Dante is dragged into it, and has to search for an exit back to earth realm, while completing the mission at hand. It eventually goes from that, to willfully teleporting there in order to serve the stories purpose. In one scene, the story has Dante save Vergil and Kat, as the couple escapes danger in an SUV. Dante then arrives in Limbo, wherein he can access his abilities, and pursues the SUV to thwart any dangers the vehicle might otherwise have succumbed to. Then when the dust settles, Dante is back in the earth realm, at will, where he otherwise would have needed Kat to create a portal to get back. The problem lies in here; while Dante destroys things in Limbo, the environment stays largely unaltered in the earth realm, but later becomes; What the story dictates Dante should be able to manipulate from Limbo to Earth Realm, shall be manipulated. Then somewhere along the way, you can tell the developers just say “fuck it,” and combine the two because there was no point to have Limbo there in the first place, let alone have Dante need assistance getting there. It just slows progress and convolutes story elements. It should have just been Hell, because it felt like enjoyable memories of the past being ripped out of my eye sockets, thrown down and molested right before my blood-soaked eyes.
As far as character dialog, I can think of two good scenes, and both involved Dante and Vergil, which is sad considering Dante should be just as enjoyable on his own. It was towards the end of the game, the brothers are bickering with each other in what quickly becomes a pissing contest. Dante gets the final one up, or so we think and Vergil admits his dick is bigger. Not even lying, it was funny. It was one of the few jokes thrown into the dialogue, and the only one to stick the timing down to perfection. Finally, after 10 hours of trudging through grueling story and bad writing, I laughed, and it was exhausting. That’s sad considering every incarnation before DmC relied more on theatrics and eccentricities, than throw-away humor.
The second scene dealt with the aftermath of Mundus’ downfall. Spoiler alert, the good guys win. After a disagreement based off a mutual misunderstanding that Dante would help Vergil rule the human world into submission, Dante and Vergil resolve to fight it out. Now, up until this point, the entire story revolved around Vergil using his wits to find an end result, in order to free humanity from Mundus’ soon-to-be dictatorship. Throughout the entirety of the game, Vergil is constantly being saved by Dante, even becoming Mundus’ bitch towards the end, despite being in possession of(but never using) his trusty katana, Yamato, which I cannot state how bad his pronunciation of the sword’s name was(Yeah-may-toe). Then suddenly, he’s this hard-ass giving Dante a run for his money. Where the fuck was this guy the entire game??? He went from Che Guevara with a bleeding heart to Joseph Stalin with a cold, iron fist before you could say, “Now I’m motivated.” Realizing that his brother had suddenly become some self-prophesied messiah of mankind, assuring to control humanity because they can’t control themselves, Dante resolves to save humanity for the second time in a day, and defeat Vergil. Although it was nothing to write home about, the final chapter was by far the best of them all, leaving the rest of the game feeling like a sucktastic journey into a horses digestive system. On a side note, the Hunter boss at the beginning of the game is only defeatable once Kat tosses a molotov cocktail at his face, revealing his forehead to actually be a vagina for Dante to metaphorically fuck. I mean really? Vagina face? Dante should never need assistance from anyone other than new weapons.
Gameplay – 9/10
The game play is pretty much what’s expected. It’s everything that you’ve come to expect from a DMC title. Nothing more, nothing less. The problem is, that’s not what Capcom wanted. When Capcom outsourced the game to Ninja Theory, they inked the deal thinking Ninja Theory would produce a game far different from Kamiya’s series; Kamiya’s being a more Japan-centric title (with heavy western influences). I guess Capcom wanted something that would appeal more to Western audiences(the irony). The problem with that, is the series already appealed to everyone worldwide. What’s more is that it doesn’t alienate itself to one generation. Anyone can enjoy any of the four dmc titles…except maybe DMC 2. However, I don’t hold this against either group, as it’s more Capcom’s loss, financially speaking, because I believe Ninja Theory understands the root of what makes Devil May Cry a beloved series. They jut don’t have any competent writers to complement the gameplay.
Really, the only thing that makes the combat system stand out is the addition of new weapons. It happens in every incarnation, with the exception of Rebellion, Ebony &Ivory and the shotgun being relatively inclusive. It’s the primary difference that not only makes each game stand out from one another, but it also serves to refresh players of this new series. No title in the franchise has really let you bring in an old combo you learned. Rather you could find a way to recreate it, or find a better bread-n-butter combo with the new weapons and styles given to Dante. Bottom line, this is the only reason to play this game. My biggest gripe to the fighting system, was the uselessness of Devil Trigger. You don’t need it at all. At least not in lower difficulty settings. It does nothing to enhance gameplay and it’s about as useful as Pandora Mode in Street Fighter x Tekken. Also, you have to rebuild meter after every new level you start. WHY?!
After talking a bit with Beatle, he mentioned Kablooey is a simplified version of Nero’s Blue Rose, specifically the charge shot. In addition, Dante plays much like Nero, with no styles to compliment his gameplay, but with access to Dante’s cache of weapons. The angel/demon powers he uses to travel with are just Nero’s devil arm’s abilities, with complimentary additions. So with many of Nero’s abilities carried over into this game, in addition to Capcom’s desire to have a new and innovative series that doesn’t have Hideki Kamiya’s name on it, it easy to see why Nero wasn’t reintroduced into the series. But it really begs the question; Why not just continue Nero’s story, when all the elements of a refreshing franchise were there?
As a side note, boss battle are so easy this time around. I died maybe a total of twenty times before I finished the game and a majority of those deaths resulted from falling off stage and not paying attention. The first battle against the Hunter felt like a joke. I hoped it wasn’t a pretense to what the rest of the game had in store for me. Luckily it wasn’t, at least not completely. And yeah I died a couple times, but I was still warming up to the game’s mechanics. Once you got the gist of each enemy, they were easy. Although, I’ll admit fighting Bob Barum was contagiously fun. I found the setup innovative and the parts where Dante fought, as a chopper cam watched from above, was incredibly cool and imaginative. Also the stage leading up to the fight with Baby Mundus, was pretty cool. Jumping off the hot/cold floors reminded me of old Zelda games, and walking in the level as if you’re stuck inside a jambox was aesthetically pleasing. However, the final boss fight with Mundus was extremely lackluster and underwhelming. Mundus was not only easy to beat and unsatisfying, but the overall setting and choreography was confusing. I didn’t understand why Virgil, the true end boss, was harder to beat, when Mundus had him under control so easily. The other thing that bothered me came from when I first played the demo. Dante has to take out security cameras in order to advance, but since when does Dante give a damn about who’s watching him? Even throughout the rest of the game, Dante is told to keep a low profile and then continues to do the exact opposite. Stupid enemies, stupid concept, should have fallen to the cutting room floor.
But my biggest gripe, which coincides with the story, is that Mundus was touted as the Ultimate boss, and the steps taken to weaken his abilities were way too simplistic for me to believe. With a weak grasp on Orwellian ideologies and a forced (and half-assed) message of political and societal oppression that was hinted at but never truly embraced, I’m left wondering how Mundus was so easily beaten. You’d think an evil dude like Mundus, who went through incredible lengths to control the world through debt, would take the span of a trilogy to defeat. Instead, to take down an oppressive leader, all you have to do is kill his Bill O’Reilly hand puppet, destroy his Slurm soda factory and have your brother murder his unborn baby in cold, demon blood. You make him exhaust all his power out of heartache, destroying an entire city filled with innocent people; the same innocent people you were trying to prevent from dying in the first place. Then, you simply turn off the source of his power(literally), inadvertently fuse Limbo with the real world, forcing demons and humans to coexist. All in a day’s work, I suppose. I don’t remember it ever getting dark, actually.
Visuals & Sound – 6/10
The Unreal engine is really starting to show its age in this title. Backgrounds don’t pop out the way they did in Devil May Cry 4. The color schemes are drab and depressing, void of any signs of creativity. I even want to say the sounds are recycled, but that’s not something I can confirm. The cutscenes are boring and unimportant, and there’s so many of them! Also I get Dante’s look. I really do. Sporting a more nihilistic/scene look, Dante is a reflection of what the kids consider to be cool, except for the kids 25 and older who grew up playing this title. Although I didn’t care too much for his look, it grew on me. I still hate the brown hair and the explanation that came with it. Even moreso, I hate Mundus and his whore’s look. Just from his features, you know you’re supposed to hate them. The thing that makes a villain truly despicable though, is if he’s remotely charismatic. Think Lucifer from the Sandman graphic novel. But Mundus looks like a Chechen mercenary going to interview with Blackwater. To top it off, he does nothing villainy throughout the entire game. The guy just bought up all the world’s debt, and now they owe him. Sounds like The World Bank to me, just now it’s all consolidated. As far as the game entails, he isn’t shown to do anything that makes you hate him from the beginning, unless you hate banks, then you should consider switching to a credit union. He essentially looks unlikable, but I was never convinced he was the bad guy, at least not a bad guy I felt I could really sink my hate into. Once baby Mundus and mommy Mundus are killed by Vergil, I actually felt for him. He wanted to control the world and people in the game looked pretty content with themselves, unaware of the dangers of Limbo; a fusion of cultures the twins help realize. The world at large just looked terrible, Mundus seemed to have the masses under control. Once you find out Vergil wants to do the same thing, but differently, then all you did was overthrow one devil to replace him for another. See what I did there?
The voice actors were all terrible, too. At first I was convinced Vergil’s voice was spot on, but as the game continued, it felt out of place. It didn’t help when the audio fell out of sync with the video either. That may well have been on my PS3′s behest, but it was an issue all the same. Terrible characterizations kept the acting from being tolerable, and I found myself just skipping through every cutscene on my second playthrough. But even through the first playthrough, I watched it just so I could gauge the right amount of hate to toss into this review. Throughout the game, both brothers come off as whiny brats, self-entitled to the world how they see fit. Dante is a demigod who drinks booze and bangs strippers all night long, because what else is a guy with a flat personality supposed to do with his life? And the player is supposed to think this is cool, for some fucking reason. I’m sure your average dickbag would think that’s cool, right up until he realizes the game is as much crap as I say it is, then decides to chunk his junk in front of his webcam, fire up chat roulette and waits to see who wants some of his own “D.” Vergil is a handsome dude with a big dick who gives himself the right to rule the world because he’s starving for attention. Yup, you don’t get any more one-dimensional than that.
Replay Value – 5/10
Initially I was going to give this section a 7/10. Thankfully, I stalled on this review and let my feelings dwell. I played a little more, and I was emotionally exhausted. This game has very little to offer, unless you play the same crappy levels on harder difficulties. I wouldn’t really recommend playing any more than you have to. Even if you’re a trophy hunter, many trophies are easy, but they require you to put time in. Time, along with patience, is something I no longer have for this game. It does have downloadable content, so I’d say check it out if you want to waste $9(want being the key word). I should mention, that although it furthers Vergil’s story, you still can’t take him through the main story or partake in a thrilling round of Bloody Palace. Which is sad considering DMC3 allowed you to do that, showing how truly far behind this new successor really is. Although there are many difficulties to play through, I don’t know that reliving the same awful story over and over really merits it. There is Bloody Palace mode and once you unlock all the challenges, you can always revisit those via the menu, but you can only play those for so long.
Overall – 5.75/10
The best part of this series wasn’t necessarily about the characters. Sure the mythos made the franchise what it is. But mostly, it’s about shredding bodies with awesome weapons while looking cool doing it. Then when all is said and done, you challenge yourself to create new combos and further your skill. As I spoke with Beatle on the most recent podcast, I said I felt like a God inputting combos the way I did. I felt like Beatle when I watched him tear it up on Bloody Palace for 30 minutes in DMC 3. Beatle rebutted, saying that although I felt like him in this new incarnation, where combo’s were so easy I could feel like a God, that he, himself, felt limited by the combo system, often reverting to a previous combo, not being able to switch styles to make his techniques look as flashy as possible…as Dante as possible. New Dante is certainly nothing like Kamiya-Dante. The old Dante was cocky, confident, had style, absorbed himself in the moment and made the cheesiest jokes at his enemies expense. Our new Dante is pretentious, thinks highly of himself, and thinks he’s so cool, that all he needs to do is sit in the freezer, to keep himself as cool as Regular Dante. Well, this ain’t Regular Show, and that shit don’t fly. No amount of weapon skill or crazy gun-toting techniques would absolve him of that.
With outdated environments, horrible lighting effects and terrible voice acting, DmC still feels like a beta with a near-complete fighting system and a story in it’s rough draft stages. The gameplay is solid, but fails to innovate. Ninja Theory simply took what already existed and fused ideas together to make them seem unique, then added a handful of old techniques with new twists. I’m then forced to sit through an ambitious story that fails to realize what it was trying to be. It corrects itself halfway through the story, by simplifying the main plot, leaving the political fluff and societal observations, which carried the story’s potential, to contribute nothing, while convoluting much of the story’s initial talking points. Had this game come out 4 years ago, the graphics might have been considerable. I might have even said they were incredible. But with so many games now pushing the PS3 to its limits, and with the PS4/Durango on the horizon, Ninja Theory had the chance to make DmC one of the swan songs to this console generation. Capcom and Ninja Theory promised us innovation and all we got was a lousy bill of sale.
- The Agamemnon May Cry