DmC is Capcom and Ninja Theory’s reboot of the popular Devil May Cry series. When it was first unveiled, it showcased a younger, hipper Dante, much to the chagrin of long time fans. However, as time went on and more footage was released, the game began to look more and more like the Devil May Cry we’ve all come to know and love.
I had the opportunity to go hands-on with the game in the Microsoft booth here at E3, and I can say with confidence that the fans will be likely be pleased with the game, in spite of complaints about Dante’s new look.
The demo begins on the cobblestone streets of a vaguely European city. The game’s sound was down too low and the surrounding noise was too loud to actually make out anything that was being said during cutscenes, but suffice it to say that there are mysterious forces at work who want Dante dead.
Structurally, DmC is the same as the series has ever been – enter area, area becomes blocked off, enemies appear who must be killed before you can progress, rinse, repeat. It’s a formula that works for this genre and didn’t need much of an overhaul in the first place. The enemies themselves seem like usual Devil may Cry fare as well. Strange, vaguely angelic monsters who attack you mercilessly but are mostly little more than cannon fodder, with a stronger enemy thrown in here and there for added variety.
From a gameplay standpoint, the game is mostly familiar. You’ve got a normal attack, launch attack, guns, dodges, and jumps. Holding the right or left trigger applies different modifiers to your attacks, making them stronger and flashier. You’ve also got a whip-like apparatus you can use to pull out ledges, propel yourself to high up platforms, pull enemies toward you or yourself toward them. You’ll need to use a combination of these abilities to get by in combat and get good ratings.
The combat is fast, responsive, and most importantly, exciting. It definitely captures the spirit of the series better than initial impressions may have suggested. It remains to be seen how much variety there will be in the combat, but that will mostly come down to the number of weapons, enemies, and bosses. Players will also notice that the camera angles are no longer fixed, eliminating awkward transitions between scenes. The manually controlled camera works well for the most part, though it can sometimes be tough to adjust it on the fly if you’re in the middle of combat.
Graphically, the game is kind of a mixed bag at the moment. The environments look great and the way they change and rearrange themselves is a pretty fantastic effect. At the same time, since the game is using Unreal Engine 3, the colors look pretty washed out and texture pop-in is fairly prevalent. The game doesn’t come out until January 2013, however, so there is still plenty of time to sharpen up the game’s visual presentation.
It’s been too long since there was a hack’n'slash action game worth looking forward to, but between DMC and Metal Gear Rising, 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for fans of the genre. Forget Dante’s new look – he’s as badass as he ever was, and Ninja Theory is doing an admirable job with the game so far.