I have never played a Devil May Cry game before, and while I had the opportunity to play the HD remake before starting the review I decided against it. DMC is supposed to be a reboot of the original franchise, and like with most reboots, the purpose is to get new blood into the fan base even if that means a few old ones might drop out, but the real question is how does the game hold up as a stand-alone game with no ties to the previously fleshed out DMC universe?
So far I have experienced around half of the game and in that time I have learned at least enough to give a pretty decent preview of what I have seen, experienced and what I expect to come. These viewpoints and opinions are from someone who has yet to experience the entire game, so without further to do; here is my first impression of Devil May Cry.
When I first started the game, I presumed it was going to be a really washed out hack ‘n slash game, what I ended up getting was pretty much just a more complex version of it. As I stated, I have never played the previous DmC games, and I am assuming this is how the combat was for the other games as well, but man; it is not fluid or enjoyable in the least. The combos are really clunky and sometimes insufferable to pull off due to the lack of any targeting system, some enemies require you to use certain weapons only to harm them (angel or demon weapons) and on top of that you have a combat rating system which ultimately decides how ‘stylish’ your combat was in the level based on how random your combos are, lack of damage taken, use of environment and so on. This is only important because at the end of the level, you get a score that tells you how well you did, and stylish points are pretty much the most important thing in determining if you are going to be rewarded an upgrade point or not.
Upgrading is a feature where you can unlock new moves for your weapons based on a point system, so if you have an unlock point you can get a new move or ability; this becomes both a burden and a blessing. After the first level, you are given 4 weapons and yourself to upgrade (5 sections total), you then have to decide how divide those points up so that you can continue to keep earning more points as well as become more powerful. Now the upgrading system isn’t all that bad, it reminded me of how you unlock new moves in Prototype and Infamous and they even included an option to test out a move before you buy it, which is really handy when trying to figure out how well it will go with your usual motion of pressing attack until things die. The complaint I have with this system is the lack of progress I feel is made through it.
I feel like buying a move doesn’t really mean anything until I can unlock the second tier to make it “stronger” or whatever that means since there is no way to tell how strong a regular move is in comparison. Almost all the moves you can unlock have tiers which are basically “the previous move, but STRONGER!” which leads me to believe that the concept for upgrades was either a really good idea implemented poorly or just a bad idea and this was the best they could do with it. I feel like some of the moves had potential to work with other weapons to make really unique and cool combos but I feel like they just didn’t quite get the idea perfected before launch (maybe in the sequel?).
The next part is the enemies, so far they are pretty basic, even if the game has to take time to remind you what their names are so you can remember them, because that really matters. There are a few enemies that require you to kill them with certain weapons, but for the most part, the average enemy you encounter will die if you just lift them into the air, slam their body into the ground and shoot them a few times. There isn’t much of a risk/challenge when fighting except for when you are faced with enemies that have special attacks that make them invaluable until they are done attacking, those can get really bothersome while trying to clean up the weaker enemies. Basically there isn’t much skill that goes into fighting the enemies, the same can even be said for the bosses which are pretty basic; dodge one move, slice a million times, repeat a few times, win. The combat (for being the most important part of the game) really felt lacking, and I find myself running around overly large levels doing silly platforming more than I do hacking and slashing.
Finally, Dante, now I won’t spoil anything, like the plot or his back-story but from listening to him I would like to express my condolences for anyone who has to tolerate his incessant attitude. He acts like a teenager with a mix of frat and angst. If it wasn’t for the fact that he shuts up for the most part while you are not in a cut-scene minus some spider-man-esque one-liners here and there, I don’t think I could have tolerated having the game un-muted. The character doesn’t really have much depth to him and lacks any real personality. He never seems too worked up over anything and is oddly complacent when it comes to fighting demons who make remarks that should get at least a good comeback or emotional expression. Dante feels like a piece of cardboard set on fire and tossed at the player, he comes off anti-establishment and feisty but once you start listening to him talk you realize Dante either can’t grasp anything that is going on in the story or he is so sociopathic that his only real reason for being in the game at all is because they just had to name someone Dante to keep it a Reboot.
Overall, this game doesn’t really feel like the well written, genre defining, creative offspring that most people claim the original Devil May Cry was. This game feels really washed out and almost similar to a Modern First Person Shooter type copy-and-paste job. If there was some creativity behind this game, it is probably hiding behind the dynamic camera which was once a pretty cool way to follow a character and now reminds me to walk towards the camera because that is where all the secret collectibles are hiding. I have a tad bit of hope that this game will turn around completely near the end, and maybe even leave me waiting for the next game (if there is going to be one), but so far I have serious doubts it will do anything more than bring about relief that I can finally put the game away and play something better.