Preview: DmC Devil May Cry

Aside from Resident Evil 6, one of the other big upcoming Capcom titles I was looking forward to getting hands-on time with at E3 was none other than Ninja Theory’s DmC Devil May Cry. And after spending a good amount of time with the title, I can safely say that this is not only a true Devil May Cry game, but it’s also shaping up to be as good as the most praised entries in the series (DMC 1 and 3). Yeah, I said it.

The following preview is based on two levels Capcom had playable at the show. One was a regular stage meant to get one used to the game’s mechanics, from combat to platforming. The other level was a straight-up boss battle against a grotesque creature. So with that said, keep on reading to find out why this is shaping up to be one of the best entries in the series.

Light on story, the first level in the game’s playable E3 build pit us in a demonic city to get reacquainted with– a younger–Dante and his new moves. The main objective was basically to get rid of these eye-ball cameras scattered around the city, but, of course, along the way we were put into a good amount of platforming and combat scenarios, very satisfying ones, too. Let’s start out with the actual “new” in Dante’s arsenal.

See that neat scythe pictured above? Dante whips that new toy out when you activate his Angel powers. This allows for wider, sweeping attacks, which come in handy for crowd control, which can then be followed up by his Demon powered attacks for some satisfying combos. Said Demon powered attacks makes Dante utilize a flaming axe that can easily break through a foe’s defenses. It’s quite useful, and after using this brutal attack you can launch the enemy into the air for some good ol’ aerial raping by Dante and his longtime girl friend, the Rebellion sword. And what a joy it is to pull off combos, as is always the case in a Devil May Cry game.

While it may take a little getting used to initially, once you get a hand of the controls you’ll find that this is quite like the Devil May Cry of old. So what if Dante looks different? He’s younger for God’s sake! And, hell, he even gets his classic white hair when you tap into his Devil Trigger mode, which also slows down time around you. And don’t forget about Dante’s pair of guns! Shooting is just as fun, especially when you have baby-like demons at the receiving end of Ebony and Ivory’s wrath.

I also enjoyed grappling up to enemies and pulling them closer to Dante, which made for even more satisfying combos. There’s many ways you can head into a combat situation without just opting to mindlessly mash the same button over and over, and I’m sure fans will have a blast once they get into the mechanics. And some enemies do require a little more force, like shielded enemies that are allergic to Dante’s defense-shattering Demon powers (that axe is fierce!). And just as fun and fluid as the combat is the platforming.

The Castlevania fan in me had a blast swinging from platform to platform in the game’s demo. I did die quite a few times, though, as I got used to following up my jumps by gliding forward (which is needed for some of the huge gaps you’ll be faced with in between platforms). There was one intense platforming moment inside a church where you had to rapidly make your way through the crumbling and shifting area, and it’s here where I messed up quite a few jumps. But it was nothing truly frustrating (not enough to throw my controller at the nearest Capcom rep’ at least!).

Eventually we had to get rid of the aforementioned eye ball cameras by pulling them out. To get close enough, though, we had to use Dante’s whip-like weapon to pull out parts of platforms to be able to grapple ourselves up to them. Jumping from platform to platform until we got close enough to the cameras. Only after pulling them all out were we able to proceed onwards. Before delving into the boss battle portion of the demo, I must praise Ninja Theory’s brilliant art design on display here. Everything looks absolutely gorgeous and I love how it looks when the environment around you starts to morph. It’s a pretty game, which is expected from the team that brought us Enslaved. And they’ve also cooked up some pretty grotesque creature design, evident by the boss we get to fight in the demo (pictured below).

The intro to this boss battle was hilarious, as Dante and this…thing kept throwing insults at one another, dropping a whole lot of F-bombs in the process. It’s comedic, as a game starring the ever so cocky Dante should be. But after the taunting, it’s down to business. And oh boy was this battle a joy to partake in. Of course, you have the classic apparent weak point rearing its head, but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park (it was advised to have a representative near you in order to be able to beat the boss…ha…ha).

After you weakened it enough (I used a lot of Demon-powered strikes and Devil Trigger), it starts to move around the area, forcing you to move to a different platform to continue the fight. Eventually you take down all its health bars completely and it starts chasing you in a hectic part where you make good use of a huge fan as you jump and grapple your way from platform to platform. Yup, this creature just doesn’t give up, and it ends up meeting its number one fan (get it?). The beast suffered quite a gory end, but hey, it had it coming.

Ninja Theory has something special here, and while fans may continue to cry foul at the title, what I played has me completely excited for its release early next year. To me, this is an authentic Devil May Cry title. It has the style, cocky one-liners and insanely satisfying combat found in the series’ best entries. Only now it’s been graced with Ninja Theory’s brilliant talent. Let’s cease the–for lack of a better word– bitching about hair color and other “character changes”, and let’s all get excited about what’s set to be a brilliant entry in the beloved franchise. Leave Dante alone!

               
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