Published on December 1st, 2012 |
by Joshua L. Thomas
Demo May Cry: What the Demo says about DMC
First of all, let me begin by saying that I am a Devil May Cry fan; I have played and completed every game in the series several times and admittedly have become a little obsessive over Dante and his adventures. With the exception of Devil May Cry 2 which, let’s be honest here, deserves no mention, I have enjoyed every title so far. So it would seem fairly logical that I would be excited at the prospect of a new title in this breakthrough franchise, right? Wrong!
When I initially saw the teaser trailer for the Ninja Theory and Capcom collaboration that was DMC I was distraught. This twisted and depressingly warped imagining of a character I had associated with so much bad-assery over the years had become nothing more than a gothic nightmare rebelling against his parents… or so I thought.
Still, I offered my commitment to this rebooted Dante and, slowly but surely, the frequently released videos showcasing gameplay, characters and the world of this new game persuaded me to reconsider my previous judgement. Eventually my resentment transitioned to excitement; I was sold on this new Dante and all I wanted to do was pick up a controller and see what he had to offer. Now, with the release of the DMC demo, I can confirm one thing…
Dante is still the epitome of bad-assery! Although the recipe may have been modified, the core ingredients remain unchanged.
Surprisingly, cutting open demons is still fun. Weird, eh?
The demo kicks off with a fight between our hero and Hell’s lowest ranking officers. Fans (or at least the ones that have stuck around to embrace change) will be delighted and relieved to be back kicking demonic ass all over the screen with Dante’s signature sword and twin gun combination (still referred to as Ebony and Ivory in case you wondering). Gameplay is fluid, with attacks being swift yet aggressively graceful. Dante is capable of seamlessly linking several attacks into one epic combo, with enemies being either pummelled to the ground, launched in the air or flung across the screen.
This time around, Dante’s human half has been sacrificed for one of an angel. This new backstory provides him with new angelic and demonic weapons which add some depth to the gameplay mechanics. The angelic half allows players the use of a speedy scythe which proves great at attacking several enemies in quick succession without having the combo count drop. The demonic blood surging through our hero gives players a noticeably slower yet considerably more powerful axe weapon than can easily break enemy guards and either end or begin a continued attack in dramatic fashion.
Controlling these new armaments takes some getting used to however, as both the angel and devil weapon are activated by holding a specific button on either shoulder of the controller. Stringing attacks together while trying to incorporate versatility can be challenging to say the least as the frantic pace of battle can often be too intense to allow your brain and fingers the cooperation required to smoothly execute the inputs needed to change weapon.
Needless to say that this is a title that welcomes hyperactive game play and practice will lead to better transition of techniques and weaponry during battle. I did find myself wishing that the switching out of weapons was a permanent action rather than a temporary one that relied on continued pressure being applied to the correlating shoulder button but, once again, practise leads to perfection.
This demo gave us all the taste we needed of the new DMC system, and definitely answered a question I was previously very concerned about: does Devil Trigger still have any purpose?
Yes, the Dante we know and love exists. Honest.
Since the first Devil May Cry, the Devil Trigger ability has been ridiculously nerfed both in design and in power. In the first title, it provided Dante with a clearly demonic appearance, an obvious burst of speed and enhanced power. However, later titles in this franchise gave the player little incentive to make the transformation as the benefits were just not as satisfying as they were toward its beginnings. DMC, by contrast, has simplified the ability and given new life to it.
On-screen action slows to a practical halt with all on screen enemies suspended in the air, giving Dante the time to leap up and demolish the pathetic beings. A lovely tribute to the days of old is the subtle yet edgy change to Dante’s appearance – when in this mode his hair glows white and the red in his outfit is greatly highlighted signifying the Dante we thought to be lost and firmly letting us know that in spirit this is the same Devil May Cry we have grown to love.
Also included in the DMC demo is a second level giving players the opportunity to engage in battle with a boss character. The encounter showcases some of the foul language found in the game and is a strong indication of its more adult tone. The iconic cheesy dialogue found in previous entries to the series has been traded in for limitless (borderline unnecessary) swearing and vulgarity. As a fan of classic Dante’s one-liners such as “flock off feather-face”, I am somewhat unsure about the “darker” dialogue presented here but shall reserve judgement until the game’s full release next year in January.
For all its faults though, Devil May Cry seems to be back on form. It’s an unashamedly new take on an old formula that presents a fast-paced Devil May Cry experience with difficult to master but exciting to learn gameplay. I will definitely be keeping a space on my shelf for DMC and I urge any true fans of the series to do the same. Do not fear change my friends: embrace it!