By now you've heard about the controversy. You've heard about how the legions of Devil May Cry fans have fought and complained about the release of Ninja Theory's reboot of their beloved series -- hell, they've even gone as far as to file a petition with the White House to block the game's release. What you may not have heard in the midst of all that though is just how fun and well put together the new DmC really is. It's fresh, it's incredibly stylish and a ton of fun. Ninja Theory's new vision of the Devil May Cry series is not only one of the best reboots we've played in years -- it's easily the first great game of 2013.
"...a mixture of new ideas and holdovers from previous games..."
The new Devil May Cry actually shares a lot of the same DNA as the previous iterations of the series. Players take control of Dante, in an alternate reality version of the Devil May Cry universe known as Limbo. The world is peaceful at first, but then can very quickly become infested by demons and other worldly creatures that are eager to rip Dante apart. Of course, this new Dante is very much an anti-hero, even more so than in previous games and his reaction to the enemies he faces is interesting to say the least. The story, which finds Dante discovering his past and who he really is, is a mixture of new ideas and holdovers from previous games, which makes for quite the interesting cocktail.
At the heart of the new Devil May Cry, just as it was in previous iterations is stylish and frantic combat. Yes, DmC is a hack and slash, but it's also one hell of a hack and slash. You'll start the game out with just a sword and your trademarked guns (known as Ebony and Ivory), but before long you'll unlock an arsenal of weapons including axes, scythes, grappling hooks and much more. You'll have the ability to switch between any of these weapons on the fly, and while it may seem like that would make things complicated, the system actually feels very easy to manage and logical. The combination of different face buttons combined with shoulder buttons to select weapons feels very natural here.
"I found myself sacrificing style points for cool moments."
It's not enough to just defeat your enemies in Devil May Cry -- you'll want to do it in style too. A letter grading system on the upper right corner of the screen tells you just how stylish your moves are -- which in reality means how often you're repeating the same combo and moves over and over. It becomes tough, especially at the more hectic sections to find new moves to use as you're often mistakenly hitting buttons that will trigger the same combo as before. Even so, I found myself sacrificing style points for cool moments. One of my favorite moments with the game was using the Arbiter (a giant axe) and sending two tough enemies into the sky wack-a-mole style.
The game is perhaps at its best when it combines all of these elements to blend genres together. A few of the weapons allow for Dante to traverse and explore the world of Limbo with incredible platforming elements. Combining these elements with the fluid combat system makes for one hell of an experience. Alternating between attack strikes and using the grappling hook to get to far off areas is never boring, especially when you take into account just how gorgeous their world of Limbo can be to explore. The lucid-dream like state of the world is remarkably vivid and holds a ton of secrets.
People are going to bitch heavily about the new Devil May Cry. They'll complain about the new Dante, about how different it is from previous iterations, but it's really their loss. DmC: Devil May Cry is a breath of fresh air, it's fast, stylish and most importantly -- a lot of fun to play. It may not please everyone, but DmC is easily the best in the Devil May Cry series whether they're ready to admit it or not.