Warning, this review has some mild spoilers.
I'm going to be honest with you right now, the very first time I saw the original teaser trailer for DmC, Ninja Theory's take on Capcom's niche but cult hit franchise "Devil may cry" I was less than impressed by the new direction they were taking one of my much beloved franchises, I hated Dante's new look which has been described on more than one occasion as looking like "a dirty Emo junky" a stark contrast when compared to the original Dante "a stylish, trench coat sporting, silver haired, wise cracking hero" although after Ninja Theory altered his design a little he did look a lot better. Another thing that had put me off of DmC early on was the fact that Ninja Theory seemed all to eager to bash the original games, the original creator Hideki Kamiya, as well as insult the original series fanbase. Needless to say, this didn't exactly rub me up the right way, but never the less I was still eager to get hands on with the game and find out for myself weather or not DmC: Devil may cry held up when compared to the original franchise, or deserved to be left Devil may crying at the bottom of a bargain bin.
Now seeing as the Original Devil may cry game released way back in 2001, it's a little unfair of me to try and attempt to compare the two gameplay wise, and also seeing as DmC: Devil may cry was supposed to be more along the lines of an origin story, it therefore has closer ties to Devil may cry 3: Dante's awakening which coincidently is one of my favourite action games of all time. Now DmC is supposed to be separate from that of the original franchise cannon, regardless of what the ending to the game may suggest, but I feel some comparison needs to be drawn in one form or another so I'll go about doing a little of such in this review.
So first up, Story.
Without going into to too much detail, or trying not to at least, Ninja Theory's DmC: Devil may cry puts us in the slightly scruffy, not so well refined, but still highly capable boots of a newer, younger Dante than we have played as before, but unlike in past games where our hero was the offspring of a human (Eva) and a Demon (Sparda) making him a powerful hybrid of the two, he is now a Nephilim, the offspring of an Angel and a Demon. However Nephilim in this game are considered strictly taboo as their species posses the power to traverse between both the Demon world and the Angel world, wield the power of both Angels and Demons, and can bring about the death of a Demon king. Due to the Nephilims potential threat their species were wiped out long ago, however Sparda (blood brother of the Demon King Mundus) eventually falls in love with an Angel known as Eva who goes on to bore them 2 twins named Dante and Vergil, this however causes an irrevocable rift between Sparta and Mundus, the later of which who then goes on a bloody and murderous rampage to yet again purge the world of the Nephilim abomination, his only potential threat posed by the very existence of the two Nephilim children, and to also punish their parents. Needless to say Mundus doesn't succeed here and Dante and his brother Vergil are separated then put in places safe from Mundus's gaze.
Dante is first introduced to us in Run–D.M.C., sorry I mean DmC: Devil may cry as a young man with nothing to loose, partying all night, one night stands and the occasional deep pan pizza is his way of life right now, well apart from occasionally getting dragged into Limbo (a plain that exists between the human and Demon world) where he is forced to fight and survive all manner of monstrosities, not to mention the environment itself in order to escape. This is all happening while the main Villain Mundus, a powerful Demon King who has gained hold over the human world by masquerading as a human himself, and bringing humanity under his thumb through debt, manipulating politics, and fast food, all while relentlessly scouring the city in order to bring about Dante's untimely demise. Except on one fateful day after partying hard Dante is approached by a mysterious girl named Cat, who wants to introduce him to her "Boss" head of an organisation known as the Order.
So as you can probably tell the basic plot in DmC: Devil may cry is arguably pretty good on paper, unfortunately though the games story suffers from some poor scripting, hammy voice acting, more F-bombs than you'd need to make even a sailor blush, and also some arguably disappointing moments of characterisation. The good I suppose is the fact that even this level of infantile story telling didn't end up killing the game for me, the story might be hanging on a thread for dear life but Devil may cry was never very story centric anyway. The idea of having all of humanity already under the thumb of Demons all the while being non the wiser was a smart move and I give Team Ninja credit for that one, but sadly that is just about as smart as the game tries to be with such a premise. Going off of the events that transpire at the end of DmC I would be very interested in seeing exactly where Team Ninja could potentially take the franchise now, but saying that you could probably get a decent answer to this question by going and playing Devil may cry 3: Dante's awakening, which almost seems like it could have been tailor made to be DmC's sequel par a few plot/story differences.
OK, so now we're at the "combat" arguably the most important aspect of any Devil may cry game. So... How does it hold up?.
Combat in DmC: Devil may cry is honestly pretty good but I would be hesitant in saying it is as good as the likes of DMC 3 or 4, you see in the older DMC games playing as Dante made you feel like a total badass, but I never really got that same feeling from playing as Dante in DmC: Devil may cry, another thing that didn't help was that the Devil trigger was a little disappointing, it gives you a decent power boost but is over far to soon, also because the transformation shockwave throws enemies into the air for you to take out using aerial combos it ended up obscuring enemies from the line of sight at times. That being said DmC: Devil may cry's combat has actually put me in somewhat of a rather difficult position, you see while the game does arguably has some of the deepest combat mechanics the series has had yet, such as allowing for players to alternate between any and all ranged weapons and/or melee weapons on the fly, allowing for such tactics as using light combo attacks with the Osiris (Angel Scythe) then near the end of the combo switching weapons and following up with say, a finishing combination heavy attack with the Arbiter (Demon Axe) it is a pretty neat addition that I would like to see in more future action games. However DmC does kind of fall short in other areas, such as forcing you to have to switch weapons to deal with certain enemy threats, it probably sounded like a good idea early on but in practice I felt it ended up getting in the way of the flow of combat and just really caused unnecessary complications, most enemies in DmC aren't too difficult to manage but once a Angel or Demon enemy appears it impacts your play style drastically, maybe this aspect of enemy combat does add to the challenge but personally I could have done without it.
I wasn't really much of a fan of the redesign for Rebellion (Dante's Sword), Ebony and Ivory (Dante's dual pistols) either, but the new Rebellion made for an interesting alternative to the original mostly because of it being more multi-purpose in its uses, that being said other than say one or two enemies Ebony and Ivory were utterly useless, which is a little unfortunate. Also the style counter is another thing I wasn't too happy Ninja Theory changed, it is a lot more forgiving in DmC: Devil may cry than I think it has ever been before. Getting hit will no longer reset your style counter like it did in previous games but instead will only lower your style, making it pretty easy to achieve SSS rankings on most levels during your first play through, then again using the new Rebellion to drag enemies towards you much like you could with Nero's "Devil bringer" in DMC 4, is a welcome inclusion to Dante's skill set, the skill even lets you go as far as latching hold of enemies and dragging yourself over to them, this does however creates a bit of an exploit. It is all too easy with most enemies to launch one into the air, pummel them to death then latch hold of another, and pull them up into the air, or alternatively latch hold and drag yourself over to an enemy already in flight and pummel them to death as well, rinse & repeat till you have nothing left but the heavys on the ground and a good use for you Demon axe, assuming you ever stopped using it.
Some of the Boss fights in DmC: devil may cry were a little lacklustre, especially when compared to the classics like Cerberus, Griffon, DMC 3's Vergil, Beowulf the Lightbeast, Nevan and the original Devil may cry's Mundus. However the final boss fight certainly made up for some disappointing bosses that preceded him.
To be fair the combat in DmC was most likely made more accessible to allow for newer gamers to play and feel like a pro without actually having to master the combat mechanics like you would in previous games, aka learning how not to get their head knocked off. Anyway if you really want a challenge there are a good few difficulty settings available that will help you scratch that challenge itch, it might not fix every issue you have with the game but it should help fans who want to play DmC but are also missing that challenge the original franchise posed.
And now we come to the "platforming"
The platforming side of DmC: Devil may cry, is a certain aspect that has been rather lacking in the series past iterations. So, is the inclusion here for better or worse? Well I actually kinda liked it myself, I mean yes it's linear, yes it's only ever really their so we can get a good look at the twisted beauty that is Limbo (Very pretty place mind) and yes the choppy visuals that comes with platforming in 30 fps does kinda get in the way of split second button presses, leading to Dante missing the opportunity to grapple onto a piece of floating debris , then falling 50 storeys and receiving a pavement facial. But in the end the platforming does what it should do, it gets you from A to B with relatively minimum fuss intended, that's more than can be said for platforming in the original games *cringes* so no, platforming in DmC is not perfect but it works well enough in most cases at least.
OK, so before wrapping up I just want to take a brief moment and talk about how "I" feel DmC: Devil may cry does in actual matching up to the original games.
It must be said that as a character I didn't much like the new Dante, however with that being said he certainly grew on me the more I played and I honestly did end up liking him in the end, certainly not as much as I like the original Dante but enough for me to not mind seeing him in a DmC sequel. For me a key factor that made the original Dante likable was his character flaws, flaws that were brought about by his tragic past and his conflict with being part Demon (the creatures that he shares a deep connection to but must kill daily in order to save human lives) and his human side, he is part human but never truly being able to fit in with normal society led him to become a loner, and a smart mouthed rogue, who drops one liners as much as new Dante drops the F-bomb. I honestly felt that the original Dante being part human made him more relatable but the new Dante certainly has relatable human character flaws, and to be fair he's only had one game to flesh out his character where as the original Dante has had 3 or 4 or at least.
While this reboot might not strike a chord with everyone I think it is fair to say that as a game it does well to stand on it's own merits, maybe if DmC: Devil may cry was made instead to be an all new IP then it probably would have been more well received. If you have yet to have played DmC: Devil may cry then by all means give it a try, it's definitely not DmC as we "the fans" know it but it is well worth playing as an enjoyable action game, and heck it still beats Devil may cry 2 *cringe*.
Well thanks for reading my user review, if you have anything to add or disagree with my points then as always please feel free to leave a comment.