Devil May Cry and Your Cognitive Dissonance
People hate when someone decides to mess with things they love. Many frown upon the Star Wars Prequel trilogy, others upon the 4th Indiana Jones movie and there are plenty of people who simply hate the DVD re-release of E.T. (I'm sure there are examples that are not related to Lucas and Spielberg as well) Why wouldn't we? Why would someone mess with the stuff that we already approve of? Why can't whatever new thing they're thinking about go into a different brand name? These are all valid concerns that were raised in regards to Capcom's reboot of Devil May Cry.
So let's focus on the invalid concerns.
1) The game is objectively broken
Let's set aside that most people here have no grip on what the term objective actually means, and that you need an objective standard for what makes something broken in order to call something objectively broken. There is a high (subjective) consensus that elements such as glitchy gameplay, low frame rate and unresponsive controls are elements that generally drag a game down, if not done for artistic purpouses (have they ever been?).
This is usually what's refered to, when reasoning why DMC: Devil May Cry is broken. And I would agree, those elements would break a game. I however, encountered only small frame inconsistencies, and really only on the PS3 version, which has had its fair share of Unreal Engine problems.
The game was still very playable, the controllers accessible and the combo system had depth, and made for some of the most insane attacks I have ever seen in any game. Is this an objective observation? No, it's my opinion. You could even get the exact frame rates it runs at, and it'll be my opinion whether I find that the frame rate sufficient or not. I'd like for it to run in 60fps, sure, but if that means I'd have to sacrifice the huge, dynamic environements I'll make do with 30. Are there bugs? Sure. Do you like another AAA game? Then shut the hell up. I find it tough to look at DMC and say that it's really more bugged than any other game. DMC is not objectively broken and reviewers are not defying objective fact when they state that they like this game.
2) Reviewers are bought by Capcom
I gotta be honest with you, having worked for a few gaming magazines myself. I'm not sure if any reviewer in the history of game journalism (as crappy as it is) has ever been straight up paid to write a favourable review. To some people that may seem utterly ridiculous, but really, no game publisher would dare offer money to get a favourable review.
I'm not quite sure how getting the money would even work. Would the editor take the money and tell the reviewer to write favourably? Would the writer take the money, even though game publishers would have to check with the editor to find out who is reviewing? Would they split the money? Would the editor write the review himself? Would there not be a huge chance that someone would tell? If they did tell, and you did get money, it might not be that difficult to prove that you were attempted bribed. And then the publisher would be in a world of hurt, in what would be a positive situation for the game site.
And would you bribe just one outlet? Or many? Do you divide risk? If you only bribe one, what about the others? And you can't bribe them all, or even all that many. Someone is bound to tell.
No, no one has pocketed any cash to write favourable DMC reviews. Do publishers try to influence the reviewer? You bet. They give people they think may approach the game favourably early review codes, they blacklist reviewers that have strong opinions against their games and set the time and date for reviews to be published. If it's an important release and a big gaming outlet, they may even send a special edition box, just to sweeten the deal. Hey, it may go to your head sometimes, but it's not exactly a bribe.
Ultimately, my point is that the high DMC scores are free opinions. Or at least not subject to any more stress than what the average review is. The lowest on metacritic so far is one review at 70 by Gamereactor Sweden (which if you check their history is a pretty strict site), ranging up to 100, with quite a few over 90. All pretty good scores. Even super-strict Edge magazine gave this game an 80! The average for the PS3 version is 84, and 85 for 360. Ultimately you have a wide range of different opinions, without anymore "bribery" than what is the case for pretty much every AAA release.
3) DMC has a perfect record
Again, this is an opinion, but a lot of the people here that are DMC fans seem to forget a few things when talking about how broken the new game is, and that is that DMC has had its flaws before. More specifically DMC2. A very messy game, with a story presented so badly a Kingdom Hearts spin-off would be proud.
Also, it's a franchise that has really never gotten a few things right. Like the terrible platforming. That's really been pretty awful in every game until this one. OR SO I THINK. Thankfully it was never a big part of the game, but if they're gonna put it in there one would think it'd make sense to do something with it. That's what they did now.
Also, let's not make it that the story and characters had THAT much depth. I mean, ultimately if you approach game stories cynically very few of them really stand trial. And that's what you're doing to DMC: Devil May Cry. Picking out every flaw before it gets a chance. The story captures you, there are some good twists and some very interesting moments. That's what I liked about the story.
The first DMC, however? I'd say an incredibly good and creative game. I wouldn't argue that DMC: Devil May Cry is the best game in the franchise, but it's not an automatic truth that this is the worst in the franchise. Personally, I think it sits on a nice second place.
There are many legitimate complaints, and if you don't like the turn the DMC universe has taken then god bless your heart. I would agree that the new DMC has made many sacrifices. I also kind of like the old Dante better. Should Capcom have come up with a new franchise entirely? That would probably be ideal. But as a product of the financial situation they find themself in, they decided to use an existing franchise and give it wider appeal.
Is it possible that all the things you liked about DMC are gone? For sure, but I'd say there are other things there in its place. There are fingers to be pointed and debates to be had, but you do need to let go of a few things:
- Other people actually like this game. Fans too (me, at least)
- Reviewers were not bribed. At least nothing out of the ordinary.
- Your opinion is subjective, and though there are objective observations to be made, you assessment of these observations is subjective.
- The previous DMC games were not God's gift to mankind, they had some flaws.
At the end of the day I was kind of hoping we could all enjoy this new DMC for what it is. If you really can't, just try and forget it. The old games are still there for you. At least until the 4K re-release where they overwrite them with the new Dante.