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360ICE

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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.

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DragonKnight1349d ago

Gotta say, this is a great blog. My opinion about this game is no secret of course, but only a complete troll would see your blog and not see the logic in it.

My biggest gripes with DmC are many but can boil down to 2 things if you really wanted to summarize it. 1 is Ninja Theory. Everything about them. Their attitude, the way they always play the victim when their games don't sell, the general lazy style of their development, and most of all Tameem Antoniades. Giving Ninja Theory the game was probably the worst idea ever. They've had 2 games. Both received good reviews and sold like shite because people knew better. Heavenly Sword was a decent enough first attempt and helped to bolster the PS3's launch, but it wasn't anything special or spectacular. Most liked it for the protagonist and antagonist more than anything else. Enslaved was a mess from the start. When your head writer can't bring himself to like the concept, you know something is wrong. Their arrogance has always been unwarranted and their catalog couldn't help them back it up.

The next basic gripe I have is that the game follows the trend of games this gen of taking something that worked, and worked well, and dumbing it down and making "accessible" to draw in this mythical larger audience conveniently forgetting the fact that you can't draw people into something they never knew about in the first place. Devil May Cry has never been a seller like Halo or CoD, never been a brand like Final Fantasy or Mario. It has always appealed to a specific audience, and that's always been part of the reason it's been so good. The likelihood of non-fans of the older franchise suddenly taking an interest in this game is practically non-existent. That means that Capcom and Ninja Theory took what wasn't broken and fixed it for nothing. They did it with Resident Evil, they're doing it with Devil May Cry, and who knows where it's going to end. Even Dark Souls 2 is having murmurings of becoming more accessible and direct with hints at changing the combat.

Devil May Cry had a lot more story to tell. Hell there hasn't even been a game where you play as Sparda or even have him as a significant part of the story. There still hasn't been a Nero origin story. The reboot was just Capcom's pride talking. They got lazy with DMC4 and then, rather than accept what they did wrong and just not do that again, they decided that it was the fans that wanted nothing to do with the series anymore so they looked towards the casuals. They were wrong. And that's really the meat of the issue. At least for me.

StraightPath1347d ago

i am currently playing it at mission 4 still early but the game so far is nothing special..quite boring and stuff we seen in other hack & slash games already. But ill hold my full judgement until completing the game.

DMC 1 & 3 were the best.

God of War series to me is the most consistent hack & slash game as all its games are great!

while ninja gaiden the 1st one was a master piece from the all went downhill.

bayonetta and gow3 best hack & slash this gen.

i got a funny feeling media overhyping this game...86% metacritic not so much i guess but ill see when completed.

DragonKnight1347d ago

Thing is, if you look at the reviews of this game, you see they are praising it for what they slammed NG3 for. That's a double standard that they should be made to answer for.

zerocrossing1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

I must admit when 1st found out about DMC getting a reboot I almost didn't believe it, I thought it was entirely unnecessary and then hearing they put it in the hands of NT, granted I really enjoyed Heavenly Sword but to my mind they hadn't done anything note worthy since.

Like you say DMC was a very niche franchise with loyal, die hard fans, DMC3 is critically acclaimed and may probably be the BEST action game ever to grace console and PC so far, so when DMC4 came out we were all expecting much more and because of Capcoms failings to live up to fan expectation we now have this reboot.

Now Im not against rebooting DMC but I think it was handled the wrong way, certain things are expected from a DMC game and have been reportedly lacking in the reboot, DMC was never about accessibility, it was challenging and offered layers of depth for those who mastered the complex combat system, having only spent a single play through of both sections of the demo I cant say to much with certainty, but I found the combat lacking in depth, fluidity and style, racking up an SSS rank was a challenge but its so easy now I feel like its lost its meaning.

With almost no chance of seeing a return of the former franchise, all the questions are left unanswered and no ending or closure may ever be given, it's really not hard to understand why fans are upset.

Ultr1349d ago

The first CGI looked very bad. Character did not look good, and the music was aweful.

BUT

Turned out very stylish and cool
DMC all the way

Godmars2901349d ago

Just have to say that your opening statement is flawed. Not only were the original creators directly responsible for the mistakes make with those projects you listed, their basic fundamental flaw was that they were put out there. Shoved into the public's face on the first draft with a mountain of GC to cover for lack of thought.

DmC doesn't really suffer from that, it was just too much change offered with no warning. Insults.

If Capcom were a better company they might have handled this better, but as is they don't see the issues with putting DLC on a game they sell you, expecting you to pay for that in addition.

360ICE1349d ago

Ok, I'll try to respond to everyone as always.
@DragonKnight
Why, thanks.
I agree I'd like to see the original story finished. But I think there was a lot of really awful narration in DMC, that left many threads unanswered. DMC4 for instance, was started on the premis that suddenly you didn't know what was going on, and the other stories that needed telling were forgotten. It'd basically need an MGS4 to tie up all the loose ends, and I'm not sure who would suddenly be there to provide that with a decent presentation.

For what it's worth, I'm glad that they're sort of keeping both DMC universes. Saying that the DmC: Devil May Cry is an alternate one. Even though that's a bit silly. I'm glad it's not an overwrite though.

@zerocrossing
If there's one thing you can't expect from a popular video game franchise, it's closure. And that of course is partly Capcom's mistake.

I agree with the other point too. I do miss the more hardcore gameplay, the colder atmosphere and the more elegant style. But I also liked the nods they had to a possible return to a little more classic DmC in the future. Maybe next one will be more of a compromise.

@Ultr
I actually really like the new music. Noisia and Combichrist. But I liked the old music too, and if there ever was contrast between two games it's between the DMC4 opening and DmC: Devil May Cry. ...Strangely DmC kind of reminds me of the opening of the original DmC though, maybe it's the whole 'unwelcome visitor'-thing.

@Godmars290
Getting examples that had a more similar creative process, with same studio, same people etc. wouldn't really further my point all that much. The examples are there simply to mention other times the original fanbase has been "betrayed" for wider appeal.

Not gonna argue that Capcom don't do a lot of stuff wrong though.

DragonKnight1349d ago

I agree. DMC4 was a lazy job. It lacked any real focus. The problem though is that Capcom used that as a launching pad to say that no one like DMC's style and it needed reinventing. The problems people had with DMC4 were, like you said, a story that came out of nowhere and told you nothing about what was going on and reused levels and bosses. I don't know what Capcom were thinking with DMC4, maybe they spent too much time on the combat, who knows.

And with the way they canned Megaman Legends 3, haven't used some of their well known franchises this gen (Onimusha for one), I can't say I trust them when they say that the older Devil May Cry isn't gone and they may revisit it. I think they'll use this new game as justification for ending the older style saying "people want the new style" and then outsource more franchises to Western studios. And that would definitely be a real shame.

Godmars2901348d ago

DMC4 wasn't lazy, it was overwhelming. The team both didn't know what to do with the hardware and had to do too much work to get what they did get out of it. That's why you got something which basically copied and pasted the first half of the game offered as most of the second half.

Honestly, most games early and even latter in the generation were shorter than those before, so it wasn't just them.

DragonKnight1347d ago

It was lazy though. Remember that the game had issues that had nothing to do with hardware, and also it was a multiplatform game. A protagonist with no back story isn't a hardware issue, nor is a story that just throws you into it without any kind of clue as to what's really going on, nor is the reuse of levels and bosses. They threw this stuff together without really caring but, funnily enough, they seem to have put the most effort into Dante's character and the combat system for DMC4.

Godmars2901347d ago

Nero's "backstory", his connection to Vergil, was hinted at throughout DMC4 with hints that it would be expanded on in DMC5. If the team hadn't been taxed with trying to understand the PS3's architecture then making it multiplatform - because originally it was going to be PS3 only, the 360 had had its over a year lead and there were multiple backlashes against the PS3 - they might have been able to deliver the story better. Instead they half-assed.

Remember, tons of first-gen PS3 and 360 titles had issues and not the equal of prior PS2/Xbox1 games. This has been a bad generation for games.

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