To give you folks a bit of a back story on this blog, I went to PAX Prime this past weekend to help out at the Kingston Hyper X booth and also to watch the Dota 2 International at the Benaroya hall. But one thing I knew I had to do before the end of the convention was to try out DmC for various reasons: I have been skeptical of Ninja Theory taking over development since day 1 - you can find me shitting and getting blazing mad when it was announced in my comment history, - I have been a hardcore fan of the series since the first game and DMC3 is my favorite action adventure game.
Before I go on, I want to point out again that I have played it on the PS3 version at PAX - There was an Xbox 360 version of the game as well. If you had a different experience than I had playing the PS3 version or if it was different on the Xbox 360, please let me know in the comment. I would really appreciate you reading the blog before commenting.
I am going to just come out at say that I did not like what I played at all. And it had very little to do with the actual gameplay itself and more to do with the feel of the games engine. For those of you who are not aware, the game runs on the same engine as Enslaved - Unreal Engine capped at 30FPS - and I could not help to feel that I was playing a re-skinned version of Enslaved. But really, what bothers me was not that.
Anyone familiar with Ninja Theory knows that their games on the PS3 are notorious for having frame rate issues, screen tearing and input lag. And when I started playing the game, I was welcomed with cutscene that was not smooth in any way and FPS just started dropping as characters were moving. It baffled me that this has not been mentioned on any gaming news site, but then again most of the demos you see are played on the Xbox 360 version and this just supports the theory of how deceiving 1080P gameplay videos really are compared to actual live in-person look. The game did not run very smooth when I played. I moved the camera around to look at the environment and the lag as you drag the camera around is very noticeable. I had the same issue playing Heavenly Sword and Enslaved.
The combat in it self was fine, but there are moments when you pull off combos that the details around you just start to drop and there were even instances in the games where FPS would just start to drop and it started feeling very laggy. Some of the occasional cutscenes had screen tearing. They were not very noticeable - screen tearing in general is hard to spot - but someone who pays attention to details can spot them.
Input lag. I honestly cannot begin to emphasize how big of an issue this is for the game. Input lag heavily hinders a game such as Devil May Cry, that relies heavily on timing moves and precision. While it's not a 2 second delay, it's still there. It's something that you are going to have to adjust to and dropping combos can easily be caused by this. What is input lag? Simple: You press a button and it takes a few second for the game to read your command and fulfill it. Again, for a game such as Devil May Cry that relies heavily on timing and precision, this is very frustrating. Could it have just been the TV's I playing on? Possibly yes! But given how both Heavenly Sword and Enslaved on the PS3 suffered from input lag, it would not surprise me if it wasn't the TVs.
I really really hate to add fuel to the fire and I am very aware that I would be unleashing the angry hounds with this, but things like this cannot be happening. It is Ninja Theory's third game and I would hate to have to deal with this the third time. I gave them a pass for it with Heavenly Sword, since it was their first game on the PS3. With Enslaved I wasn't forgiving and it's disappointing to see that on their third try this happens again.
A shotty PS3 port is what this is looking like and as I previous stated, I find it very weird that there has been no mention of this. From the looks of it, DmC is going to be that game that if you have an Xbox 360 and a PS3, that you might want to get it on the Xbox 360. This game is definitely being developed on the Xbox 360, which does not surprise me that Capcom and Ninja Theory are promoting the Xbox 360 version of the game onto the press. As I was walking out of the area after I finished playing the demo, I saw that the stations on the other side had it on the Xbox 360 and it was playing much smoother than when I played it on the PS3.
But this stuff can be fixed right? It absolutely can be and I seriously hope they do fix it. Will they do it though? I am not so sure if it will happen. The game is schedule for release on January 15th, which means it will probably go gold a month before. That leaves them with September, October and November. Depending on where their priorities are, which could be combat, adding new mechanics like the lock-on mode - which by the way the game does not have, - on-side DLC, regular DLC, and other stuff, it might not happen. And given that both Enslaved and Heavenly Sword's demo also suffered from frame rate issues and input lag, which they never ended up fixing, it wouldn't surprise me if the final PS3 version will have these issues.
Again, if you had a difference experience playing the demo of the game at a convention or played it on the Xbox 360, please let me know in the comment. I will write another blog maybe later this week on the actual gameplay. For now it is just this.
The two videos below here are Enslaved frame rate comparison between the Xbox 360 and PS3. It shows the game running very consistently on 30FPS on the 360 while the PS3 version occasionally takes dips from small to big. I cannot comment on the Xbox 360 version of DmC, but I can vouch similar experience with the PS3, especially during combat and when camera zooms out to show surrounding environment.
Thank you for reading.