DmC Devil May Cry Hands-on Preview -- Multi-Dimensional Irreverence Ahoy!By Kevin Kelly - Posted Apr 10, 2012
Devil May Cry. DmC. DmC: Devil May Cry. However you slice it, the franchise is coming back. Two years ago Capcom told us that they were taking the game in a new direction, with a newly designed version of Dante. Which resulted in parts of the internet freaking out. But even though Capcom has brought in an outside company to develop this title for the first time, rest assured that Ninja Theory is treating Dante with the proper amount of irreverence and respect. Would you expect anything less?
This game explores who Dante is. We know him as “a cool guy who does cool shit,” but what events shaped who he is? Why does he have an attitude? Why is he irreverent? Ninja Theory is stripping him down to his bare essentials (quite literally, if you watch the trailer), and putting that into the game. While this isn’t the old Devil May Cry, it’s certainly Dante.
The game opens with Dante recovering from a wild night of partying, which he apparently does quite often. As he wakes up in his trailer, complete with lipstick messages scrawled on his arm, a message from a terrorist plays on the Raptor News Network, which appears to be DmC’s version of Fox News with a televangelist twist. But it isn’t long before a demon bursts in and begins chasing Dante. This is a Devil May Cry title, after all.
As it turns out, the world of Limbo is a plane of existence that is layered on top of our world. Things that happen in one affect the other, and Dante has the ability to exist in both worlds. Normally he lives in the “real world,” which is for all practical purposes the world that we live in, but he can be pulled into Limbo where he does battle with the forces of evil. Limbo looks like a dark and twisted version of our reality. When the demon detaches a ferris wheel to try and kill you, it looks like a terrorist attack in our world.
To that end, most people in our own world view Dante is a terrorist, with Raptor going as far as to label him a sexual deviant. Which could be true, given Dante’s penchant for partying, and the fact that you have to retrieve your guns, Ebony and Ivory, from a bra in the opening scene. Classy.
This brings us to the combat in the game. Dante’s ever-present sword and guns are still here, but this time, they’re augmented by new weapons and aerial combat. Dante has two separate weapons, symbolizing his angel and devil sides, that he can summon for strong and area attacks.
One is Osiris, an “angel weapon” scythe that charges up over time and is good for crowd control. The other is the Arbiter, an enormous demonic axe that is good for dealing out powerful damage. Combine those with the ability to grapple enemies in the air and pull yourself towards them, as well as launching your opponents into the air, and there’s a whole new combat game going on.
However, DmC retains the combo system from the other titles, and you’ll need to discover all of the different combinations in order to score a Triple S. One tip is to mix it up as often as possible, like launch a demon skyward, pump some bullets into him, then use your chain to lift yourself up towards him and cleave him in two with the Arbiter. You can switch between the Arbiter and Osiris instantly to create your own combos with the sword and guns as well. Not that aerial combat is new to Devi May Cry, but it definitely feels new here.
Ninja Theory wants to make the combat more accessible, while continuing to maintain the depth. To help with that, they have added clarity to it by showing you points onscreen for the different combos, so you know when you’ve done something good. Still, the team thinks that you won’t discover all of the combo abilities even on your first playthrough, which might give you a reason to jump back into the game after the credits roll.
During our demo session, we were actually able to play the game, and it definitely feels like a brand-new combat system, with an irreverently familiar (if dark-haired) Dante at the center of it. Levels are much more open, with aerial combat becoming a huge part of the gameplay as some opponents are winged and stay in the sky. Dante’s double “angel boost” jump is handy for getting skyward, and he can glide at the end of that jump as well to extend a bit further.
Lifting into airborne enemies or grappling yourself towards larger foes will become a necessity rather than a luxury, and you’ll soon come to rely on the Arbiter and Osiris as much as your sword and guns. There are puzzle-solving elements throughout, as we had to figure out how to access platforms (Dante’s chain can pull some of them outwards) in order to get high enough to disable some demon eyes that register as security cameras in our own world.
Dante isn’t alone in his quest, getting help from Kat, a girl rooted in our world but who can see into Limbo. She’ll work with Dante and point things out to him, although it’s unclear if she’ll have a larger role further into the game. When Dante sees her, she’s a ghostly version of her real self, which is how she also sees Dante when they aren’t in the same plane of existence. Dante can also see the humans living in the real world when he’s in Limbo, although they look like ashen, grey versions of us, and he only sees them for fleeting moments.
While this is a new direction for the Devil May Cry series, Ninja Theory has a firm handle on the combat in the game, and we’re excited to see where it leads us. Dante may look different, but he certainly acts the same way. We would expect nothing less. Look for DmC for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later in 2012.