DmC: Devil May Cry Review

DmC Header

DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3, 360, PC)
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Capcom
MSRP: $59.99

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DmC is too aware of what’s considered cool. Patched on Dante’s coat is the British flag, emblematic of the oversaturated “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme. Raptor News is a not-so-subtle satire of Fox News with a God-loving persona who’s really a demon (Get it? They’re evil!). Photos are tweeted that jarringly frame real people and the game’s demon’s together. The world is silently controlled by the consumption of energy drinks, hitting two birds – popular overly-caffeinated beverages and manipulative marketing – with one dull smack. And what cool game wouldn’t blare dubstep beats? Nothing screams ‘hip’ more than, “Look at how cool this game is! We have all those things you relate to!” Dat shit ain’t cool, yo.

DmC Screen 2

Looking past the cries for acceptance, DmC’s style is unmatched. A parallel universe to our own, called Limbo, is constantly searching for Dante and dragging him into the demonic dimension. Locales are vibrant and colorful, rich with detail and diversity. Who knew demons had an eye for aesthetics? Maybe it’s because they look like porcelain dolls, only larger with cracks oozing black goo. How cute!

Limbo is also a conscience entity. It’s willing to contort itself at any time to stop your progression, meaning platforming plays a larger role than previous titles, as you grapple to and from dilapidating churches, prisons, and skyscrapers, engagingly linking battles together. Limbo’s emotional range is somewhere between mad and furious, with a voice hoarse enough for a heavy metal band and two back-up singers. White graffiti text (in all caps) accompanies his raucous outbursts. Such quips include, “KILL DANTE,” “TRAPPED,” and “FUCK YOU.” While juvenile, the aggression for the sake of aggression sets an unpretentious tone that suits the combat.

DmC Screen 1

Combat is all about style. Killing those who stand in your way is occasionally difficult (especially on higher difficulty levels), but doing so with panache is the real challenge. Jettisoning baddies into the air, slashing them a few times while airborne, smacking one down and grappling it back to you is a thrill this series loves to provide, but also critique. You’re always being graded on how well you perform in combat. Mixing up your attacks between five melee weapons and three firearms, all while avoiding enemy attacks yields higher grades (the loading screen loves to flaunt a variety of insane combos that you’ll never pull of). Targeting specific threats isn’t as easy as you’d hope, some enemies are weak to certain weapons, arbitrarily neutering your options, and bosses lack pizzazz. These are the few and minor quirks in a waltz of beautiful brutality that encourages and rewards experimentation. No other game will make you feel this badass, but you have to work for it.

It’s unfair that DmC scrutinizes your ability to be stylish while it’s off doing debatably cool things in excruciating excess. Its crowd-pleasing nods toward our culture will please few. By relying on what’s deemed hip, DmC becomes uncool. Being cool is adopting trends early, not when they’re already trendy. But in the midst of a devastating combo, executed to perfection, you won’t feel cool – you’ll be stylish. And that’s better.

A-

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