Devil May Cry (PS3)

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Devil May Cry, or DmC as it has come to be known, is a mind-blowing reimagining of a Capcom series that sees players setting out on a journey that is a retelling of protagonist Dante’s origin story. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t has even deeper meaning in this game as you’ll meet a new Dante, younger with black hair this time around, but with the same nonchalant yet cocky attitude that we came to know years ago.

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Early on in the story Dante meets Kat, a medium who later becomes instrumental in helping him because she can see people in the demon realm of Limbo, a world that is set on top of the real world although people are oblivious to its existence. She encourages him to meet with The Order, a group of freedom fighters that aims to end the demons’ occupation of the human world which is unwittingly suppressed under powerful demons. He also meets Vergil, his long-lost twin brother, who helps Dante to explore his childhood years and reveal painful truths about his existence and who will ultimately challenge his very soul.

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The levels within Devil May Cry are wonderfully creative and the diversity in their crafting will keep you both entertained as you explore their inner-workings and challenged in the variety of gameplay and interactivity introduced. The ability to move between the real world and the world of Limbo has allowed Ninja Theory to create very imaginative settings, the environment itself works against you in Limbo, the world is alive and tries to trap Dante with its malice – walls move to crush you, floors fall away to nothingness, buildings tear themselves apart, and enemies spawn in an effort to kill you. Messages from the demons are scattered throughout. The vices of men appear in this demon world,, words like ‘Greed’ and ‘Debt’ which play well into a commentary of the themes of humanity’s downfalls, while you’ll also get a very real taste of the demon’s hate for Dante as words like ‘Kill,’ ‘Destroy’ and ‘Defeat’ are written across walls and floors when you’re trapped in this world.

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The demons themselves will also show you just how much you’re disliked, stopping at nothing to hunt you down and wipe that smug smile off your face. Even though Devil May Cry is very story-driven and you’ll be glued to the cut-scenes to discover how this tale unfolds, the fight sequences are where the true power of the game lies. You’ll face a great variety of enemies on your journey, some of them may be chainsaw wielding, others shield toting, but they’ll be united on one front: their hate for Dante. Not only does each enemy look different but they have unique attacks too, meaning that you’ll have to use all of Dante’s abilities to defeat them. As a result the gameplay is ever changing and you’ll have to adapt your strategy and master new skills if you want to survive the attack of the demon world.

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Dante is Nephilim (being the offspring of an angel and a demon), and therefore he possesses both demonic and angelic powers. In addition to his sword Rebellion and pistols Ebony and Ivory, he has the Arbiter and Osiris weapons to help him face the hordes of demons in Limbo. Each weapon has different strengths and weaknesses, and will be more or less effective against the various enemies. The weapons also give you the means to navigate your way through the environments, traversing the obstacles that the Malice within Limbo creates.

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You will be rewarded with many more weapons and abilities as you progress in the game, which together create gameplay that is always changing, always innovative, and as a result always interesting. You’ll also be able to upgrade your abilities for each weapon, tailoring gameplay and learning new moves as you delve deeper into the game. The upgrade system is well designed and simple to use. You can access it via Divinity Statues dotted around the levels, or before you begin a mission. The abilities menu allows you to allocate upgrade points earned during missions, while the item menu will also be valuable to purchase health upgrades.

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There’s a lot going on in Devil May Cry, there are a whole bunch of controls to learn for the different weapons and abilities, and you’ll always be keeping an eye on your style meter in the top right corner too. But somehow it just works, it gels together to form what is the slickest, most polished, and definitely the most kickass Devil May Cry experience I’ve ever had. It will also leave you amazed at just how many controls you can flawlessly execute as you jump off a ledge, grapple onto a building, soar through the air, and pull an outcropping closer for a smooth landing. The abilities work seamlessly with one another, even if you do happen to glance down at the abyss that lies dauntingly below you as you sail between platforms.

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Style rank has always been an integral part of the Devil May Cry series, and this new instalment is no different with players being rewarded for creativity in their attacks. It’s also a way of encouraging you to use all of the weapons at your disposal and challenge you to string together different moves and keep the combos going to increase your style rank. The hardcore metal soundtrack that accompanies all battles really does help to immerse you even further into the demon-slaying action too, and with the opportunity to chain together ground based and aerial combos so fluidly, as well as switch between Dante’s weapons seamlessly, you’ll be challenging yourself to do better every step of the way.

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Although the combat will start out simply with just one type of ground unit, before long you’ll be facing air units and then a little later on ground units plus air units. Enemies with shields will then be introduced, and next you’ll also be tasked with facing a mix of enemies that require either the demon or angel abilities to slay them so you’ll have to swap between weapons. Larger enemies, environmental barriers – everything combines to build the gameplay and keeps on evolving to always challenge you in different ways. This naturally progresses to boss battles which are creatively designed and well executed, challenging without being frustrating thanks largely to a solid checkpoint system.

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Devil May Cry is a worthwhile investment, not only will you be able to enjoy a lengthy campaign, you’ll also get a wealth of replayability from the title. In between slaying demons, Dante will also have a lot of other goals to keep him busy. Tracking down lost souls, searching for orbs, and keeping a look out for keys giving you access to secret areas within the levels. The secret missions, which include defeating waves of enemies and traversing courses within a set time, offer a welcome change of pace and the opportunity to earn valuable items. These objectives will have you returning to the missions again to complete them and being able to upload your score to the leaderboards will no doubt also cause fierce competition among the fans. Upon completion of the game you’ll also unlock additional difficulty modes to enjoy as well as the Bloody Palace mode which promise to keep you very busy for quite some time, and there’s also concept art, stats, a training mode and more to explore in Devil May Cry. You can also look forward to the upcoming downloadable content which features a new chapter in the game and tells the tale of how Vergil slots in with the main story.

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At the end of the game these things will be certain, you will have sore, cramping fingers, you will have mastered a surprising number of moves and combos, and you will have come to realise that younger black-haired Dante is just the same Dante we’ve come to know in the previous Devil May Cry games. He may be a little more rough around the edges and have a different hair colour, but his witty humour, cockiness and self-assured nature is exactly the same. In fact this new re-imagined Dante to me is the epitome of the character and I look forward to seeing him appear in many new Devil May Cry titles in the future.