The long wait has finally arrived for the curious fans (and haters) of the new DmC Devil May Cry reboot video game. The demo, featuring two levels and a bonus unlockable difficulty level, has been unleashed onto the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and Playstation Store.
Being a massive fan of the entire Devil May Cry series, I had a few ups and downs during the introduction of the new game’s reboot announcement. It looked rough, rugged and was introducing us to a new Dante who got a kick out of planting his cigarette into the shiny skulls of Demons, as well as failing to patch himself up from the cuts and bruises infesting his face. But since then we have seen a lot of improvements within the character, the designs, the story and the game itself, and it has been well worth the wait.
The latest demo showcased us to two fantastic levels within the new feature; Limbo. A world ruled by the Demons, who have an unrelenting vendetta against the son of a Demon father and Angel mother, Dante, and suck him into this world to conquer and kill him without mercy.
Limbo’s design is unique in its own retrospective and can really bring out a whole new way to play video game levels. During the first level of the demo, named Under Watch, we are presented with Kat, Dante’s newest companion and spirit guide, and Dante himself walking through the streets of Limbo City amongst the human population, filled with everyday urban items such as cars, litter and wall graffiti. Dante is soon spotted by a CCTV camera, undoubtedly controlled by the Demons, and is forcefully dragged into Limbo. The world shapeshifts around Dante with walls crumbling and turning, footpaths distorting and rising, and alleyways being surrounded by a black substance that prevents your escape. When you are dragged into Limbo you must literally face your demons and attempt to reach the real world once again to progress further in your missions. This is where the general combat against hordes of minions and escaping Limbo itself comes into play.
The second level featured a focused boss-fight mission against The Succubus, also known as The Secret Ingredient. This mission focused on what most fans loved about the series; being able to go all-out against gigantic bosses and really showing off what you are really capable of.
With a disturbingly ugly introduction to the boss, spitting and heaving harmful puke at you followed by endless barrages of vulgar offensive language, Dante counters this with his world-famous ignorant and cocky-cool attitude, which builds up the tension between the two and hands over the stage to the player for an epic fight.
The stage consisted of three platforms which you juggled between as you slashed and countered your way through Succubus’ varied attacks, repeated ground spikes and harmful puke. As you progressed through burning off the boss’ health, you must scurry onto the next platform before she (apparently its female) crushes you and takes you down with her. After defeating the boss, you must quickly escape from the crumbling Limbo and retreat to the way you entered, before being encountered once again for a cliffhanger ending.
The combo system in the game is still what we expect from a Devil May Cry game, with a huge array of attacks for your arsenal of weapons. You are presented with Dante’s Angelic Scythe weapon, which is ideal for slicing up enemies gathered around you for crowd control and enables some lengthy swings for those who are a fair bit of distance from you, and also features the Angelic Pull ability which whips out and wraps itself around the enemy (and prompted objects) and drags you towards them at high-speeds to keep the combat going no matter how hard you send them reeling.
The Demonic Axe weapon lacks combination attacks, but deals one hell of a punch. It is ideal against boss fights and dealing big damage against enemies when you feel like dealing a heavy blow to finish off your barrage of attack combos. It also features the Demonic Pull ability which is the reverse of the Angelic Pull, causing the whip to drag enemies back towards you so you can keep it close and personal (similar to the abilities featured with DMC4 Nero’s Devil Bringer Arm). It’s such a satisfying system that whenever I had a good fight going, I would yell out Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion’s famous “Get over here!” motto and then smash them into a million pieces after one full swing.
The famous Rebellion, Dante’s trademark sword, has also seen a return as well as the famous attacks such as Stinger and Million Stab. Rebellion is a neutral weapon that allows for some devastating combos and attacks that pack quite a punch (a little less to the Demonic weapon, of course). Its featured attacks can range from quick slashes, to powerful swings, to a charged attack that sends out waves of slashes to ranged opponents for long-distance attacks.
Ebony & Ivory, Dante’s world-famous twin pistols, have also returned. With high-speed synchronized shooting and a charged shot that can ricochet between enemies, it is a weapon that is always there for you when you feel like getting some distance between you and the enemy. It also finds a high purpose against Demonic Shards, which tend to appear and attack you as you progress through the stages of Limbo’s ever-changing world.
The Devil Trigger also sees a return, but this time it serves a slightly different purpose to those known in the previous DMC games. Once you activate it your hair shines bright white and your coat turns blood red (which should put those whiney fanboys at ease) and slows down the world around you, allowing you to cause some mayhem at ease with heightened attack power, less damage received to you and constant health regeneration. It is the perfect case for getting yourself out of tough situations and delivering some really heavy blows to those unlucky enough to cross your path once you activate the trigger.
Whilst I find the game to be perfect in almost every aspect I loved about the classic games, I do have some critiques about the system and design of the game itself…
The menu and HUB design seem pretty basic, making it fairly boring to keep track of your health and Devil Trigger gauge, and doesn’t give anything fancy to stare at whilst you boot up the game. It is generally flat and white, and the same applies for boss’ health gauges and the ranking system, however during the loading intervals of the levels you are presented with some game tips and a short animation of combination attacks pulled off by Dante against a basic minion, which can be great for giving you ideas on what to pull off during your fights.
The ranking system itself is very interesting and can really work in your favour too.
If you are successful enough to pull off varied combos and attacks, you can build up your rank overtime and keep it at the same rank even when you have stopped attacking to dodge and gain some distance between your enemies (this will decrease if you are hit though), and as the rank progresses higher and higher the battle soundtrack featured during the fight begins to get louder and more dramatic. My highlight was the fight between the boss Succubus when the music by NOISIA, one of my favourite electronic bands, began to get louder and more progressive with sounds, making me feel really pumped up and majorly bad ass during the intense fight. The same happened during the Over Watch level which featured songs by world-famous metal group, Combichrist.
The button commands between switching the Angelic and Demonic weapons can be very confusing to DMC veterans having to press between the two triggers on the controller, but once you get the hang of them after various amounts of plays you begin to really grasp the power behind the mix-up of attacks and combos.
The manual lock-on, as I have noticed, has been dumped too. We are now faced with automatic lock-on which in my opinion isn’t such a good idea if we have one enemy targeted and focused and we suddenly progress to attack other enemies at random. This problem can be quite a pain when you are faced off against a Red Demon and a Blue Demon, which are special enemies that can only be harmed by either the Demonic or Angelic weapons.
We have also been robbed of the ability to manually execute taunts during fights, which is one of my favourite points to the Devil May Cry games, but what makes up for this is the use of cinematics and automated taunts during the boss fights. You can discover various taunts by pulling off attacks on certain points of the boss or dodging most of the attacks. One example was when I was consistently shooting the head of the boss, and as she was defending herself from the barrage of bullets, Dante confidently shouted out “Aw, come on! Don’t be shy!” and this caused the boss to lash out in anger, allowing me to dodge the attack and deal more heavy damage to the weak point in its head.
However, the designs in the items such as the orbs have seen an improvement to their appearance, and some new items have also now been introduced.
During the demo I encountered silhouettes of people trapped within the walls of Limbo. These Lost Souls are similar to those found in the video game Dante’s Inferno, where you receive bonus points for rescuing them and allowing you unlock more items as you progress through the game, also increasing your overall mission completion rank. Apart from the Lost Souls, you will also come across secret rooms that can be broken open by either your Angelic or Demonic weapon depending on the corresponding colours. Inside you will find cocoons filled with little spiders, which are easily killable with a swing of your sword or a few shots from your guns, and after they are exterminated various orbs will pop out of them. You will also encounter various keys and doors, which allow access the secret missions (which were also another classic game favourite). Likewise to the previous DMC games, you will have to undertake the secret mission objective within the allocated time limit. If you are successful in completing the objective, you will be awarded with a Health or Devil Trigger fragment, similar to those of the blue and purple orb fragments in the classic games. Collecting 4 of these fragments will boost up your health and Devil Trigger gauge. This can really encourage you to take the time to explore more of Limbo and find secret areas.
During the results of your mission completions I have also noticed you can obtain what appear to be white medals, which allow for skill and ability upgrades, also very similar to the mechanic in the classic games using red orbs as payment.
The return of the Son of Sparda mode, which is unlockable in the demo itself, also holds promise for a more challenging playthrough for the more “hardcore” fans such as myself. This mode features remixed enemy waves with more challenging fights and an upped difficulty in their attacks and tactics, with the same habits followed for the boss fights. I have had so much fun with this mode on the demo that I have been challenging myself to defeat the boss level with no damage and an overall SSS completion rank.
Overall the demo is fantastic and has reached and exceeded my expectations. The Dante we all know and love from the classic games may be taking a break, but this new one still holds the legend within him and will easily become another we will love and crown iconic. The details are fantastic and the designs are top-notch to the brink of awe and inspiration, and the fights are still filled with adrenaline-fuelled bloodbaths, kickass soundtracks, and the chances to feel like the most bad ass Demon Slayer alive.
DmC Devil May Cry will without a shed of doubt be one of 2013’s best games of the year. I cannot recommend it enough, and I desperately urge you all to download the demo and give it a try now!
The full game will see a release on January 15th 2013, with a PC version following shortly after. So, what are you waiting for? Unleash the hunter inside of you and get the demo now!
CITIZENS, FACE YOUR DEMONS!
Words: Michael Steel
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