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REVIEW: ‘Devil May Cry’ worth a try

Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 14:01

 

Game developers should be wary of angering their fan base. Companies can be made or broken based off word of mouth from their customers. The release of “ET” for the Atari 2600 nearly crippled the industry back in the 1980s and people abandoned Sega in droves after the shortcomings of the Saturn. Give the gamers what they want and nobody will get hurt.

OK, so maybe Capcom’s reboot of “Devil May Cry” won’t garner as much antipathy and agony as the previous examples showed, but the idea is similar: Messing with a successful formula in any way can seriously come back to hurt you later.

Capcom, in conjunction with Ninja Theory, abandons some of the styles the previous entries had while maintaining the addictive combat system. While it’s certainly entertaining, “DmC: Devil May Cry” may seriously alienate longtime fans of the series. Dante no longer has white hair and his bad attitude has become downright unlikable at times. Not to mention some of the other characters from previous games are missing in action completely. Did I mention the game is sometimes in shockingly poor taste?

Demons are in control of everything. The angry, obese demon leader named Mundus controls much of the world through debt and has a monopoly on the media. “Virility,” his energy drink for the masses, keeps them docile and weak. Hope is virtually gone, and the world as we know it seems destined to decay and regress permanently while Mundus becomes ever more powerful.

Enter Dante: the foul-mouthed, cantankerous punk who is the son of a demon father and angel mother. After his trailer is trashed by a Hunter demon, Dante meets the mysterious and intelligent Kat. She helps him escape “Limbo”— think alternate universe or plane of existence similar to hell, a running theme in the game — and tells him that only he can rise up and fight against the demons due to his origin.

Dante is then wholly apathetic to learn Kat is a member of the Order, an underground movement to fight Mundus. He then grows interested when he meets Vergil, the strangely familiar being who may know something about Dante’s past and who he actually is. Going forward, all three agree to fight and liberate mankind from the demonic threat so all can live in peace.

  First, the good news. The combat is as exhilarating and addictive as ever. It’s possible to string together massive combos with the classic Rebellion sword and Dante’s pistols, Ebony and Ivory. Or, you can go for straight-up damage with the hefty Arbiter war-hammer. Other weapons can be unlocked later and each has their own respective strengths and quirks, so variety is definitely not an issue.

  There are probably at least a dozen different enemy types, so difficulty can vary from easy to brutally tough. The pistols are great for slowing down smaller foes such as Pathos and Harpies, but they are practically worthless on the fatter, more substantive creatures like the Tyrants and Butchers, and those Witches have a nasty habit of sustaining too many hits.

  The controls are surprisingly intuitive and fun to learn. There is no blocking function, but Dante can evade attacks with ease. The “demon pull” and “angel lift” functions also allow you to physically manipulate the environment or take advantage of what it offers you to progress through levels in different ways. Overall, the game handles smoothly and the camera only occasionally spoils the journey.

Now for some bad news. “DmC: Devil May Cry” is somewhat hampered by an inconsistent presentation. The story is serviceable enough, but Dante isn’t a particularly likable lead this time around. This makes it more difficult to get invested in the proceedings. He swears like a sailor — occasionally to the point where it’s absurd — and he’s a bit of a super-jerk. Plus, he makes way too many puns. The backstory we are treated to somewhat early in the game is admittedly pretty interesting, but it’s so limited in execution that it doesn’t leave as indelible a mark as it could — and should.

  The visuals and textures range from gorgeous to ugly. Environments are impeccably detailed and always offer something cool to look at. The parts where Dante must unchain a giant statue are particularly impressive. However, some of the character models could use a lot of work. Mundus and his mistress in particular look just awful. They look like they got worked over by a plastic surgeon pretty badly and it hinders immersion in the game to a degree, and Vergil has seen better days.

  Gaudy, rocking and addictive as it can be, “DmC: Devil May Cry” is very much a love-it-or-hate-it experience. Fans should proceed with caution and everyone else should prepare themselves accordingly. If you can get past some of the raw, tasteless humor and ultra-violence, it’s a good romp to get lost in. 

 

– Sam McConkie is a senior in the technical and professional writing program at USU. He is a keen writer and has been a dedicated gamer for years. Sam can be reached at sambonemcconkie@gmail.com

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