Have You Played… DmC: Devil May Cry?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

It’s a mark of how much I enjoyed ridiculously named reboot DmC: Devil May Cry that I’m absolutely gutted because there’s no sign of a sequel. It was the daftest game I played in 2013 and one of the deftest as well. Having alienated many fans of the series before release, by featuring a different brand of posturing pretty man than they were used to, Ninja Theory’s gloriously over the top romp seemed doomed to fail, but it’s a beautifully barmy concoction.

Here’s wot I said about Nu Dante and the game at the time:

You will destroy a soft drink company and an alternate world Fox News. You will see bankers bashing their heads against walls and crawling on ceilings, having literally lost their souls to the almighty dollar.

Occasionally something throws a building at [Dante] in a cutscene and he sidesteps, barks out a ‘fuck you’ and looks pleased with himself, not a hair out of place, but when he’s punching The Media in the face while running through data streams and television broadcasts, the player is largely in control. And, yes, all of that happens.

There’s even a bit where Dante beats up dubstep. Sort of. It’s tenuous, I’ll grant, but he’s basically at war with a nightclub and the music isn’t on his side.

The cocksure swagger works because DmC earns it. Combat isn’t as complex as those trained on Bayonetta might desire but there’s a pleasing fluidity to the action, and the environmental design is top notch. There are scenes of staggering beauty alongside nightmarishly inventive hellscapes, but almost everything is delivered with a grin. Dante makes saving the world seem effortless and the game has enough grace and charm to make the monumental task of constructing it seem as if it must have been a breeze as well.

44 Comments

  1. Aysir says:

    It’ll be a real shame if NT isn’t allowed to continue with this. The story, while not subtle in its satire, was told well and far more coherently than the previous four Devil May Cry games. Hopefully Hellblade retains the same level of action…and comes to PC.

    • welverin says:

      Maybe the definitive edition will sell well enough to help justify it. Regardless, I’ll be looking forward to what ever Ninja Theory does going forward.

    • zentropy says:

      Ah, a fellow connoisseur! I too play Devil May Cry for the deep and fullfilling story. If only not for the distracting combat bits, I think the series would be much better off overall.

  2. Caelyn Ellis says:

    These recommendations are doing a really good job of reminding me to put things on my Steam wishlist.

  3. Phantom_Renegade says:

    Character design was shit, but everything else was amazing. Played the entire game with the DMC3 skin and had a fantastic time. Even went back to get all the collectables and tried higher difficulties, which I rarely, if ever, do. The combat just worked and was fun in a way I’ve rarely seen.

  4. Zallgrin says:

    It was one of those rare times when I did not buy an AAA title at launch (due to wariness) and later came to regret it. The candy coloured environments, the ripping soundtrack and the general over-the-top obscenity and hammy fun really got me. Feels as if DmC was tailored just for me.

    (will be crying if no sequel happens =/ )

  5. Wowbagger says:

    I knew I was going to enjoy the reboot when it let me smack the spinning blade back at the first boss and pretty much one hit kill it. I still prefer dmc/dmc3 if I’m honest though – the grappling hook red/blue weapons dynamic didn’t grip me as much as I’d hoped.

  6. Aysir says:

    By coincidence a definitive edition was just announced for PS4. I really hope PC gets the updates on textures and game modes somehow :( even if it’s like Deux Ex Definitive with a cheap upgrade for anyone already with it.

  7. Matt_W says:

    I picked this up from PS+ when it was free, but have yet to play it. Sounds like it’s more than worth what I paid for it:)

  8. DanMan says:

    Any way you slice it, it’s actually a good game. Period.

  9. Monggerel says:

    Yeah. After DMC 3 and 4 the combat was so outrageously sloppy (and then they introduce enemies you need to hit with a certain color weapon? what in the god fuck?) and the story so laughably po-faced that I didn’t end up finishing it (I think I quit after a fight with some ugly-ass energy drink monster or something). The silly voice going “SAVAG” and “ETC” was also irritating. Don’t care much for platforming so that didn’t help either. I did enjoy the fracturing and rebuilding city environments thing.

    Then I played REVENGEANCE and the grave of Devil May Cry was shattered to splinters by lightning (pun).

    • Geebs says:

      The colour switching was the thing that killed my interest too; which was a shame as up to that point the fighting gameplay was at least better than anything else Ninja Theory ever did.

      Dante’s oh-so-Carnaby-street style was pretty embarrassing too, brought me back to the shameful days of Cool Britannia *ptooie*.

      • welverin says:

        Color coded enemies are one of the changes for the Definitive Edition, i.e. they can be damaged by any weapon. If there’s an upgrade to the PC version you’ll have a reason to give it another try.

  10. Pich says:

    I played DMC4 and Revengeance so i think i’m good.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      You have only played the 3rd best Devil May Cry then.

      • zentropy says:

        :)

      • Keasar says:

        Personally its a shared first between DMC3 and DMC4. DMC3 was best overall but DMC4 had the absolutely most refined combat (but extremely sloppy level design with a backtracking second half of the game).

  11. Orija says:

    Oh, come on, it was utter shit. The plot, the atmosphere, the graphics, the characters and, most importantly, the gameplay were all below par.

  12. terves says:

    It’s a god of war clone that ranges from painfully mediocre to decent-ish with a embarrassing plot that tries so god damned hard to be all mature and edgy (Sniper rifle abortion? Donte’s female sidekick raped by her demonically possessed dad? In a fucking devil may cry game!?). It was worth a whirl when it was free on PS+, wouldn’t see myself ever recommending anyone to spend any money on it.

  13. Synesthesia says:

    It was a good fun dmc, but a bit too easy wasn’t it? I remember breezing through it with good scores, without even trying to learn the ins and outs of the combat mechanics.

  14. DrGonzo says:

    I thought it was the best of the DMC series, and even preferred it to Revengeance and Bayonetta! What can I say? But everyone gives it a hard time and I’m not sure why.

    • Philomelle says:

      Probably because absolutely everything done by DmC was already done much better by someone else. In some cases by Ninja Theory themselves, in some cases by people they stole from. I admit I chortled a bit when they realized they didn’t even change colors for grappling nodes used by whatever they renamed the Abyssal Chain from Darksiders into, but then I sighed in disappointment when they also ganked the Nephilim origin story from Darksiders 2 without making it work quite so gracefully.

      There are simply no reasons why I would recommend it over the DMC and God of War HD collections on PS3, or Darksiders and Darksiders 2, or Metal Gear Rising, or the original Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. They are all much better games with more engaging and intricate combat, better puzzles and platforming, and far better writing.

      It’s not that it’s a bad game; I beat it and had decent amounts of fun up everywhere except the DLC. It’s just that it stubbornly second place at everything it does.

      • welverin says:

        O.K. I have to disagree strongly that Lords of Shadow is better, while a solid GoW wannabe, it’s hardly special in any way and DMD is definitely the superior game. Emphasis on the game part.

        • Philomelle says:

          DmC may be a superior toy, but it is definitely not a superior game. To be a superior game, it would need to create an environment in which a player would be capable of failing a couple times – something that doesn’t happen in it because Dante is so loaded up with staggers, dashes and cancels that it’s impossible to survive coming near him unless the player stops pushing buttons. It’s a game that turns what is usually handled as precious resources within its genre into common things that the player has no choice but to use, reducing every instance of combat into a bullying session.

          Its only genuinely better part is the platforming, but platforming isn’t why anyone plays this particular genre.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            Actually can we please just remove the platforming from these games altogether?
            If I want to have to precisely time and aim a series of jumps I will play a game that has movement, controls and a camera that have all been set up with that specifically in mind.

    • welverin says:

      It gets ragged on for two/three reasons.
      1) Dante looks different
      2) It wasn’t developed by Capcom
      3ish) It was developed by a western developer and not a Japanese one (and extension of two really).

      T His is where the hate stems from, all of that started when the game was first released and continued on until the present. The hardcore fans will pretend it’s because of the gameplay now, but they started hating it long before it was released and never let up.

      • Emeraude says:

        Or maybe, you know, it’s yet another example of a game being “re-imagined” i.e being reformatted as something that is meant to appeal to people that weren’t fans of it while disregarding a good chunk of what once was its core audience.

        Obviously *will* create resentment.

        • zentropy says:

          @ Emeraude: That’s at least twice this morning I’ve read a clever post from you. Here – have a cookie. :)

        • Philomelle says:

          Better yet, Capcom actually bragged at a presentation that they specifically instructed Ninja Theory to change the art direction until it would “piss off” the fans of the original franchise.

          Bonus fact: I actually ended up explaining to a lot of my friends who love DMC why the reboot does retain the spirit of the original DMC in a lot of ways, particularly Dante’s personality. Most of the old fans didn’t touch the game at all because Capcom was so loud about how much they don’t want the old audience to play it.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          It certainly will. It’s understandable for long-running fans to be upset.
          But you and I both know how ‘fans’ actually responded. They responded how fans always respond when anything changes, and I’m just not down with that as a reason to not change things. I love when old ideas go in new directions. Some people won’t, those people can play different games – they can play the previous games, come on, they’re still there.

      • Keasar says:

        I complained on the game because I felt the combat was not as satisfying, way too easy and pandering. Constantly handing out S, SS and SSS ranks like nothing because I slipped and fell on a enemy. My first play through of the game was riddled with S and SS ranks in each mission. That has never happened before in any Devil May Cry game and I felt cheated.

        I couldn’t have cared any less how Dante looked, I played Nero “KYRIEEEEAAAAAA” Grab-Arms in DMC4 and had fun because he was fun to play. Reason I didn’t like this new Dante was that he was a try-hard-cool ass. Old Dante was fun in a hammy way and I preferred that.

        Maybe this DmC:DMC:DE thing fixes most of my complaints, but I am personally more psyched for DMC4:SE with the return of true awesome Vergil.

  15. kael13 says:

    Game was awesome. Music was awesome. The pacing was pretty good, too. I had a lot of fun with this one.

  16. sventoby says:

    Ninja Gaiden Black is still the gold standard. It’s a shame that we won’t be getting a real sequel in that series.

    • tnzk says:

      I forgot Ninja Gaiden 3 existed.

      • sventoby says:

        The Razor’s Edge rerelease is good right, although I never beat it. I’ve never played a game with a more frustrating final boss

  17. derbefrier says:

    None of these have lived up to the orginal ps2 Devil May Cry. Was watching me nephew play it the other day and it made me remember why the original is still one of my favorite action games of all time. None of the sequals have ever lived up to it though. I got so good at the first game even on high difficulties the others seem like walks in the park and without that challenge it lost a lot of it draw for me.

    • zentropy says:

      I have fonder memories of playing through DMC1, but in the end I think DMC3 is at least somewhere in the top 3 games I’ve replayed the most times in my life. :P

  18. Pundabaya says:

    I really enjoyed DmC. The soundtrack was bloody amazing (to the point that I bought it… I never buy game soundtracks) and I enjoyed the fighting. I loved the whole ‘entire city is out to get you’ premise. Who cares that it wasn’t ‘proper Dante’.

    Bayonetta was better, but DmC is a great game.

  19. bill says:

    I have never played this or any of the other DMC games, but I find something hugely appealing about the idea of a Japanese game that is a satire on the media. My impression was that japanese games didn’t do satire and that japan doesn’t question the media at all, so I was rather surprised.

    Then I discovered it was by a British developer and it made more sense, but was a little disappointing. I wonder how it went down with Japanese gamers. (not for being western developed or changing Dante, but for questioning the media).

    Are there any other mainstream Japanese games that do anything similar?

    • Philomelle says:

      If you want a Japanese game that is a satire on modern media and politics, try Metal Gear Rising. Same genre, much better game, much smarter with its commentary.

  20. vash47 says:

    I do not recommend this game. I didn’t even play the previous DMC’s save for a few minutes.

    The story is not interesting at all, the characters are not terrible like they might seem (especially Dante) but, again, not remarkable. The gameplay is fluid and it’s fun performing combos BUT the game is too easy; no challenge at all, the level design sucks, sure it’s pretty but not functional. the color coded enemies make the game even easier. The boss battles are a disgrace.

  21. HisDivineOrder says:

    I’ve always hoped NT would get to make a sequel to this game. I think it has more visual style than the original Devil May Cry games, but was somewhat undone by the Capcom-designed parts (ie., the combat) that were dumbed down from the original Devil May Cry games.

    This was a direct result of the Devil May Cry series being known originally as a “difficult” game series and the sales were limited by this fact. They hoped to broaden the audience in a similar way to the efforts behind various other Capcom games way back when during their “Let’s have Western Developers make some of our franchises” phase. They went back to Capcom-centric releases, came out with Resident Evil 6 to a resounding thunk, and are now back to working with Western developers again.

    Hence, the Definitive Edition on next gen. Hopefully, those combat fixes make their way to the PC version.

  22. gbrading says:

    Isn’t the PC version for it really good as well, running at like 200fps or something crazy like that? I swear I read that.