DmC: Devil May Cry has gotten a lot of flak from fans for attempting to reboot the franchise with a new developer, and a new Dante. Yes, he's younger and has black hair. But having played the new DmC, it's hard to think of it as a reboot. It plays so much like the previous games that it might as well have been called Devil May Cry 5.
For example, you can slash into an enemy, starting a simple combo. Then, you can launch him into the air, pull yourself up and start slashing midair. As you slowly plummet, you can then start shooting at another enemy on the ground, and then swing your swords down as you crash atop the monster. All the while, a combo meter fills up on the top right of the screen. As you vary your moves without taking a hit, it moves from a Dull to Awesome. Doesn't that sound exactly like a Devil May Cry game to you?
As you continue hitting enemies, you'll even be able to unleash Devil Trigger mode. In this mode, the world goes inky black and white, and you'll be able to dish out a lot more damage. Did I mention that your hair is white in this mode--for those of you that choose to remain fixated on that change.
I really like the feel of DmC's combat. Yes, in spite of coming from Ninja Theory, and in spite of it running on Unreal Engine, it feels responsive and fluid. What I appreciate the most about DmC's combat is how it feels like a blend of Dante's and Nero's fighting styles. While you don't have a demon arm, you can still pull enemies. Interestingly, you can choose to pull enemies towards you or pull yourself up to enemies. It's a subtle choice, but it allows for some interesting midair battles.
Dante also has access to light and dark magic, with the shoulder buttons controlling which set of attacks you use. By holding down the left trigger while pressing the face buttons, you'll use light moves; dark moves by holding the other trigger. The attacks have different effects, but it'll be interesting to see if later enemies will require specific kinds of attacks.
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Not only does combat feel good, but I'm quite fond of the new things Ninja Theory is bringing to the table. I love the idea of a city trying to kill the hero, bending and twisting itself to get at Dante. It's incredibly stylish, which is precisely what Devil May Cry is all about. It also opens up some interesting platforming sequences. Moving around the environment while dashing forward, swinging across gaps, has never been quite this fun in previous games.
I also love the crass dialogue. In one boss encounter, I fondly remember the rather crude banter between Dante and the boss. "Fuck you, you fucking fuck," he says in response to a demon. I love the camp; it's so bad, it's good.
With a fun, fluid combat system, and some genuinely cool new additions on Ninja Theory's part, it seems foolish for fans to write DmC off due to the color of Dante's hair. Even if you think he looks "emo," playing the game reveals that he's the same combo-loving kid we've known for years.
Watch the Shacknews E3 2012 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. This preview is based on a hands-on demo shown at a pre-E3 event.