The most fashionably dressed demon slayer in video game history gets a grunge makeover, the better to dispatch evil in the third person adventure DmC: Devil May Cry (Capcom and Ninja Theory, Rated M for Mature, $59.99).
In DmC, the creative team reimagines its franchise star, the mighty Dante, by transforming him into a Nephilim, the offspring of a demon and angel. In the process, they deliver an urban doppelgänger who can dish out as much sophomoric profanity and death as any player can imbue him with.
Trapped in Limbo City, a locale secretly controlled by demons that Dante can see shifting between earthly and the nether realms, our newly revised hero eventually chooses to fight for the liberation of a humanity that’s been brainwashed by its evil overseers.
What remains from the old Dante legend are his pair of unique dueling pistols (Ebony and Ivory); his penchant for bladed weapons (reference his sword Rebellion, not to mention the Arbiter axe or Osiris scythe); his classic, cocky attitude; and a frenetic mix of overtly violent but stylish hack and slash combat tactics continuously deployed against hordes of disgusting, marauding creatures.
So what do I mean by stylish?
Let me count the ways: Delivering massive strikes while in mid air by spinning his scythe like a shredder; or jumping off an opponent after skewering him with blades and diving back down into the action with guns blazing; or hitting the ground with his massive axe, which causes every enemy within its Richter-scale wake to be hurled into the air, flailing like a little kid coming off a moon bounce gone terribly wrong. At all times, New Dante is primed for slaughter at its most violent, elegant, and picturesque.
Hardcore gamers looking for a stress relief from their every day problems can take out their frustrations by plowing through 20 missions, heavy with button mashing and a loaded with a liberal supply of chained combination attacks fueled by a pounding, adrenalin-pumping, mega-metallic musical score.
Fans will thrill over and over again to the heady rush of splitting flaming skeletons in half, crushing skulls of obese brutes defensively armed with demonic gauntlets, and picking off flying demon babies with fusillades of pre-Cuomo era bullets.
Also, as in previous titles, Dante collects multicolored orbs from either the fallen or from released souls stuck helplessly in limbo in order to restore health, upgrade weapons, or purchase new ones.
Dante’s combined angel and demon DNA proves a huge plus for the player, who must now navigate parallel worlds punctuated by collapsing walls, stubborn doors, cracking pavements and open air dominions that will quickly suck the hero into oblivion.
Dante can whip at objects to pull them closer (demon power), or use a whip to swing to platforms (angel power) like a Tarzan of the future. He can fly short distances with an angel boost or propel surrounding enemies into the ether with a sudden demon attack.
All of the surrounding chaos of this game is set in vividly realized locales, often highlighted by walls streaked by the devils with large stenciled graffiti taunting Dante; oozing, treacherous, surreal environments; and undulating, grotesque oddities ready to pounce without warning.
Despite its beauty and ferocious game play, I always felt a disconnect between rounds of unending combat and story while playing. Simply slaughtering to attain a grade and move on to the next cut scene got a bit monotonous at times. But, admittedly, curiosity kept killing this cat.
Still, Ninja Theory has a done a solid job of refreshing a gaming franchise with DmC: Devil May Cry. It gives the mature player a reason to revisit Dante’s excessively brutal exploits while honoring the franchise’s dynamic traditions.
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