Okay so before I write this article I just want to make a few things clear. This is not a definitive review, it is not a final verdict on the title. From only playing the demo of the game, I can only comment on so much and I’m sure the full game contains more than enough to sway what I’m about to say, one way or another. I’m going to give it a fair shake and try not to get too absorbed in all of the “teh haterz” limp-wristed insults getting thrown around. So, here we go.
Okay so the one advantage about being able to play something from the game, finally, is that a definitive comment about gameplay can be given and here it is: It’s okay. It’s not great, certainly not in comparison to previous Devil May Cry titles or Bayonetta to which it pales significantly but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t enjoyable. The combat has a steady pacing to it and chaining attacks together is done pretty neatly. It certainly has greater substance than previous Ninja Theory game combat like Heavenly Sword or Enslaved. Indeed, for a hack’n’slash it has a respectable flow to it.
That being said, it’s certainly not without issues. The biggest one in particular being a removal of dedicated lock-on. The auto-lock is alright but really it’s no substitute at all, especially for a game that brags emphasis on aerial combat. In this case, a lock-on is outright necessary and it adds to the depth of the game to include it. Not to mention the fact that the auto-lock is pretty damn unreliable at times. This is shown at its worst when grappling enemies because if you’re not careful, you could find yourself pulling more than you bargained for or throwing yourself at a different enemy mid-chain. There’s also the fact that combo scoring is pretty easy on normal difficulty seeing as it can only be reduced by waiting around for a unnecessarily long time or if you get hit, which won’t happen because most enemies in the demo are slow to attack. The difficulty spike from medium to hard is also kind of crazy. It’s not that hard is to hard, medium is too easy. The most notable difference being parrying, in medium your window for parrying is HUGE.
There’s also platforming elements which are pretty well designed. Basic but it certainly works well.
This is certainly a strong point for the game. The area designs are pretty darn great and the enemies themselves aren’t bad looking. They lose a bit of the mysticism from the previous games when these enemies are kitted out with guns and chainsaws but whatever, I can roll with it- at least with what I got in the demo. They were still demonic-looking so I’m hardly abject to minor changes. The morphing levels are particularly fantastic, what with the great animations and just the fluidity of the reformations. It all comes together to make something pretty gorgeous. That being said, when the levels are trying to crush you by morphing and squeezing together, there isn’t a great deal of threat to it. The game offers you angel-lift hooks but I never noticed them and by the time I did, I was practically underneath them. Looks great though!
As for character design? Well okay, look, yes, Dante is a clear self-insert of Tameem Antoniades but on the whole, it’s not particularly bad. I honestly prefer the old character designs but these don’t bug me so much. I can see why it would though, what with Vergil effectively being a fedora-touting member of anonymous. It’s not that bad on the whole though and Ninja Theory have done a fair enough job of making everything mesh.
So, overall I think the demo has given some much needed insight into the whole thing. I’ve purposefully left out writing and soundtrack because there was very little of both on offer within the demo. From what I’ve seen already outside of the demo I’m not exactly impressed with either but, you know, time and a place and all that. Do I think the whole game will be that good? I think it’ll be okay. It’s most damaging feature, above all things, is the title. Compared to the rest of the series it’s a weak omission and really, it bares no proper ties to it so why bother calling it Devil May Cry anymore? I don’t know, in order to make a full and final verdict, I would most definitely need to play the game all the way through but I honestly don’t see it getting much better. Hopefully we can get a full review when the game is released next year.