DmC: Devil May Cry Demo First Impressions

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.

Gameplay

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.

Aesthetic

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.

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20 comments
umar bastra
umar bastra

in my personal opinion, as someone who has loathed this game from day one, the combat was actually pretty solid and fun. but i just have this iffy feeling that the combat is going get stale. the reason being, no lock-on which eliminates directional combos. so all that we're left with is a combination of 'timed' button presses. and seeing as how demon form will always be heavy hitting and angel more 'light' attack, different weapons wont do that much to give variety to the input commands, and it gave me similiar feelings when i played heavenly sword. there is too much reliance and focus on pulling, as thats the games way of getting a focus on an enemy, so it felt a bit loose as you end up pulling on a random enemy just to get a focus, especially when dodging and running around an enemy. the art direction is utterly amazing, i love it! but characters and story .. seems clichéd and cheesy. borrows way too much from other sources. how do i feel after playing the demo? .... excited ... for metal gear rising. this game hardly did anything to me.

oblivious247
oblivious247

I'm not sure how the title is its most damaging feature....

Colin Hylton
Colin Hylton

As soon as you made that stupid comment and Dante being an insert of Tameem you immediately lost all credibility. If you did any research whatsoever you would know that Dante's looks come from his voice actor Tim Phillips, Dante looks nothing like Tameem.

Wheresmymonkey
Wheresmymonkey

interesting that you mentioned the story being cliched. Have you played the other games in the series. cheesy nonsense is the corner stone of the whole series and the whole series borrows heavily from other sources. Just ones which are less known in the west as they are in japan. This'll have a decent story and good characterisation. Thats Ninja theory's bread and butter. thats what they do best. If its anything like enslaved the whole history of limbo and the emons and dantes family would of been meticulously detailed.

Max Kelly
Max Kelly

DmC gets most of its flak from fans of the series because it's so far removed from the original games. The characters aren't the same, the story isn't the same, it looks nothing like the old Devil May Cry games. If it had a different title and all the characters were named something else- which would be pretty viable really- then no one would care as vehemently as they do about it now. It'd just be an alright hack'n'slash, not worth having wave upon wave of people decrying it.

Chris Langner
Chris Langner

I remember when Tameem was promoting the game early into it's announcement. He pretty much looked exactly like the new Dante. I don't know if he was aping the new look or if he wanted the new Dante to look like him or if it was a little of both. Either way, Max was definitely not the only person to notice this.

Chronos Roderick Aión
Chronos Roderick Aión

nop,actually what he said is true compare the images of Tameem ,look the pictures in the web

Max Kelly
Max Kelly

Yeah you're right, Dante and Tameem have nothing in common. Except the hair, the clothes and "edgy" world view. Tim Philips and Dante have the same face (well, they do now) so that discredits everything else. And honestly, because I made one comment that you deem inaccurate, that discredits everything else? Oh dear.

Max Kelly
Max Kelly

Except it isn't Ninja Theory's bread and butter at all. Ninja Theory have had support writers for both Enslaved and Heavenly Sword. Alex Garland, the head writer for Enslaved who was brought in for the job even slammed Ninja Theory's characterisation, saying their concept for Monkey was terrible. Yeah DMC's writing was never good but it was never meant to be taken seriously. It was always pushed to the back to emphasise on other elements, like gameplay, art style and music. DmC has a much heavier emphasis on writing and takes itself far more seriously. It's not cheesy, it's just uninspired and it's a much bigger problem when Ninja Theory go waving it around in people's faces like it's the writing epitome of the century for video games.

umar bastra
umar bastra

uhmm ... my opinion is based solely on this game, not in comparison to older titles. hailed as DMC's saviour and this great story teller, Tameem, i expected much more of the story. it looks decent that's for sure. but its not even a cut above most games. NT made this huge deal about the story, some things doesn't even make sense. all demons in the game are depicted as evil and menacing, yet they care enough to have orphanages? Virgil is now a millionaire programmer? NT is not that great at story telling. true story telling lies not in what is visible, but what runs deeper but NT, forcefully and explicitly tells its stories. but they are extremely imaginative with their environments.

Wheresmymonkey
Wheresmymonkey

But at the same time it isn't. They reworked the back story and its still pretty similar to the orignals and removed all the confusing and annoying mother worship. After playing the deo i'm even more convinced that old dante despite his looks is more of an emo kid than new dante.

Wheresmymonkey
Wheresmymonkey

They really don't mate. If anything new dante is a cross between Sid vicious and James Dean with his face modeled on his voice actor. Which is something Ninja thoeory do quite a lot.. True it doesn't discredit the rest of what you said, but it doesnt add anything to the piece.

Max Kelly
Max Kelly

Except that's essentially what Rhianna Pratchett did for Heavenly Sword. She was given a framework for a script, and had to work alongside Tameem and Andy Serkis to flesh it out. Before her introduction , there was not a lot there and what was there ended up getting re-written for the most part. She also worked primarily on dialogue and script, with another writer being brought in to assist her. As with Alex Garland, he didn't even have to worry about framework because it was just Odyssey to the West with a slightly different setting. Character development and script were all he had to worry about and although he worked alongside Ninja Theory on this, he had to steer them clear of poor characterisation. The initial concept for Monkey was something Garland labels "a bit of a cunt". Saying Ninja Theory are great writers, saying that the lead writers who are far more skilled and had to effectively hand-hold Ninja Theory through the writing process were not that big a deal, is like saying cycling the Tour De France on stabilisers makes you an excellent cyclist.

Wheresmymonkey
Wheresmymonkey

Do you know anything about games writing. It takes more than one person to do it. Its a monummental task. They might have been lead but we're talking documents that usually run 10,000 pages plus. They might have been lead writer, but discounting the talents of everyone else that worked on the game is just sad. Making games, movies whatever is a collaborative process. Writing for media is not like writing a book. You don't just lock yourself in a room for a couple of years and produce a manuscript.

Max Kelly
Max Kelly

Did you even read what I said? Ninja Theory, did not, write those games. Enslaved and Heavenly Sword were written primarily by Alex Garland and Rhianna Pratchett respectively. Ninja Theory had little to no involvement in the actual writing of those games. Writing is not their strong suit, it has been someone else who actually has experience with writing, supervising and doing most of the work.

Wheresmymonkey
Wheresmymonkey

Have you actually played Heavenly sword or Enslaved. By the end of the game you care about the characters, you feel for them. You want them to succeed.The narrative in a NT game is more than just window dressing. Thats why i like them so much. they promote gaming as a liegitimate narrative form. As far as Devil May Cry goes there's only so much you can do with the source material. .

umar bastra
umar bastra

even the new dante is just as angsty, his whole persona is angsty. Even Tameem himself said his angry and angsty. still , both the new and old dante are nowhere near emo. i have played the older games to death. and the brooding that dante goes through has a believable premise but it doesn't classify him as emo. are all video game characters supposed to be these cold blooded machines? a haunting past at least gives them some life.

Wheresmymonkey
Wheresmymonkey

Yeah it wasn't his looks it was his behaviour. No need to be perantic. The best comaprison to draw between the two is the Dante of DMC3 and the new one. they're approximately the same age. The emo kid thing is something that he new one has been called a lot by nagry fans. Ithink its unjustifed as he seems less hung up on his past than old dante was. Replay the old games and you'll see what an angsty mess he is at times.

umar bastra
umar bastra

well thats an inaccurate and unfair conclusion . firstly dante is an adult (excluding 3) so he cant be classified as an emo 'kid'. secondly, even in dmc 3 as a teenager, rocking out to some metal rock and surfing demons all the while enjoying himself hardly classify as emo behaviour. and thirdly. neither old or new dante is emo.. yes they brood, but they both exhibit feisty upbeat personalities in contrast, which again is un-emo like. just because he has emo-esque looks doesn't make him emo

Max Kelly
Max Kelly

Tim Phillips is the voice actor. That's why I said they have similar facial features (I said same but that was at first glance). And the point I was trying to make is that the face doesn't matter when you look at him on the whole. Fair enough comment but it's bloody childish to act like one sentence disproves everything I've said.