Dante was quite possibly the coolest guy ever on the PlayStation 2. He was brash, headstrong and a bit arrogant at times, but he was always just a cool guy. By the time Devil May Cry 3 came on the scene, Dante was all about being cool and having fun during combat. When he came over the Xbox 360 and PS3 in Devil May Cry 4, the guy was just a beast of a character. He was stronger, faster, but still maintained his coolness from his previous adventures. He was probably even cooler. However now that series is gone; that Dante is laid to rest. Now we are given Ninja Theory’s reboot of the Devil May Cry series. This Dante is a whole new character. He’s not overly confident in his abilities. He’s panicky at times and he’s more apathetic than just downright a cool guy. It’s a new spin on the character, but after spending time with this new Dante, it does make me miss Dante classic.
Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry seems to step away from the fantastic and spectacle and seems to be more of a commentary on society. There are still demons to fight and powers to obtain, but you get the sense Ninja Theory is telling us that we are sheep in today’s society and that corporations are making us slaves by keeping us compliant and docile. The person in control of it all: the demon Mundus. And the hope for freedom relies on Dante the Nephilim; a half breed born of an angel mother and the demon Sparda. This is perhaps one of the most personal tales a Devil May Cry game has ever told. It’s a tale of discovery of one’s own place in the world wrapped around a quest for vengeance. With the new Dante, it does fit in with the new narrative that we are given. Dante doesn’t really know what he is. He at least knows he is different, but it seems because of it, he is pretty much just a loner. He doesn’t really care about anything until he is given purpose by his brother Vergil and the organization he has established in an effort to take down Mundus.
If a Devil May Cry title is going to have any appeal, it is going to be the combat that has to carry it and DmC does that exceptionally well. Pulling off insane combos is no longer just for the incredibly hardcore anymore. One big help in this department is that Dante now carries every weapon on him at all times and can be easily equipped with a simples press or hold of buttons. It becomes rather easy to pull off some good looking combos this time around and variations needed to increase style ratings faster, but it seems Ninja Theory puts a lot more emphasis on air juggles to make your rating skyrocket. The move list as well as the equipment in Dante’s arsenal favors a lot of aerial moves this time around from previous titles. With this new importance of aerial maneuvers, the most devoted combo learners will barely set foot on the ground. The combat is quite fast paced, way more so than any other Devil May Cry title. In previous games, combat was pretty fast, but Dante seemed to have more weight to him and half of the battle was sometimes just getting Dante over to his opponents. This new Dante feels quite lighter on his feet and quite faster than the white-haired original. It is quite a relief too as bosses are a bit more forgiving, but the combat is not perfect by a long shot.
Along with the aerial prominence in DmC comes perhaps his most iconic move; the Devil Trigger. However this time around, the Devil Trigger is a mere shadow as compared to its original incantation. This time around, once the mode is activated ever opponent is immediately suspended in mid air and Dante can effortlessly chain together aerial combos without the threat of them falling back down until Devil Trigger ends. This may seem fun, but it quite the let down for those anxiously waiting to achieve the coveted move. Instead of moving at hyper speed on the ground and then launching demons in the air, you now just have to use one of your whip items to pull yourself to the suspended target and then begin your attack. Also, ground maneuvers are completely out of the equation this time around. Devil Trigger this time is no fun to use and frankly I pretty much avoided using it unless I wanted to take down some of the harder hitting demons or just wanted to get some health back. Devil Trigger is one of the greatest moves Dante gets, however this time around it comes off feeling boring and unfulfilling.
Perhaps the weirdest inclusion this new Devil May Cry has with it is a lot more platforming. Dante is now granted whips that alter the environment he is in and can pull himself to cliffs and can make impossible jumps. These instances really take you out of the fun combat moments you will play through and feel quite out of place. Also, DmC still gives ratings for your gameplay like in previous titles and beating a level as quick as you can is still a key factor in getting good scores. With this new title, I felt the need to explore around areas to see every inch of the level and while I did find a few secrets here and there, taking all time to look for them did quite the detriment to my time score for a level. Also when you get to levels that are completely all about platforming it becomes quite the bore to get through.
However, if you aren’t in a hurry to complete missions, do take notice of the stunning visuals that DmC has to offers. All of the crazy fights and platforming take place in Limbo, an alternate dimension inhabited by demons and it looks quite spectacular and stands out in the game. When in the real world, things look bland and plain. Colors are quite dull to show off the boring and complacent lives humans lead, but in Limbo, colors are vibrant and heavily saturated. “KILL DANTE!” appears quite frequently to command hordes of demons to your destruction and floors even break apart and move away from you to try to impede your progression. Ninja Theory did a great job to make Limbo seem like a living breathing entity.
Dante is indeed back in the video game world, but it is a world that no longer looks or completely plays like a Devil May Cry. Combat is still fun, fast and going for insane combos is still a thing in it. Also this time around the game is quite forgiving. Checkpoints are giving throughout levels and enemies are way more forgiving than other Devil May Cry titles. But with greater emphasis on platforming and Dante’s quintessential power now what it is, it really does beg the question: “Will we ever see the original Dante again?”