DmC (Devil May Cry) PC Review – Goddamn Beautiful
Capcom decided to give Dante a new look in the Devil May Cry reboot, called simply DmC, for both the protagonist’s appearance as well as the overall scope of the game. This change in focus works out for the best, as the origin story feels more human, more rooted and because of that also more engaging than the majority of mindless hacking and slashing ventures.
For starters, developer Ninja Theory has pumped all their technical intellect into making the world of DmC a modern masterpiece of exquisite textures, high in detail. Locales switch from grizzly cityscapes to more grotesque structures and stages, from decrepit mansions to decadent night clubs. Hellish strings and oozing puddles surround these worlds as they descend into corrupted darkness. Environments feel vivid, pulsing at their core while Dante runs through them. However, not all effects are equally appealing. In particular, color tones often blur into each other with low contrast and high saturation, which is predominantly present with reddish sections. This can make it tough to observe the full picture, though it is manageable. An equally adept design is kept for the stellar cutscenes that populate large sections in between missions to an almost tangible realistic degree.
Realism is also employed to grip players into the backstory of Dante and his kin, to the extent that is possible for a demonic universe. Together with his lovable cockiness that throws in inappropriate comments here and there, bright spots of frail humanity seep into this plot. There are even sporadic motion comics that paint scenes in a classic way to illustrate historic moments. Our hero has yet to become fully fledged in demon hunting and shows more of his connection to humans and other characters because of it, which makes him more sensitive and relatable. Through the 10 or so hours of gameplay, there are plenty of highs and lows on the emotional spectrum to enjoy.
At some point, we’ll need to start slashing up the fiends from hell and once more this will be quite an entertaining treat. Combat employs the perfect mix of simplicity and diversity. With just a few attack buttons, players can bust out dozens of combos from highly responsive controls. Performing these dances of death also rewards clever thinking over button bashing, both with slight pauses in attack commands as with differing enemies that require their own approach, like shielded or airborne demons.
Variety is further explored when additional weapons are appended to the arsenal, such as demonic axes or angelic throwing stars, which are represented in red and blue respectively to show off their traits. Several enemies will be thrown in the mix that require a specific weapon to be used to hurt them. Not adhering to this system can quickly land Dante into trouble. It’s advisable to stay clear of getting hit as successful combos count towards a multiplier while getting hit takes away large chunks of it at once. Multipliers are tallied by the end score of the mission, which will be helpful for both leaderboard bragging rights as the more immediately helpful upgrades for abilities and weapon traits. Adding new combos to weapons unlocks further possibilities to branch out combat skills once more. That alone will whisk players away for the full ride, as they caper through their next destination one after another.
The reboot has one more trick up its sleeve with platform sections woven through its locales. In particular, it reiterates its excellent style design by crumpling up environments, which twists them into sharper, unwelcoming shapes whilst Dante tries to pass. Stages distort heavily and stretch out space into dazzling, claustrophobic sections that add a new dimension to simply jumping over obstacles. Each jump has a dash of uncertainty as the space alongside it warps out to create a larger gap between Dante and his goal. Again, DmC further builds out this section with the special weaponry, which can grapple things of its respective color to either pull them towards you or take the player towards them. This is also used to circumvent cinematic sequences that would otherwise require archaic quick time events, which keeps an eye on the action. There is a slight drawback when sections don’t point to their objective or timed sequences aren’t immediately clear. However, it never reaches a barrier state that would prevent players from finding the solution. More times than others, simply looking around the area for a colored prompt is the reason for any hindrance in advancement.
Picking up on this simplicity, DmC does have quite a bit of leniency designed in its core. As mentioned, scores are tallied at the end that provide ways to enhance the experience, but even several deaths or a large failure to collect one of the many secrets inside a mission don’t deter from the result much. Deaths are forgiving and even with a few retries, it’s still possible to attain the highest score by simply being fast or fighting well. It’s not quite the same as a traditional “ease” as there is still plenty of challenge from fights, but it does eat away at the sense of accomplishment from performing well. Luckily, purists can later try their hands at some sadistic difficulty levels, but the general ambience of DmC does stay generous in what it allows in order for players to succeed. It’s a minor flaw, given the capturing gameplay and story within, but it’s a fair warning to anyone that wants to be confronted. Start at the highest difficulty possible and sway your expectations, because the journey is more important than the destination here.
Specifically for the PC version, there isn’t much difference, except for a clear visual superiority that is in a league of its own, compared to consoles. It might not work on more modest rigs, but even moderate setups should be able to enjoy a gorgeous atmosphere with decent optimization. Keyboard and mouse support is doable given the simple combat mechanics, but anyone with a controller should definitely spare themselves the trouble and just enjoy it that way. If you don’t yet own the game and you have a computer capable of running the specs, then the PC version is the best way to play this game, without a doubt.
Feel free to throw skepticism away on this one; DmC is, for lack of a better term, goddamn beautiful in its execution, both visually and in gameplay elements. Attacks roll graciously from the fingers to let our budding champion cleave ever-growing mobs of demons with connecting combos. Add to that a profound narrative, cleverly developer platform sections and a variety of skills, action and pacing. With so much entertaining content, what more could one possibly want?
|As far as prequels, reboots and the likes go, DmC can count as an exemplary title of how it's done. Sometimes more is more and here there will be much of that to enjoy, whether it's great combat sequences, platform sections or a new layer of depth in the story of Dante. It's a downright blast to play this game, pure and simple.|