Review: DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3).
DmC: Devil May Cry is a perfect illustration of the thesis that the game must not be judged after the first hour. Every player with more than a few months of experience is able to list the titles that with their first sequences incredibly aroused the appetite, and later did not live up to the hopes placed in them.
The creators often use such a procedure on purpose – they pack into the first missions most of the interesting patents that they managed to invent. A player testing a given title for a while in a shopping center or at a fair feels the desire to see the full product and makes a purchase. Only at home does he realize that he has been tricked …
What does DmC have to do with the above mechanism? THREAD! It is actually its exact opposite. The game opens with an intro, which the creators intended to be effective, but in my opinion was very average. Maybe this is due to the fact that I’m closer to thirty than twenty, but dazzling vulgar eroticism somehow doesn’t turn me on in video games. Love scenes in the style of The Witcher Two – here you go, but hugging the ladies in the club and then the triangle in the caravan is not my cup of tea. The only strong point of the introductory sequence is the music and it needs to be returned that it keeps high quality throughout the game. Guitar-electric sounds would probably not defend themselves, but they are a perfect illustration for the events on the screen. When it is necessary, the music speeds up, when the authors want us to listen carefully to the characters’ statements, it changes to a more romantic one or disappears at all. Going back to the beginning of DmC, after the introductory video, we play the first level and the same thing again – to put it mildly, it doesn’t tear off the head. The combat system gives the impression of being coarse, fights are not a challenge, and the fight with the boss at the end of the stage is so typical that it hurts your teeth. In addition, the hero, despite his emphasis at every step “Awesome” it does not arouse sympathy and is not saved by even a cool joke of the creators aimed at dealing with the old image.
The negative opinion in my head was worsened by the plastic graphics, so typical of Ninja Theory games based on Unreal Engine. I love Enslaved, but this title was visually very weak (the artificiality beat from location to kilometer, the level structure was at times more corridor than in Call of Duty or Gears of War, and the nail in the coffin were glowing rock shelves and pipes, on which you can was to climb). The start of DmC looks even worse. Some of the textures are striking with low resolution, the special effects are average at best, and the image suffers from screen tear from time to time. In addition, I was able to jump several times (also in later stages) in places where the creators did not expect me at all. Thanks to this, I could, for example, watch Dante playfully kick between two objects and not respond to my commands, and I visited a part of the level from the bottom.
Fortunately, things only get better later. The story gains momentum quickly. Of course, it is clichéd to the max (we have here, among others, the well-known theme of amnesia, separation of twins, death of parents, betrayal of a friend or revenge), but I have the impression that Ninja Theory would be able to show taking out the garbage on the screen in a cinematic and engaging way or packing the schoolbag. The cutscenes are masterfully directed, the voices are well matched to the characters, and their facial expressions are believable. In addition, there are very professionally prepared Polish subtitles, which will make it possible to absorb history also for people who do not have a perfect knowledge of the Shakespeare language. I really liked the fact that the authors neatly set the story in today’s reality. Mundus, the ruler of the demonic world who has largely subjugated our world, heads the world’s largest banking institution (with a name similar to Goldman Sachs) and uses the debt of major nations to influence their leaders. Additionally, he also created a powerful one “Christian”television serving the citizens of a demon ordered mush. Here we are dealing with another wink of an eye at the players, because the presenters of this television speak in a confusingly similar way to those from the real American Fox News.
The combat system is very quickly expanded with additional crime tools and a development tree assigned to each of them. Executing basic attacks remains very simple, but the real trick is to combine them into very long combos, preferably not allowing your opponents to retort. Create uninterrupted combinations with the Ebony and Ivory pistols, the Rebellion sword, and additional weapons and gadgets.
In DmC we meet many types of enemies, and all of them, except for the basic mobków, require special treatment, sometimes even the use of a specific weapon or skill. The battles are very dynamic and the opponents are quite tough. We are not dealing here with scenes straight from the God of War series, where, for example, 30 skeletons attacked us at once. The difficulty level that grows with successive stages is associated with the appearance of new types of enemies rather than with their increase “Concentrations” per square meter.
Another advantage of the described game is the presence of a patent that used to be a standard, and is not commonly found today – a fully editable button layout on the pad. If I hadn’t discovered this option, I wouldn’t have been able to get as much pleasure from communing with DmC as it happened to me. Destruction has become much easier for me when, among others, the standard punch went under the square, which is where it is in the adventures of Kratos. It is also worth adding that the presence of such an option immediately makes the game more disabled-friendly, and we care about a good image of our beloved hobby, right?
DmC quickly during the campaign (which is thankfully not short as some feared, I played for over 10 hours, although on the other hand “I licked the walls”) got rid of or at least reduced the defect mentioned by me at the beginning of the review. However, I have observed 2 new ones. The first one will not be a disadvantage for hardcore fans of the series, but I still found it necessary to mention it. The game has a system of judging everything we do, typical of the series, and generally for slashers with Japanese roots. During the fight, for each blow, dodge or parade we get points, and the more and faster we do them, the better our final result. And that’s cool, especially as it encourages action. Additionally, after completing the mission, we see a summary screen. Then we get a collective assessment, when calculating the system takes into account not only combat effectiveness, but also, inter alia, time to complete the mission, number of collected “Find” or reboots. Unfortunately, this distorts the narrative. Imagine a situation where the mission ends with the hero descending the stairs underground to face the boss. Your hands are already trembling at the thought of an epic fight, and instead of another video presenting the arena and the opponent, you get … a red screen with lots of white numbers. I did not like it. Hardcore players, please don’t lynch;)
The second disadvantage that cannot be ignored is the camera work. During platform sequences, which are a nice springboard from fights and are also quite creatively designed, it is perfect. In addition, the camera can be freely controlled, so when it is calm, it is not a problem. Unfortunately, during some fights, especially those fought in narrow corridors, he gets lost and, for example, instead of showing Dante and his opponents, he only shows the wall behind which they all managed to squeeze in. The automatic targeting button would probably solve this situation, but unfortunately there is only centering behind the hero’s back, which is not always useful.
DmC is the best slasher I’ve played in many months. The authors managed to create ideal proportions between the action, flashy cutscenes and exploration. The campaign is so long that you will consider the title worth your hard-earned two hundred bucks, and on the other hand, it does not become monotonous at any moment. Additionally, people who like “Master” games, they’ll have something to do here, as completing an adventure for the first time unlocks new difficulty levels and gameplay variants. There are also a number of challenges to be unlocked and completed later, and the authors have already announced a free DLC with more.
By the way, I have to say that I really regret that the game did not come out on PS Vita, because with its relatively short missions (usually between 20 and 40 minutes) and an arcade scoring system, it would be perfect for pulling this thinly spinning platform . Nevertheless, Ninja Theory set the bar very high for developers working on the slashers mentioned in the subtitle, set in equally well-known universes. The previous NT games, Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, were very good, but sold average. In the case of DmC we are dealing with a great game, and its market power is strengthened by a well-known, well-liked brand. If they don’t succeed now, it probably means that there is something wrong with us players.