Enter Dante, our cocky and charismatic anti-hero draped in a new look. His only problem in life is being the son of some long deceased demonic badass. He unintentionally eluded the demon superiors of the world, but now his days of drunken freedom and sexcapades are over. As long as he is alive, the demons will hunt him, and when they finally find Dante, they will pull him into an alternate world they call “Limbo.” A medium with the moniker “Kat” helps Dante defeat his captors and shows him the way to the leader of The Order, Vergil. With their help, Dante will learn who he is and why these demons must destroy him at all cost.

I’m a huge fan of Devil May Cry, I’ve literally played them all. However, they were not that impressive where story line is involved. Devil May Cry 3 was the wackiest of the games, and probably the most interesting in that department, but it still didn’t tell very much of a deep and engrossing tale. DMC gives Dante a more down-to-earth and humanized path to focus on. Dante discovers his twin brother Virgil and is enlightened to the slaughter of his family, Mundus. He learns that in the war of Demon and Angel, he is a Nephilim and the only thing capable of destroying the demon, Mundus. In the process, Dante must save the human race from a marketed product that effectively turns them into vegetables.

If you’re worried that the title doesn’t have that ridiculous flavor that you should expect from the series. You don’t need have to worry your pretty little anymore. The serious focus is just one part of DMC’s nature, and the other is absolute insane encounters with demons. Dante will have cussing matches with grotesque creatures, and spew one-liners that would make James Bond face palm. DMC flourishes with drama, but it is topped off with a heavy dose of foolishness and fun.

Devil May Cry is all about off the wall action involving guns, swords, and any manner of weapon that our hero can get his hands on. Combo strings are the way of the world in DMC, and knowing when to swap weapons is pivotal to success. Dante can have face-to-face battles with weaker enemies, and juggle them into the air while literally having his way with them. Enemies off in the distance can be yanked by a chain or catapulted towards for instant gratification. Swapping weapons consistently will keep the combo chain skyrocketing, and knowing when to fire off weapons can assure higher grades.

DMC Dante

Slaying enemies is a silky smooth and refined affair. It may not be moving at the blistering speed of sixty frames per second, but the hectic pace and the focused mechanics will make you believe otherwise. Varying enemy types will surround our hero on a regular basis. Fast moving types, ranged, tank, brutes, and shield types are just some of the enemies he’ll have to contend with. Controlling Dante is a relatively simple affair, but as he obtains new weapons, it can be as complex as even the most technical fighting game.

A whirlwind of furious attacks isn’t always in Dante’s best interest as a plethora of enemies require swapping to different power sets. Enemies covered in a blue glow can only be dealt with via “Angel” weapons, and enemies coated in red can only be damaged by “Demon” weapons. Risk versus reward is the absolute in DMC, as a flurry of combos can put Dante in a precarious position. Learning to deal with the patterns of your enemies’ onslaught will stop you from reaching a quick death. Depending on the locked in difficulty, Dante will drift off this mortal coil due to a few missteps.  Dante can also shift into a berserker by activating Devil Trigger mode. When engaging this move, all bets are off and enemies lift into the air at the mercy of Dante’s assault. His health regenerates and style points double when attacking enemies in the air.

Skill is definitely needed to challenge the variety of demons that you’ll have to brush off. Devil May Cry will NOT hold your hand, and never expect it to. The title features some truly reflex inducing moments, both in and out of battle situations.  Using the angelic and demonic weapons to swing or rip your way across open terrain gets the adrenaline rushing. DMC makes perfect use of its twisting terrain by pushing Dante to traverse it in both a casual and harrowing fashion.

The most prominent part of Devil May Cry’s gameplay system is not the skilled combo system. It’s the incredibly fun and well thought out boss fights. I can’t remember the last time I was sucked into the creativity of a fight as much as the challenge of one. Boss fights are large in scale and usually have multiple phases and varying patterns. There are a few that require beating down an enemy, but there are others that keep the player moving across the stage avoiding a crushing defeat. Ninja Theory put some thought into each battle, and DMC is as high as a skyscraper when it comes to sexy boss battles.

DMC Platform

Upgrades are what this series is all about, and DMC doesn’t skimp on the options. Visiting a divinity statue or entering the menus at the start of a stage will allow players to delegate skill points. Each weapon that Dante obtains has an upgrade to deal more damage and open new combos. At any time, the player can swap out skill points and place them in different locations. Items are also available for purchase that pertains to upgrading health and devil trigger slots.

Describing the bizarre but strikingly beautiful world of DMC is a bit difficult. The stark colors of the real world are nothing when compared to the jigsaw puzzle that is, Limbo. Platforms shift and shutter, walls collapse inward, and hallways fly backwards out of reach. A vibrant color palette pops from the screen, with smooth transitions from CG to In-game cutscenes. The human character models like Dante are a bit better than the normal muscle bound oafs of the Unreal Engine. However, it’s the demons that hold the trophy for grotesque impressiveness. To speak ill of the nightmarish realm of limbo would be a travesty in itself. The voice acting is take it or leave it outside of the cinematics, in which certain lines lack delivery and come off rather bland.

DMC is not a one shot go, there are keys and special items hidden in each level. It’s impossible to get them all in one go, since certain weapons or items are needed to fish out specific ones. There are also secret doors that lead to time trials that reward the player with special health and demon boost fragments. Each challenge is progressively more insane than the last, and it adds a fair bit of longevity to a game that would normally be a wham bam, thank you, ma’am.

Even with all the praise I have dropped down on DMC, I do have some lofty problems with it. This title is all about reflexes and skill, but there are some mechanics that do not compliment the game play. The number one culprit of this would be the camera system. It zooms in really close to Dante’s back and obscures attackers who aren’t directly in front of him. This becomes a problem in small areas or if Dante is next to a wall. The auto-target system does not help this issue, often targeting enemies far off in the background or directly to the right of enemies you actually wish to hit. This wouldn’t be so bad if there was an indicator arrow that appeared when an enemy was about to attack.  There is also a bug that swaps your weapons around for no reason while you are using them. So I could be firing a shotgun and suddenly Ebony and Ivory have begun firing without my permission.

DMC is an outrageous and fun action title and a great way to start 2013. Naysayers may be screaming about the new direction, but DMC proves it can hold up and improve on previous titles in the series. Defeating the game unlocks Sons of Sparda mode, a remixed version that puts all those earned powers to the test from front to back. Continually defeating the title unlocks nearly impossible difficulties that should make some purists proud. Half-Ass Gaming gives DMC a B+, this Devil has very little to cry about.