In Responce: The Making Of… DMC: Devil May Cry (EDGE May 2015)

I read a lot of gaming stuff in mags you really should get and online. A lot of the time I want to reply or comment but with the internet being the internet, I have always seen this as bad idea. But as I am slowly but surely setting myself up as decent gaming press monkey in the professional amateur sector I started to think that I should reply with a comment. But as my responses are actually thought out and not in ALL CAPS I thought that I should put them here. “But Wil,” I hear you cry, “you write to thetorchentertainmentguide.com. Why don’t you put it there?”  Well, dear reader, it is for two reasons. The first is that of response time. Here I can reply quickly while over on the Torch the response is more sluggish with all those professional standards ‘n’ all. The second is a giving the Torch a get out. This is my blog. My own little piece of the internet. Here I can fucking swear my tits off and be as opinionated as I like. And this blog isn’t monetized so I don’t have to worry about pissing people off and not getting a pay check because I don’t get one, (I get one from the Torch hence the professional standards when I write for them to be clear). So, lets us get on with this thing.

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Most of the article if you haven’t read it (although you should) talks about the making of the game while touching on the ‘controversy’ around its design and release. It opens with them talking about the announcement trailer that was showed off at the Tokyo Game Show in 2010. An entirely pre-rendered trailer only showing the new look for Dante. They lead in to a quote from Tameem Antoniades, Ninja Theory’s creative chief were he says (when talking about the public response to the new look);

The vitriol was immediate, aggressive and relentless for the next to years. Without a second of gameplay being shown, it had been written off as disaster in the making.

I remember seeing the trailer at the time. I am a fan of the Devil May Cry series so seeing that a new one was in the works just had me excited. Then seeing the new design I just watched slack-jawed and amazed. I just sat watching and going “That looks fucking sweet! I wan’ it and I wan’ it now!” And then I turned to the comments and mentally wept. A game with a design like it came from my own head and in a world that I see all the time was being decried with pitchforks and with a sheer new level of hate that I had not seen from just a pre-rendered trailer. The only time I’ve seen a game reach that level of hate was after it came out. The likes of “Aliens: Colonial Marines” is the most recent example. Even I was saying that people should just be tentative rather than get to hating it now. But nope. The screaming was loud relentless.

The article then points out that the new look was something that Capcom wanted.

But when they [Capcom] saw it [a minimally changed Dante design], they said they wanted us to put our own twist on it, to not think about the past, but to try something totally new. I remember they said, ‘Do something that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise we might as well do it ourselves.’” (Alessandro Tani, visual art director.)

That was what I saw. When I reviewed it I said that the game felt very British, bringing in elements of current trends and politics. Having Mundus, the head demon, be a financial banker felt most British considering our current ‘Bash The Bankers’ philosophy. It felt modern and contemporary not just in its looks but in its story. Dante oozed the Brit-punk mentality (that I kinda grew up with) of just “fuck you” in a world taken from the headlines. Like I said, I saw that game world as the world that I largely saw day-to-day. Not in the literal, demons are real sense. But in the larger disenfranchised late teen/20-something with two fingers up at the standing system because you all suck sort of sense. Like I said, I kinda grew into the punk mentality while I was ‘goth’. Was even a point were I ‘practiced’ (more like tried and messed myself up a few times) free running, dyed my hear black and smoked so fuck it, I ‘was’ Dante at one point. Now I’m just a disenfranchised 20-something with two fingers up at the standing system but more classy being in the system and I don’t dye my hair or smoke. So more Kat except with smaller boobs on account of me being ‘husky’.

I could always understand people not liking the new look (rather than the anger they displayed for it) but one thing I never understood, and still don’t is the anger that was displayed for the combat system. Yes it was simplified, I even said so in my review. But it was far from being super easy or, as I heard some people call it, broken.

Simple, slight changes like this were exactly what Capcom desired: a way to make the game more accessible without compromising the intricacy of the systems at Devil May Cry’s core A simplified launcher input was surely not going to upset the hardcore too much.

While it was not a vocal as the hair-brigade, there was some outcry about the combat. Like I said, I never understood it. The article even points out that Capcom themselves concentrated on this aspect and most of it was largely unchanged. Earlier on in the article they even point out that “…many of Dante’s signature moves were brought over unchanged.” ‘But it’s easer to get S rankings for combos,’ some will yell and I respond with ‘So?’ I could never get S combo ranks before but in this game I now could and it was fucking sweet! If it so much of a big deal, play on a harder difficulty. After the regular Human, Devil Hunter and Nephilim modes there’s Son of Sparta mode, Dante Must Die mode, Heaven or Hell Mode and Hell and Hell mode. If you’re complaining about the combat or the difficulty, it’s you. Not the game.

So where do we come to at the end of all of this? Well, as the last records of sales said it sold 1.6 million (less that the 2 million Capcom wanted to sell) the companionship of the studios was ended and the likelihood that a sequel will come fades away as Capcom says they are going back to doing it themselves. “DmC: Devil May Cry” becomes yet another game that arrived with critical acclaim and well received scores from critics but no one bought it. It’s even getting to a point were former angry people are retrospectively starting to praise the game even though the chance that we will get something like again has passed because they themselves were the ones bitching. Well, as I think DmC Dante would think and maybe say in his punk tones;

People really fucking suck.

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DmC Primer and Review

I played the demo of this round about the time the game came out [January/February time] and I said to my self ‘This is a game made for me.” By god I was right. Those unfamiliar with the franchise, here is a quick lesson.

DMC Primer:

The first “Devil May Cry” was a hack-and-slash game that came out for the PS2 in August 2001. It introduced a Earth-world where demons kill, maim and do demon-y things. You play as Dante, a demon killer who runs a demon killing business that only includes him called ‘Devil May Cry’ [I see what you did there] who is tasked by Trish, a lookalike of you dead mother [Mmm… Freudian] to go to an island to kill Mundus, the emperor of the demons that killed your mother and brother. What follows is slashing through many enemies, bosses, more enemies, a betrayal, a twist that pays off 2 games from now, a reconciliation and killing Mundus.

“Devil May Cry 2” [PS2 – January 2003] not many people liked. I thought it was alright. It wasn’t that bad. It see’s Dante fighting more demons and saving damsel’s in distress, killing the bad guy, and getting locked in the demon realm. The chronology of the games were messed up but it was clear that this was the last one. [An un-finished manga and an anime series fit in as well as the 4 games making the chronology more complicated.]

The first chronologically but third in the series called “Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening” [PS2 – February 2005] showed the ‘origins’ of Dante. Before he had his ‘Devil May Cry‘ demon killing business he just ate pizza and didn’t ware shirts. After he meets the bold, deep-voiced, I-am-the-bad-guy Arkham [no connection to the prison] and sees that his brother Virgil is trying to take over the world, he heads off to stop them. You may remember that I said ‘a twist that pays off 2 games from now‘ when I talked about DMC1. This is this game and the twist is Virgil. Well it was sort of a twist. In DMC1 you find out that its your brother. In DMC3 you meet your brother.

Devil May Cry 4” [PS3/360 – Jan/Feb 2008] tied up all the loose ends that the series had accumulated over the years. It was a good round-off of the series and finished off the plot of Virgil who, turns out, is in all the games but only appears in 2.  Overall the series was good. I hits the platinum series for the PS2 and is one of the most known PlayStation series’.

Now to review “DmC: Devil May Cry“. And by the way, it’s a re-boot. So you don’t need to know any of what I just said. None of it. At all. None. So on to the review.

DmC: Devil May Cry Review [2013 – Ninja Theory]

This new DMC was made under the mire of many fans of the original series. Firstly, Dante has had a makeover. The white-haired, red-coated Dante is out with a punk-rock stylised, black-haired Dante replacing him. Personally, the look of him has changed but the badass-ness that made him such a well liked character is still there. That isn’t the only thing that has had a make over. The setting has changed to a more contemporary setting. Rather then being a world where demons and humans live together, there are two dimensions. The human dimension and Limbo, the dimension where the demons hide and secretary control the human dimension. The way the demons control the human world through Limbo is what ever happens in Limbo happens in the human world too. Although this idea seems to be turned on and off at a whim, or more likely, at the whim of platforming sections. But the idea is still an interesting one.

The man bad guy hasn’t changed. It is Mundus, the bad guy from DMC1. But he, as all the other bad guys, have also had a contemporary make over. As we Brits are rather pissed at authority figures right now, the main bad guys are figures of authority. Mundus is the head of Banking company [we pissed at the financial people for the banking crisis/tax rises], another bad guy is a news presenter/media mogul [Pissed of at media people for phone hacking/bias] and a mid-control and un-healthy poisoned drink conglomerate [taxes? It’s bad for you? Although the mind control poison drink is properly a dig at [name redacted]]. They even go further than that but keep is very British. When I said media mogul bad guy you must have thought I was talking about Fox News/News International/Murdock because that is the company/company/man connected with the media scandal. Yes it seems it’s based on that/that/him in a way because the news broadcasts that propagates that Dante is evil is very Americanized and Fox News-ish and Bob Barbas [Bad Guy] is a parody of Bill O’Reilly. But when you see the tower that he is hiding in, I couldn’t help but think ‘that looks a lot like BT Tower‘.

This anti-authority sensibility is weaved through the whole game. Dante’s main weapon is still his sword, Rebellion [I see what you did there], and Virgil heads a groups called ‘The Order’ that is rebelling against Mundus in, [a least at the start,] an Anonymous way. Virgil donning a demon mask and voice changer and hacking into the computer systems of Mundus company. This certainly piles on the look-alike side but the mask is dropped early in the game but the hacking stays because some one has to hack in this modern-day setting.

The gameplay itself is more refined. I have to admit that I wasn’t vey good at the previous games. Yes I played, finished and enjoyed them buy I always found it hard to get decent score ratings. In this one, it is more easer to get good ratings and style points. Some might see that as bad or dumbing its down but it makes the game more accessible to new players. That’s especially needed here because it’s a re-boot. [Or it might just be that my version of DMC 3 was a normal-is-actually-hard-mode version.]

On replay value, there isn’t much. The only thing there is as replay value goes is re-doing levels for better ratings or finishing it on harder difficulties.

Frankly, I adore this game with so much love and I am sad to see that I didn’t do well. I want to see where this new interpretation goes and I hope that Ninja Theory can continue on the series.

Overview:

The game is solid and the story and characters is something I adore about this game. But, if you’re not the sort of person who will replay levels over and over for a better score or for chops, I can see you playing it once and that’s it.

DmC: Devil May Cry – 4.5/5