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DmC: Devil May Cry Preview

by Diogo Miguel July 18, 2012

It’s incredible to see that the mere sight of a different hair colour could create such a fan uproar. That is exactly what happened when Capcom first showed the younger Dante, in the upcoming Devil May Cry prequel. Fans were also not sure that Ninja Theory could live up to the high expectations set by the previous Devil May Cry video-games. It’s a huge gamble but will DmC end up being a good decision for Capcom?

Dante’s adventure takes place in Limbo City, where nothing is what it seems. On the surface, it’s just like every other city, but it holds some rather dark secrets. This is a city of demons and they aren’t too pleased to spot Dante on one of their CCTV eye cameras. It all starts to get exciting once Dante is pulled into Limbo, which is what the city really looks like beneath the elaborate smoking mirror, set up to deceive its human population.

Limbo is unlike any other city when compared to the cities in most other video-games. It’s more like a living creature that will sacrifice itself, to desperately protect the many dark secrets contained within it. On many instances, building walls tried to crush Dante, and the floor itself opened up, in an attempt to make Dante fall. It’s an interesting premise considering that it’s not often that a city tries to destroy the main character. It has even been said that anything that changes in Limbo will also potentially change Limbo City.

It’s certainly fascinating to think that only Dante can enter Limbo, but his new sidekick Kat can also see it to a certain extent. Kat is a mysterious new character that almost seems too out of place, in the wacky world of Devil May Cry. Her interactions with Dante suggest that she is a reliable ally though. But don’t worry because Dante is still the same rebel that fans are used to.

There’s a couple of obstacles that Dante must destroy to progress. One of these is the CCTV eye cameras, which will restrain Dante within a section. This creates the possibility to include platform sections. These consist of platforms that Dante creates by pulling them out. Dante’s demon side allows him to pull out these platforms.

Then he can use his angel powers to get up to a platform. This works extremely well since demon/angel powers each use one side of the controller. So it’s very easy to instinctively use one of the angel powers, since they are all mapped to buttons on the left side of a controller.

Demon powers are handy in certain areas, such as pulling out platform, but they are best used in combat. Another obstacle that Dante must face are the demons that literally manifest from the city environment. The demon powers proved far more useful when battling these demons. They come in handy, since for example a hammer like power makes it possible to break shields protecting some of the enemies.

Angel powers also have their uses during combat, but they are better adapted for the platform sections. A tricky area towards the end, where Dante must reach the other side of a cathedral, relies heavily on the angel powers. This section will make use of the ability to cover large gaps, by means of a boost jump, and swinging towards the end. These platform sections are enjoyable, and reminiscent of the original Devil May Cry.

Getting through some of the challenges presented in this short demo isn’t always easy. Particularly because they are often there to teach the player how to use the various abilities. So it means having to go through a fair amount of trial and error. Fortunately falling off edges, or even dying during combat, doesn’t heavily penalise players. It simply means spawning back to a fairly recent checkpoint. If the retail version is like this, then it will certainly appeal to less skilled players.

It’s not a Devil May Cry video-game without the combos. It’s much easier to build up impressive combos, thanks to the intuitive fighting control system. The dodge button is now even more important, due to the fact that it manages to guarantee avoiding being hit just about every time.

There’s also the traditional guns to defeat flying enemies. As usual, combos are ranked and only those that make efficient use of all the powers, can obtain the higher ranks. It all adds up to an overall score for each section, The scoring system has potential for some combo based fun. Specially if the retail version has online leader boards for the various levels.

Anyone still worried that DmC will end up being the black sheep of the series can relax. This actually feels a lot more like a back to basics; which makes sense since it’s a prequel. Recent releases like Devil May Cry 4 have become far too complicated. DmC avoids this issue by going back to the ideas that made the original Devil May Cry so addictive.

Is it really worth dismissing a prequel for a well known series, because the main character looks different? This short glimpse at Ninja Theory’s risky effort confirms that DmC is going into a promising new direction, that has potential for being one of 2013’s early pleasant surprises.

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