Game: DmC: Devil May Cry
Publisher/Developer: Ninja Theory/Capcom
Genre: Hack n Slash
Release Date: January 15
Capcom decided that the latest game in the Devil May Cry series would be a reboot, though it's pegged as taking place in an alternative universe. The basics are still the same, though. Our hero Dante is the son of a demon with amazing superhuman powers who takes up arms against the demonic hordes that seek to destroy humanity. Though in this universe, Dante and his twin brother Vergil have an angelic mother rather than a human one. Otherwise, it's the same action-packed war against the demons we've come to love.
The demo puts you in a terrifying limbo version of a city that calls to mind the transitions from real world to a parallel dimension in Silent Hill, though Limbo is bright and almost painfully colorful to look at rather than dark and foreboding. This actually helps the otherworldliness come to stark life as the walls themselves spell out curses and try to collapse upon you during levels.
Dante wields a sword, a grappling chain and twin guns that never need reloading when he takes on enemies. The guns don't really seem to do much damage, but launching demons into the air with your sword then jumping up and peppering them with rounds all the way to the ground will never get old. It might be nice if the camera pulled back a bit while engaged in a melee so you could keep better tabs on the enemies, but the game is actually pretty cool about not letting them overly cheap-shot you in the back.
Keeping with the modern hack n slash playbook, you also have to solve various puzzles to progress, and so far this involves little more than finding the right grapple points for jumping challenges. This can get a little tedious since it's necessary to eliminate satanic camera eyes that are tracking you. Why exactly we can't just, you know, shoot them out is never really explained.
The demo also features a boss battle with a horrifying giant slug man dangling from the ceiling who spends most of the battle unable to stop vomiting. Sure, it does damage as an attack, but I'm kind of impressed that video game technology has progressed to the point where characters that use these gross-out attacks can be given enough animation and personality that we can watch them try to fight rising bile but ultimately give in and blow chunks. Disgusting, I know, but from a purely technical standpoint it's still really, really indicative of great love and artifice on the part of the gamemakers.
If there is any real complaint against DmC, it's that Dante is kind of a dick. Maybe there's more to him in the full game, but for right now he's a strutting, posturing douchebag given to cheesy taunts and exchanging "Fuck you's" in boss battles. He displays little or no affection or consideration for his cute little spirit guide Kat, and every moment he interacts with anything verbally rather than with the pointy end of his sword reeks of Jersey Shore bravado.
Maybe there's an appeal in that, but it felt old when Duke Nukem did it better, and now it's almost completely outdated. The brief appearances of his brother Vergil as a terrorist mastermind trying to organize against the demons have double the empathy that Dante manages to elicit. I don't know how much of a full playthrough you can enjoy when your protagonist is so unlikable. It doesn't detract overly from the murder fest, though you could just as well wait for God of War: Ascension.
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