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Devil May Cry

Putting Ninja Theory to the test

Since its announcement last year, the new Devil May Cry has met resistance. By which we mean it copped almost universal hatred from fans of the series. The problem was change - it just wasn't the kind many believed in.

DmC is the first of Dante's romps that isn't being developed in-house by Capcom Japan, going instead to Ninja Theory, the British team behind Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. It subsequently unveiled a revamped, youthful Dante that wouldn't look out of place fronting a screamo band. However, tantalising glimpses of DmC's combat have recently been released, and all hope is not lost.

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He may not have the white hair, but Dante still has the combat credentials. Ninja Theory has given him the ability to shift between Angel and Devil forms, each with specific weapons - marvel at the glowing blue of his angelic scythe and the red of his presumably unholy grapple.

Our anti-hero's style looks less polished than that of his older self, but he's still effortlessly cool. It seems he could string together impossible aerial combos from childhood, and he switches weapons seamlessly -from sword to double pistols to a 'Get over here!' Scorpion-style wrangle.

This combat is set against two parallel worlds: a human city and its Demon counterpart, Limbo, and only one of them actually looks pleasant to live in. It's not the one you might expect; humanity is dark and dreary, whilst Limbo is delivered in sunny technicolour.

The levels maintain a gothic flavour but also look contemporary European, and are interesting for more than just their artistic design - according to Ninja Theory, Limbo itself is alive. Walls bleed, architecture is hostile, enemies spawn from out of the ground, and Dante will have to use his Angel/Devil powers to escape this reactive environment.

This combination of new demon-based tomfoolery does seem like a departure from the Devil May Cry of old. Capcom has admitted that 'liberties' are being taken with the established canon, whilst the team at Ninja Theory insist that Capcom wanted a fresh new perspective rather than a simple continuation. Nevertheless, they're both emphasising how close the working relationship is, with Capcom visiting frequently to keep an eye on progress.

From our point of view, DmC is still untested, and we're looking forward to going hands-on so we can lighten up on Dante the Younger. He'll have enough adolescent self-esteem issues as it is.

Words by Alice Scoble-Rees

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