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9 Reviews

DmC: Devil May Cry

Ninja Theory mixes up a legend, to make something familiar and new

DmC is set in a world not unlike our own. Well, that's the satirical idea, anyway. The President is controlled by a demon who runs the banks. The population enslave themselves with soft drinks milked from a millennia-old Succubus. The media is run by a monstrous news anchor who claims to be doing God's work.
And still, the debt-crippled humans dance - in clubs owned by more demons, obviously. The cultural commentary couldn't be more heavy-handed if the words "OBEY" and "CONSUME" appeared on the walls. Which is great, because they do.

But that's perfect: the new Dante is a moody symbol of teenage rebellion, so this melodramatic parody of the world makes absolute sense. And stencilled buzzwords aside, the new vision of Limbo looks fantastic. Ninja Theory has taken the gothic tone of the series, laced it with bloodshot fairgrounds and vivid neon nightlife, and warped it spectacularly. Platforms splinter, corridors elongate, and chasms appear from nowhere, and yet your path is always clear. Unless you're looking for secrets, go where the glinting lights and the monsters take you.


Ninja Theory is the developer which brought us the well-paced love story that juggled genres in Enslaved. But Devil May Cry is a series that is more about juggling six brands of demonic hellspawn, than narrative strands. Given that Enslaved's combat was its own weak spot, it's natural to be nervous about Ninja Theory's control on a beloved series that's defined by crisp, complex, unforgiving and elegant fighting. Enslaved's mistakes would not be easily overlooked with Dante.

However much help Ninja Theory has had from Capcom, it's nailed it. You'll be halfway through the game before you have anything like a fully-loaded Dante - he begins the game naked and decadent on his own sex-soiled mattress. Getting dressed is typically flamboyant - DmC keeps its defining cutscene stupidity, and sensibly resists the modern impulse to slather them with quick-time events.

But it's only after mission two that the main pieces of your combat puzzle are in place. Thanks to his unique Nephilim heritage, Dante can channel Heaven or Hell into his attacks. Squeeze the left trigger - and keep it squeezed - and Dante's sword, Rebellion, transforms into Osiris, his heavenly scythe. Later, you'll get a second heavenly weapon, which you can toggle instantly by tapping tap left on the D-pad. Fair warning - it gets a bit busy on that controller, and there's no Easy Automatic mode to make it accessible to everyone.

Hold down in the right trigger, and you've got the heavy-hitting demonic weapons. Arbiter the Axe and Eryx the Gauntlet sounds like an alarming CBeebies show, but they're your slower, more focused damage dealers who can break some guards and shatter some shields.


The X button is for your guns, but with a squeeze of the Heaven or Hell trigger, it fires a hookshot. The heavenly blue shot catapults you towards the enemy - if you're battling a flock of harpies, you can chain this to zip from one enemy to the next, never touching the ground. The demonic hook, meanwhile, drags enemies towards you, where you can maintain your stylish combo with more personal attacks.

Clear cut
Every weapon in the game has its own specific use, in combat and exploration. Send out a charged Aquila shot, for instance, and you'll shatter a witch's shield. The Hell hookshot can pull away shields. Try a spinning Osiris move, and you'll be able to deflect projectiles back at their source. It's a lot to keep in mind, especially with levels that insist on throwing the enemies at you in constantly changing combinations, each creating a different set of priorities and tactics to balance.

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