Release Date: January 15th, 2013
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developed By: Ninja Theory
Published By: Capcom
Okay I lied. Let’s talk about this fucking game. But before we really start, let’s address a few things.
One. Is this a bad video game? No. In fact, it’s actually a pretty good game. But is it a good Devil May Cry game? Fuck no. In fact, if we’re looking at this as a DMC game, this may be the worst game in the series.
Yes, that is including DMC 2.
This game has a lot of good going for it. It’s fun to play, it has a unique visual style, and the level design is actually pretty tight (for the most part, but we’ll get to that). If you can manage to distract yourself from the fact that you’re playing a DMC game and look at it as it’s own thing, you’ll have a great time.
If you look at this as an entry in a series you love, you will hate this game. A lot. It’s story, characters and music are all a major departure from the games that came before it. And no, not in a good way.
Let’s start off with the silver lining. What does this game do well? Well, for one: the gameplay itself. Playing this game is a lot of fun! Combat feels responsive and brutal, with tons of unique enemies to slaughter! Dante’s different abilities make both combat and traversal through the levels pretty fun and makes the player feel like a bad ass each time you enter a battle.
The boss fights are… okay. Some of them are really generic, boring and super easy. Others are incredibly fun and imaginative. All of them, when compared to the bosses from the games that came before it, are super weak and forgettable.
Which basically summarizes the whole game when you think about it.
This game also has a very unique style to it. When Dante is in Limbo (which is also a negative, but we’ll get to that), the game takes on an incredibly distinct style. The whole world becomes broken up, grimy, and disturbing. It has a true hellish feel to it, and it’s pretty cool to explore. Dante’s different modes of traversal make hopping around this distorted dimension really interesting.
However, the design of the levels aren’t always super great. Many of them have hallways and branching paths that simply lead to nowhere, with no secrets or progression to be found. For example, in the second level, Dante sees an echo of his mother run down the hall from left to right. Naturally, you’d think that there’s some kind of a secret down the left hallway, right? Wrong. All you’ve done is waste your time.
Would it have taken so long to put some rubble there to block the path?
In terms of positives, that’s all I have to say. It’s got decently fun combat, the boss fights are okay, and the levels are mostly okay. You could be playing worse, but you could be playing better. For example, literally any other DMC game aside from 2.
This game’s story is not very good. At all. Even as a stand alone story, it is super weak.
Ever since DMC 3, the series has become well known and loved for it’s ridiculous and over the top cut scenes. You all know what I’m talking about. Dante running down the tower and catching fire in 3, him recreating a stage play in 4, Lady’s various displays of gun skills in both 3 and 4, and many more have created a fun, over-the-top tone that makes these games an absolute joy. This game doesn’t have that. At all. There are no moments that’ll put a smile on your face and make you say “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen and I love it!”
Which makes the plot a lot less fun to go through.
Taking place in an alternate dimension (according to the Wikipedia page, which I’ll link to at the bottom), this game stars a young Dante in the prime of his youth: living in a trailer, getting drunk and banging strippers. One day, he’s recruited by Kat and his long lost brother Vergil to liberate the world from the Demons, who have been ruling humanity from the shadows for ages. After regaining both the Demonic and Angelic powers of his father and mother respectively (oh yeah, their mother is an Angel in this universe), the brothers team up to defeat the man who murdered their mother: Mundas.
It’s a simple plot, but it’s really not very well executed. The dialogue is absolute trash, featuring such wonderful lines as “The world is now your bitch. As am I.” and the voice actors delivering these lines sound like they’re bored out of their minds in the recording booth. Though there are some genuinely charming interactions, like when Kat is telling Dante the ingredients within her spray paint can that opens a gate to the next world.
The characters themselves, while not terrible, are far from the characters we’ve come to know and love. Dante’s goofy, fun loving and nonchalant attitude, along with the absolute love he feels towards his job of murdering demons on a scale that would make Hitler jealous, are all gone. Now he’s just an edgy teenager, devoid of the charm that made the character so lovable and iconic in the first place.
Vergil and Mundas are also far from what they should be. Vergil’s lust for power and desire to surpass his father are all long gone, and now he just wants to rule the Demon World because… why not? Not to surpass his father, not to gain infinite power, nothing. He’s not an antethisis to Dante anymore in his straight laced and serious attitude. Any depth or intrigue he had before is long gone.
The same happens to Mundas. His uncaring nature and straight up cruelty towards his subordinates are gone, as he is know desperately attached to a concubine because she’s pregnant with his child.
Because if there’s one thing Mundas would do, it’s share power and save those weaker than him.
Each of their designs are also really bad. In DMC 1-4, each character has an incredibly distinct design that is immediately recognizable. Take one look at Dante, and you can tell who it is and which game he’s from. The same thing goes for Vergil, Trish, Lady and Nero. Their designs are downright wonderful and memorable.
These designs are painfully generic and boring. Dante looks like your typical “Eh, fuck you dad, it’s not a phase!” character that would be written and drawn by a twelve year old boy. Mundas looks like a fucking loser, completely lacking in intimidation factor in any way. I mean, come on, look at this guy!
Vergil is the closest to his original design. Just way less cool or interesting. He looks like your typical ‘suave, cool and intelligent’ type. He doesn’t have that cold but determined gaze that tells you “Get in my way and you’re dead.” without saying a word. But he does have a dumb hat in a few scenes.
Just look at them. Which one is more interesting to you?
I really want to like this game. But whenever I play it, the Devil May Cry fan within me starts screaming in agony. By no means is it a terrible game. But if you’re playing it expecting the same goofy fun you got in the previous games, you will be sorely disappointed.
If you’ve never played DMC before, you won’t mind this game. If you can separate this from the games that came before, you’ll have a good time. But if you can’t look at this without comparing it to the previous games, you’ll be disappointed. In fact, you may very well hate this game. But hey! If you hate this game, at least you still have Devil May Cry 5 to look forward to!
Please, for the love of god, be a good game!