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The surprising grace of Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry Exclusive
The surprising grace of Ninja Theory's  Devil May Cry
February 8, 2013 | By Leigh Alexander

February 8, 2013 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC, Programming, Art, Design, Exclusive

Nobody who likes Capcom's newest Devil May Cry expected to. The decline of Japanese dominance in the commercial game industry has seen beloved franchises farmed out to Western studios to mixed success, often producing at best faithful reproductions with a certain spiritual emptiness.

It's not that Devil May Cry is the sort of brand that requires hushed reverence. It's always been content with the weird collision of its hero's absurd bravado and acrobatics with what was at least initially a more serious environment of horror and mystery (you could see the seams where the first game was supposed to've been a new Resident Evil). It's a silly series that revels in excesses, punchlines and plots as jargon-littered and convoluted as they are instantly forgettable.

Yet the brand is over a decade old, now, and people are protective of it nonetheless. Might be it feels more like a rarity these days -- most of today's twenty and thirty-something gamers grew up in a world where game aesthetics were firmly in Japan's command. Lots of us spent our high school years romanticizing pastel hair-sculptures and fighting graceful abominations with vaguely Judeo-Christian veneers.

Over the past console generations we've seen those idiosyncratic universes yield more and more ground to grim-jawed heroes in dark corridors, as the Japanese RPG shrank to a niche and third-person games surrendered their popularity to first-person ones, in general. Something's definitely gone missing from our world since the Japanese market correction, something primal and tonal that's not easy to pin down.

DMC is one of those distinctly Japanese melee series that has managed to keep its footing mostly intact; it is always kind of dumb, but it's always kind of fun, too. Its shameless cousin Bayonetta managed to make a major impact in 2010, like some kind of hallucinogenic herald here to trumpet a possible revival. It became important to some people that the next DMC would grab the genre baton and fulfill the prophecy.

That's why it was so easy to be cynical at early news of the game when it fell into the hands of UK studio Ninja Theory; nobody wanted a "westernized" Devil May Cry; the idea of doing an origin story starring a "young Dante" sounded from a distance like any one of the artificial cliches so often applied to defibrillate a brand that's outlived its relevance. When we last saw Dante in DMC4, he was a weathered but graceful, effortlessly confident romantic hero (after a fashion) with a fall of sleek white hair. No one wanted to see him slinging buzzwords to trendy dubstep while sporting a cropped Good Charlotte coif.

Yet Ninja Theory's game is an excellent spiritual successor for the series, managing to execute that rare combo of loyalty to the source material with creative additions that show off the team's strengths. It wasn't a very easy mandate in this case: Really, Devil May Cry is a series with roots in what teen boys think is Totally Rad -- in a prior console generation.

The traditional flashiness feels kind of tacky or dated unless it's done with a compatible tone; Bayonetta managed it by going all-out camp surrealism, but since there was clearly a desire to add to the DMC universe's storyline and focus on its characters, the newest title had to be rooted in a relatable dystopia -- for players to identify with Young Dante, they also had to be able to identify with his world.

Helping with that is the fact that on a thematic level the universe of Ninja Theory's DmC is broad-strokes of "important stuff"; it includes an intended critique of capitalist consumer culture, and one demon boss is intended to be a stand-in for conservative television talking head Bill O'Reilly. Meanwhile, the plot itself is what it usually is: Dante's issues with the loss of his mother, his devil father, and tensions with his twin Vergil, which this prequel takes responsibility for rooting. Beyond that it's all something something demon gates and successions of grotesque opponents, as usual.

What works best about this DmC is that it's handled with the kind of sense of irony you might miss if you were, say, a teen who thinks all of Dante's antics are rad, but not if you are an adult who is no longer into taking this kind of stuff with the gravest sincerity. It's a delicate balance, and one more franchise updates could try -- developers taking their fans seriously, themselves a little less so.

The attention to detail is very considered -- note how young Dante is still fearless and deft, but the great big sword Rebellion seems just a little big for him, takes a body-length of force, slight but admirable imperfections in what we know will one day become effortless ease. DmC contains essential but skillfully-subtle tributes to the franchise's heritage, visually and otherwise. Some of them are spoilers, so best to see for yourself, if you're curious.

Of course, nailing the mechanics is obligatory, and the game has the right feel. It's also flat-out gorgeous, with a few high-impact style choices that are appropriately bold for a Devil May Cry game but are also unique to Ninja Theory. The environment's bright, haunting dynamic text is the best of these. The illusory, submerged feel of the game's Limbo, with its abstracted spaces that respond to Dante's nearness, is also effective, while the flickering ghosts of real-world people beyond its curtain recall Bayonetta.

The studio was absolutely the right partner, in that one can look at the look, feel and style of games like Heavenly Sword and Enslaved and see a relatively short leap to Devil May Cry. That has to be a crucial lesson to publishers and developers entrusted with longstanding brands on the value of traits like tone, aesthetics and style.

DmC is overall an interesting study in how to handle the nearly-impossible task of inheriting a Japanese franchise with a long tradition and a very vocal fanbase and developing a game that feels creative and confident, but faithful in its way, too.

The result is not a "Western-made Japanese game"; it's a Devil May Cry game, against some tricky odds.

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Edgard Oliva
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Ninja Theory did an amazingly superb job with DmC. I bought the original Devila May Cry on launch day, so I was a pretty hardcore fan. I count DMC3 as one of the best games ever made as well. I had never actually played DMC4 (was turned off from the demo, and so it had been a long time since I had played around with Dante when this remake was announced. I wasn't a hater at any point since the reveal and I actually liked the new look on Dante. All I knew was that NT had to step up their game in terms of combat design if they were seriously going to undertake this project.
DmC feels like it has an Japanese developed combat system, one that is never seen by a Western/European developer. It doesn't even feel like the same team that worked on HS and Enslaved. I only see good things coming from future installments in the series and from NT at this point. They completely revitalized the genre for me and I hope more developers delve in to more intricate combat systems instead of trying to emulate the simplicity of the Arkham series combat system.

Jimmy Albright
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In what ways is DMC's combat system more intricate? My time with the demo gave me the exact opposite impression.

Kellam Templeton-Smith
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of course sales have been bad-fans have been doing everything within their power to try and rebel against the existence of this. You guys are worse than all the ones sending Bioware coloured cupcakes and spending months discussing crackpot fan theories.

Jarod Smiley
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Game plays good..but is overall easier, Dante is more annoying especially in the beginning, and the writing is "forced"...However, production values are pretty high, and the level design and some of the boss fights are pretty ace.

However, IMO the pros simply do not outweigh the cons. The combat engine, is the star of DMC, and here, it is simply inferior to nearly every DMC title. 60fps also feels a lot better, and no-lock on is just a bad design choice IMO. I hear many comments about how it's easier and more approachable and they like it better than the past-titles. You know what usually follows, "I never played DMC3 or DMC4" or "I never got heavily invested with any other titles before NT's DMC"

That tells me a lot of fans of this new one simply didn't have the chops to compete with the older titles on harder difficulties, and instead of this title going into more explanation or a better learning curve, it just simplifies the combat engine. NT needs to come harder...but this is a decent starting point. These 9/10's from review sites though, nah...I respectfully disagree..

Jimmy Albright
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I've only played the demo (watched a fair amount of gameplay though) and nothing I've seen makes me think DmC is anywhere close to competing with the beautiful environments in DMC4.

Alan Rimkeit
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As an original DMC fan I have to say under no circumstances am I buying the new DMC. Sorry Capcom and Ninja Theory, you fail. I played the demo and I was severely disappointed. They ruined Dante as character, from joking sarcastic prankster to emo douche. LAME.

I also do not care if the game is "beautiful". I care more about the character and flair that the old DMC games have than looks. The new game is shallow as a puddle.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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Well you haven't really played it, so your observations are moot.

To me, the demo was not a great experience either because it picked up in a rather isolated point closer to the start of the game. When his personality has not been properly defined yet.

I can't find anything about the character that characterises him as an "Emo Douche". But it is Ironic that you are just taking the smallest sample of it and calling it "as shallow as a puddle".

It's sad to see people so prejudiced against it that won't even give it an oportunity being a very decent game on its own.. So much pride..
I suppose it's your loss.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Bernardo Del Castillo - I did play it via the demo. That is all I need to know. It was terrible. Just like Resi Evil 6. Played that demo and it was terrible. Did not need to know more. And it is not my loss.

I also watched all the videos I could. Their re-characterization of Dante turned me off a lot. He is not funny or charming. He is not a prankster any more. The new Dante is not nonchalant about literally everything in the whole world. That is what made the old Dante fun in previous game for me. The new Dante is a "fight the man pissed off emoish" dumb ass. Between that and the terrible writing it is all bad bad bad.

Vinicius Capiotti
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In any case, playing a demo should be enough to decide if you wanna buy a game, not to actually analyze it. And worse than analyzing a game you haven't played is antagonizing it, like the fanbase is doing. It's kinda circle-jerky.

Matthew Calderaz
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Having played each and every installment prior, I'm just happy that the game is not a total disaster; like, say, the various recent incarnations of Western-developed Silent Hill games.

Ellis Kim
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Leigh, I would love to read your thoughts for after Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance comes out, because its such a curious case where the game got farmed out to a proven action game company that wasn't western but was Platinum. The Japanese reviews go out of their way to talk about just how "Metal Gear" it is, but I'd love to hear your thoughts as an MGS fan.

Jack Matthewson
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Personally, I considered myself a big Devil May Cry fan, having completed all of them except 3. See, I never really reveled in the combat or tried hard for SSS combos. I never mastered the stance system or spent hours in the colosseum.

I loved the world and the characters. DMC was a series where the game's cut scenes were the real reward for playing. Flashy, filled with "did he just do that" moments and dialouge that ranged from melodramatic to hilarious. I drank that stuff up. Yeah, the stories were absurd and throwaway, and it could be argued that the characters lacked depth, but the theatrical nature of it all made it worth sinking hours into, then afterwards watching the anime, reading the manga, anything to get more out of the characters and the world.

I can look at the new DmC game and recognize it as a very well made game with story and characters that will appeal to certain people. I'm not part of the brigade that want to metacritic bomb it into oblivion. If the game is good, it will sell. If people enjoy it like I enjoyed the original 4, more power to them. It's not for me though.

Mikolaj Holowko
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New dmc is a very poor game by dmc standards and mediocre game by any standards. And i think it's time for all who loved the originals to say goodbye for good to that franchise, unless a miracle happens.

Blackjack Goren
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I was one of the first people in line bitching about DmC when I saw the emo look. I had thought that was yet another poor attempt at reinventing a character in order to appeal to an ambiguous image of a Western audience. Then, I played the demo at Comic-Con, and while I found the combat system interesting in great part because of the grapples, the level did not draw me in. Then, I finally had the chance to play it properly on release, and the first level was all it took to hook me.

While not as adept as the first Devil May Cry at creating an interesting, changing world, each DmC level is brimming with style from an audiovisual perspective. It is a cohesive setting that is interesting to traverse and fight through, which is something I can't remember experiencing in the series since DMC1. The excellent voice acting and simple, easily digestible and proper story don't hurt the experience, either. Yes, DmC may not have the deep combat system of previous iterations, but it's still a highly satisfying system that allows for lots of creativity (And, to even allude to the combat system being bad, let alone as bad as DMC2's, is preposterous). Unfortunately, the high focus towards the ridiculous amount of player mechanics available without interruption for the sake of performing unique combos may have resulted in an unintended casualty.

While the omission of a targeting system is missed, especially in one-on-one confrontations, the main problem with DmC is its enemy design. While the game provides a solid variety of enemies, it does so in a way that fails to capture the value of uniqueness DMC introduced (and which Capcom promptly ignored later) back in 2001. Essentially, what made DMC's combat so fucking fun was the behavioral changes encouraged by the varied enemies on the player. For example, with the Shadow you're constantly running, constantly having to readjust your movement to his different attacks, while trying to expose his vulnerable core. In DmC however, it feels the variety in enemy design encourages less reflexive skills and more on just switching to the right weapon to do any damage, or make a very simple move (a grapple) to free the enemy from being shielded. While it can be challenging to face a combination of enemies where each respond to a different attack type, fighting most enemies feels largely the same (except for the Dreamrunner, and to a lesser extent the Witch), which are designed to encourage cool combos, but not to encourage intense, pay-fucking-attention-or-you'll-get-killed fights. Bosses fair even worse, where (despite the last one) fights boil down to jumping and hitting the gargantuan enemy, and then running away until the highly telegraphed attack is completed and easily evaded. The grapples add a cinematic feel to the battles, but it's all shallow and boring. In Son of Sparda difficulty, much like in DMC3, boss fights drag for too long; the game asking for more patience than skill. In a way, I'd put DmC in the same pantheon as the God of War series. Despite having different settings and level structures, both games offer high spectacles in a cohesive package, along with satisfying yet relatively shallow combat systems.

If anyone in Ninja Theory is reading this, you're doing fine, but for the inevitable sequel, it is imperative that you improve enemy behavior. Enemies need to be more complex and force the player to fight differently in a significant way. The player shouldn't have to dodge one attack and then rest, all of the time. Sometimes encouraging the player to perform a sequence of moves to survive is necessary. Sometimes you want to encourage the player to pay attention for longer periods of times by reacting to aggressive enemies that don't let up after the first strike. Also, you might want to give the option to turn on a combo timer, requiring players to keep a combo going to prevent a rank-deflating penalty, like previous DMCs. This allows for more aggressive playstyles, and force players to keep combos going while avoiding damage.

Yet, what still amazes me is the pseudo-cult following of Devil May Cry 3.

Capcom has yet to surpass the original Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry 2 made terrible mistakes in absolutely every single aspect of the game, and while DMC3 and 4 are solid games thanks to their solid combat systems, their level designs are nowhere as interesting as DMC's, nor are their enemies as highly entertaining to fight (the enemy design of the Shadow and the Phantom are unsurpassed brilliance in the franchise). In Devil May Cry, there was careful attention spent on making every single enemy play a significantly unique role, one that made each encounter feel unique; and it married these encounters with visually interesting, space-conscious environments (something DMC2 ignored most of all by making huge areas where the bland use of overpowered Ebony & Ivory were encouraged). Despite the crappy voice acting and boring story, the cohesion between setting, enemies and player mechanics made the world of the original DMC immersible, which made fighting in it a great pleasure. DMC3 and 4 took DMC's original style and made it ridiculous, losing its sense of cohesion and boiling down the game into a pace-sacrificial arena fighter. Sometimes I feel DMC3 apologists would be fine with level after level of graybox (or a horde mode, or whatever) as long as they could fight enemies over and over (which those games kind of do). DMC3 particularly reminds me of the harder difficulties of Ninja Gaiden 3, where the game barely survived on the shell of its storied combat system, yet it was marred by nearly broken difficulty and unappealing locations. The fact that so many people hold DMC3 in such high regard, even after Ninja Gaiden had come out in '04 and basically set the bar even higher, is beyond me.

If anyone wants to enjoy the best games of the genre, the three games I can completely recommend without hesitation are, in growing quality, Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta (the proper, "spiritual" sequel to DMC). For people that are so obsessed with ranking and ridiculous challenge in action games regardless of the shitty settings they take place in (I actually highly respect this desire, as well), I'd recommend they try 1ccing Cave shooters through completion. Succeeding in these games is far more satisfying than getting S rankings in DMCs.

Tom Battey
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Wow. A really interesting take on the series. It's strange to hear from a DMC fan who doesn't automatically consider DMC3 the best one.

And while DMC3 actually IS my favourite game of the lot, you're dead on in many respects. DMC hasn't been fresh or exciting since the first instalment. In many ways DMC3 is a love-letter to the combat system introduced in the first game, which makes DMC4 a love-letter to a love-letter to a combat system (which is frankly embarrassing).

The original DMC, though still the most interesting, has too many flaws, or perhaps we should call them 'kinks', for me to consider it the actual best in series. The backtracking and key-in-lock puzzles, doubtless a hang-on from when the game was still a Resident Evil title, make replays aggravating affairs, and the less said about the terrible underwater sequence the better. The game also has a really weak final section, culminating in a weird panza-dragoon sort of boss fight that makes no mechanical sense in the context of the rest of the game.

In a weird way, then, perhaps we've never actually had a truly great Devil May Cry game. 3, for me, remains the 'purest' in the series, but this brings brings me to a point I find uncomfortable: that many DMC fans seem to view the games as nothing more than a superlative combat system stapled roughly over a random spread of unimportant levels.

It's why so few people can see past the unarguably less-masterful combat of the new DmC and see the things the game does much better than any other in the series; pacing, for one, and an actual attention to level design.

What I'll say of the new game, then, is that while it never hits the highs of the best in the series, this the game with the fewest sections that flat-out suck. That must count for something.

And to correct an earlier point, I'll conclude with this: perhaps Bayonetta is the only truly great Devil May Cry game released to date.

Glen Cooney
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"The fact that so many people hold DMC3 in such high regard, even after Ninja Gaiden had come out in '04 and basically set the bar even higher, is beyond me."

There is a big difference between DMC3 and Ninja Gaiden. DMC3 was hard, but always fair - if you died, it was your fault. NG has a bunch of enemies capable of taking a third of your health away with exploding shurikens you won't see coming from off-screen. That was a major turn-off to me and I stopped playing the game fairly early. Perhaps NG Sigma fixed that, but I haven't checked out that one.

Mechanically, I think Bayonetta was pretty good, but I didn't really care for the overall goofiness of the storyline, which make the game significantly less interesting to me. On mechanics alone, I'd probably say Bayonetta and DmC are on equal footing, imo.

Vinicius Capiotti
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I think the game is focused on being consistent, accessible, creative and enjoyable throughout it's whole gameplay, keeping you engaged and not feeling cumbersome at any time. It delivers that, and feels like a great action game for my taste.

Personally, I feel NT is trying to organize what was a big mess to begin with. DMC always had great elements, but wasn't really elegant in it's design. Maybe that was it's charm though, along with the "hardcoreness" it lacks now.

PS: One thing I learned is stuff like character and style is meant to "grow on you". Playing a demo (or not even that) is not enough to analyze these kind of design decisions. New Dante is a cool fellow, btw.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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Thanks, It's really terrible to see how in this medium where we should be open and intelligent, so many people act with such profound prejudice and zealotry.

Sure, the game IS DIFFERENT.
Different is not GOOD or BAD, it makes choices, it has advantages and flaws, but even as a fan of the first iterations, I was more than willing to give it a try, and I was not disappointed, there was a lot more depth and charm than I expected.

I suppose some people are just fanboys, and they need to secure their fanboyism by assuring that what they love never changes...

Alan Rimkeit
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@Bernardo Del Castillo - Sorry man, some of do think it is that bad. Just our opinion. No harm no foul. I appreciate that you like the game. We obviously do not.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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But that is clearly just an opinion, since a lot of the specialized critics, writers and players that I know have considered the writing a very strong suit for the game...

Even by most game standards the acting, the writing, the direction and general sense of pacing are actually at least very competent, so i cant help but think that you are negatively biased.

To me it is a good gauge when unanimously the critics praise the accomplishments of a game, just raging against it doesn't make your point seem reasonable. Having finished the game once, I can say that yeah, there is a lot of unnecessary cursing. But the characters are well structured and deeper than in any of the previous entries. And although I did not like the expectable final twist of the story, the pace , the style, and the general narrative proficiency remained quite polished through the game.

Maybe the PR makes it look more juvenile than it is? I doubt that it can get any more juvenile than some of Dante's lines in DMC3...

And believe me, after the demo I was not sold at all.
Of course the game has it's problems, but I'm being objective, and not dismissing in principle. You guys sure can if it helps you sleep at night.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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Ok, I didn't think it would be necessary to explain but here goes it:

-85% metacritic, with hundreds of critics praising the narrative competency and the writing of the game.
-My personal experience playing, confirming that the general quality of the game is objectively quite high. Even taking into account it's weaknesses.


-Some dudes on the internet that won't even acknowledge objectively the positives and negatives of the product, or have not even played it and dismiss it by principle.

(@Alan you played the demo, you watched some videos, but you are still so biased that you use that very detached experience as to judge the whole game... Sorry, still think your criticism of the complete product is invalid)

Keep in mind that I dont hold any particular reviewer's word as law, but considering how general the approval of the game's narrative quality is within PROFESSIONALS that make money by rating games as objectively as they can, I think its safe to say this is not at all a failure. If there was no concensus, or if there was a more polarized view on the subject (AKA, if there were scores all over the board, as if this was a tarantino or david lynch film), I'd take the opinion more seriously. But as it stands it sounds simply as fans that didn't get what they wanted.

Sure you have your opinion, you are entitled to it, I can't do anything to change it, but you can't expect it to be the truth...

I'm not denying that there are some points to your criticism, but looking at it from here, the lack of middle ground makes it sound like: "la, la, la, I dont care what you all say, It's still bad even if it wasnt DmC", which as stated is just an opinion, not the truth.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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Well to be honest..
there's nothing to say about that, you think it's invalid that people who actually know about writing here think its rather good? fine.
You think ALL the critics in the videogame universe adhered to metacritic are shallow and have bad taste in writing? fine.
You think that old Devil May Cry games had better writing, fine.

Of course, everything is opinion. Particularly in art there is no way for me to prove ANY truths, so the closest thing we have is consensus.
Sure maybe everyone else is wrong...but maybe it's time to start asking yourself if you're the one not looking at it objectively.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Bernardo Del Castillo - Thanks for dismissing another person's opinion. Really. That's awesome. Thumbs up 100%. Oh and BTW, it is "true" for me. And apparently a lot of other people too.

I am not spending $60 on a game that I see as sub par. Sorry, but that is it for me. Have fun playing the new DMC.

Glen Cooney
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@ Brion

I think you are looking at what constitutes "good story" a bit narrowly here. For visual media (movies and video games), the story is told through more than just the dialog, but through the art style, music, and (in the case of games) the gameplay itself. There are many channels through which narrative can be conveyed and experienced.

Action games in general are not about having a particularly sophisticated or elaborate plot, they are about *visceral* appeal. In the case of games, it is about creating an atmosphere that feels awesome and fosters the emotions associated with action - excitement, power, domination, etc.

In this respect, DMC 3 and DmC are not so different - they both have the entire experience revolve around creating an exciting and badass atmosphere for the player to fight in. I would argue that even a more story-heavy action game like Metal Gear Solid (namely 2 and 4) present the story more for the sake of atmosphere than to actually convey a compelling, coherent plot.

In other words, DmC's story is what it is. Just like it's pointless to complain that a nutrition label didn't leave you in tears it is pointless to expect an action game to present a cranially-stimulating story. Not unless they are really going out their way to do so.

I think the big reason why people are quick to defend DmC is because, regardless of taste, it is a well-made game. It's not like they cut corners or rushed the game and got sloppy. The quality of its craftsmanship is obvious. It is one thing to say you don't care for a game, its another to then say the game is crap.

And for what its worth, I don't think the demo did it justice. Personally fighting a caricature of Bill O'Reilly was what hooked me in, but maybe that's just me.

Augusto Flores
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I come in reading expecting to read about the "Grace" of Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry. Usually, the grace would refer to anything from the "fluidity" of the combat mechanics, the "beauty" of the art, or even the story, who knows unless you read on, right? Well I read on...

Alright, I didn't really come in expecting grace, I expected a trend to continue and I was right. This article is in defense of the DmC game. Many articles across the internet are defending this game but the fact of the matter is why should they have to? Practically 83% of all the articles that have relations to "this game" are literally pointless. The only thing those articles EVER accomplish is extending the continued heated conversation after the game has released. They offer a useless podium for any person that wants to be chastised for defending or attacking the game in general, the article and it's contents is only ever discussed rarely then it's off to the rage wars.

I know some of you users of the internet mean well with making these articles, you see this blind rage for this "thing" that you believe "they" fail to comprehend and you want them to see. It can't be helped that perspectives/opinions of others are VASTLY different than yours but this horse has been beaten to death. Why is it still brought up? Is the goal to keep it relevant?

Y'know, I actually wanted the entire article to bloom with grace. No mention to it's predecessors, no mention to it's ultimate fate or it's alternative destiny, no fan slamming, no mention to Bayonetta even... I would have loved just one article on the internet that genuinely held no grudges (of any form) or an agenda to push. (generally speaking, of course. if your article does not contain something or other, disregard it)

Zoran Cunningham
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For what it's worth, as a former university literature instructor, I actually found the dialogue and characterization of Dante very well done on the part of Ninja Theory. I found myself actually caring about the new Dante and enjoying his lines. I've read so many posts that berate the game for having childish writing, but I'm not seeing it in DMC.

What many consider as the series darling in DMC3 had terrible one liners and dialogue. It was one of those games that made me embarrassed to be a gamer whenever I heard Dante speak. Far too many eye-rollers for my personal taste.

In addition to the writing, the voice acting, pacing, and level design in the new DMC are quite fun. I played a few missions every night and found each session very enjoyable. I want more of this Dante and this universe. It's my favorite entry in the Devil May Cry series and if there ever is a sequel, I hope Ninja Theory will be at the helm. Under-appreciated as they are.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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I seriously dont understand what games some people have been playing that blame this particular entry for awful or childish characters and writing.

Sigh... I guess its actually pointless to even discuss it though...

Glen Cooney
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I honestly don't understand the hate for DmC. While arguing about it may seem "pointless" to some people, I think it's interesting and instructive in how to make a reboot and understanding what to do and not do to alienate fans. Now, I was a huge fan of DMC 3, and I personally think this game is as good, if not in some ways better, than that game was.

For the story, I feel DMC 3's biggest strength was how the aesthetic of the entire game went really well together, from the story, to the soundtrack, and even the art style. It made me as a player feel badass, and it was an enjoyable if shallow demon slaying story. The new DmC comes at the franchise with a new theme, one of rebellion against the oligarchy of big corporations, and I think it nails that feeling very well. Yeah, Dante isn't quite as carefree and cavalier as he was before, but for me DMC was much more about the world and overall theme than Dante himself.

As for mechanics, I don't really think saying the game is dumbed down is a legitimate criticism. In DMC 3, you could only have two weapons and one style equipped at any given time, and the main depth came in the combos you could pull off. This restriction, and the fact that you could only change equipment at altars made me just stick with the two weapons I liked best and never really bothered with the others. By comparison, in DmC you have access to your entire arsenal of 7 weapons and can swap them out on the fly, and all of them have their own niche uses. The entire combat system is designed around swapping weapons constantly, even in mid-combo, to the point where manual targeting was removed (which I didn't really mind, personally). So while any one weapon may not seem very deep, the fact that you have all of them available at any time I think is at least equivalent to a so called "deeper" combo system previous games have. Plus, the added mechanics of pulling enemies to you or you toward your enemies is a great addition in my book.

I think if this game was not called DmC or used that IP, people would not be nearly as pissed off about it. This really isn't a bad game, and it doesn't deserve the bashing its getting. I think it's just a matter of it being just too different from the old DMC game to please some die hard fans, while simultaneously leaning too heavily on the crutch of an establish franchise in its marketing to be able to stand on its own in the eyes of consumers.

Just my two cents.

Blackjack Goren
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Glen Cooney said:

"So while any one weapon may not seem very deep, the fact that you have all of them available at any time I think is at least equivalent to a so called "deeper" combo system previous games have."

Combat systems have greater depth when it takes great skill to dominate a game's varied, tough enemies (by extension, the mechanic or system's depth of *any* game is directly proportional to the degree of skill it takes to master - chess being a good example). This may or may not involve the player having more moves or weapons, as depth is about how much skill it would take for a player to master the game.

DmC is an easier game to master because most enemies are relatively easy to beat, regardless of the difficulty setting. In other words, I don't need to become a combo wizard and master of all weapons to comfortably dispose of most of them (in fact, use the demon weapons more often and see how overpowered they can be, and how easy it its to reach S+ rankings that way). The same cannot be said of enemies in DMC1 or DMC3, since their combat systems are, by comparison, deeper. In those games the player is required, through paying attention to complex enemy behavior and muscle memory, to master the more difficult player mechanics to overcome tough enemies with ease. In DmC, theoretically, the gap between a poor player and a great player is significantly shorter than the gap between a good DMC1/3 player and a bad one (the gap here defines depth, as it does in all games), because in DmC there isn't enough challenge to demand more from the player, no matter how many more moves he has immediately available. Therefore, players who are used to pushing the limits of action games would naturally, and rightfully, be disappointed with the challenge provided by DmC.

However, this isn't enough reason for me not to like the game. A game can be challenging to master and still be boring to play, as mechanics also need to be satisfying to execute, etc. As a result, I really wish I could convince more people to play DmC, since it gets a lot of everything else right. Enemies respond satisfyingly to being attacked, the music, dialog and the little cuts of Dante's "just bring it!" face as he prepares for the next wave of enemies really make fighting fun, some levels are bat-shit crazy awesome, and I like how believable the characters were despite the ridiculous setting. I had a lot of fun playing the game despite being a regular player of the genre, and being relatively picky about games not being hard enough. It's definitely worth a serious look beyond the demo.