Friday, January 18, 2013

DmC: Devil May Cry Review

Gameplay (5/10) - The gameplay of DmC is nothing special nor is it terrible. There are several unique elements in DmC's game design, including a lack of a lock-on system, switching of weapons by holding the shoulder buttons, two unique grapple abilities, and a large amount of platforming in addition to the standard fighting. These game design ideas all have their flaws, as the lack of a lock-on system causes fights in small areas to be difficult as it becomes hard to see targets as well as focus on specific enemies; the platforming becomes tired very quickly as there is little to no creativity in their design; and the use of shoulder buttons to switch weapons isn't too bad, but it can become cumbersome, especially when trying to pull off more advanced combos. Also, to note, boss fights are very uncreative, repetitive, and more frustrating than fun. Overall, the gameplay is nothing impressive, but it doesn't become frustrating until the game's latter half when fights become more difficult and the lack of a lock-on system becomes a real problem.

Graphics (4/10) - The graphics of DmC were perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game, as Ninja Theory has shown some good talent with graphics in the past, especially when it came to art direction. DmC, however, is boring when it comes art direction and very disappointing when it comes to the technical aspects of the graphics. The art direction of the game is defined by the colors: red, blue, and green. In theory, this could've worked, as red represents Dante/demons/evil, blue represents Virgil/angels/serenity, and green is when the two mix. The problem is that the stage art direction focuses on one color per stage, and the end result is a very boring presentation. Technically, everything wrong with the Unreal engine (texture pop-in, framerate issues, etc.) are here in spades, and overall the game just looks ugly. The only good thing to talk about is the motion capturing on the faces; unfortunately, good mocap is nothing special these days because everyone does it well now. The horror themes come through in the art direction, especially in the enemy design, but it gets tired very quickly (and later enemy design gets pretty bad).

Sound (4/10) - Dante's voice acting is great, Virgil, Kat, and Mundus are good; nothing else really stands out aside from that. The music is very forgetful, and at times quite unfitting.

Story (3/10) - There is nothing memorable in the story of DmC. Neither its characters nor its events are interesting or compelling. Furthermore, the tone of the story is very dark; which wouldn't be a bad thing if executed well, but here it's done quite poorly. Often, a story has a dark tone to provide a dark theme, or to allow for violence to occur more naturally in its setting, but with DmC, there is no real purpose to being dark. There is no real moral to the story, nor a building connection to the characters; everything just happens and that's it. Going off of that note, the story also has several moments that are just uncomfortable to watch. I guess Ninja Theory deserves a little credit for trying to build a character arc between Dante and Virgil, but it fails to live up to the excellent arc the two characters shared in DMC3; the same could be said for Dante's memory of his mother.

Replay Value (5/10) - If you enjoy the gameplay of DmC, you'll have a lot to play with. The stages are explorable and have secret rooms and Lost Souls to find as well. You can also go for the SSS ranks in each level; though it isn't very hard to get S ranks in DmC, especially compared to past DMC games.

Satisfaction (4/10) - DmC is not worth the time. It's weak in every aspect of its design, and it outshined by nearly all of its peers. The story is weak and sometimes disturbing, the music if forgetful, and the gameplay doesn't have any real punch to it.


The score I want to and should give it  - (4/10):  Ninja Theory really disappoints with DmC. A studio that I thought would at least provide an interesting visual experience and a good story provided a visually ugly game with a story that concerned itself more with being vulgar than telling a strong story of good vs. evil. A real shame considering the blank slate given to them with this reboot. They gave it a good shot with the gameplay, however, so I suppose they do deserve at least a little recognition. In the end, "unimpressive" is the word I'd use to describe DmC. As a stylish 3D-action game, it really doesn't live up to any of the standards set by its peers, even Ninja Theory's own Heavenly Sword.

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