Devil May Cry (DmC) might have been possibly the most confusing and underwhelming titles for a game, but the game itself was far from underwhelming. DmC, as a franchise, has a storied history in the games industry and has a dedicated fanbase, unlike any other game franchise.
CAPCOM, despite the success of the then-last title in the series, Devil May Cry 4, decided it was time for the series to be taken into a new direction. After their impressive work on games like Heavenly Sword, Ninja Theory caught CAPCOM's attention, and they were considered the perfect candidate for a massive series reboot.
The studio was tasked with taking the series in an entirely different direction, but that always comes with a certain level of scrutiny by the fans. In 2010, rumors began to float around that Ninja Theory would be working on a reboot of the franchise, which raised many eyebrows amongst the fanbase.
Devil May Cry had never been developed by a Western studio before, and many felt that the series would lose its identity. CAPCOM confirmed the reboot and the game DmC: Devil May Cry, and the reception was heavily one-sided.
The most underrated game of the last decade
"You don't f*** with a god."
As Mundus so bluntly proclaims at the end of the game, fans do not want the core gameplay and identity of the Devil May Cry franchise to be trifled with. However, as a studio tasked with reinventing the franchise, that is exactly what Ninja Theory must do.
DmC: Devil May Cry is as chaotic and beautifully devastating as the rest of the games in the gameplay series. Combos still take ages to perfect and to remember, and the style meter is as unforgiving and challenging as players would expect.
The pace, aggression, and style of Devil May Cry is intact, which is exactly what players wanted. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Ninja Theory chose to kit the wheel out with chrome rims and shiny new elements.
There are new weapons that the player can switch at will and combine with others to keep their combo up and increase their style meter. The separation between Angelic and Demonic weaponry and enemies makes for a lot of gameplay variety and adds to each combat sequence's challenge.
On greater difficulties, the number of enemies on the screen can increase massively, and the enemy types are extremely well-done. There is enough variety in enemies and weapons to keep purists and veterans of the franchise engaged.
Gone were the neo-gothic styling of Devil May Cry that fans had grown accustomed to, replaced by perhaps an even richer idea. While the plot for DmC Devil May Cry isn't exactly riveting or groundbreaking, it serves as a great starting point, and its world-building is second to none.
The 2013 game sees Dante reunite with his twin Vergil and join forces to form The Order that seeks to overthrow the Demon rule of Mundus. Except, his rule is slightly more insidious, and demons control the world through far, nuanced ways.
Surveillance, media manipulation, and debt form the bedrock of Mundus' rule over humanity. This is what The Order seeks to uncover and dismantle, all the while hacking and slashing their way through Limbo, which is the star of the game.
Limbo is a living, breathing city that constantly transforms and shifts in a way that lends itself to gameplay and storytelling. The city, a demonic entity unto itself, fights back against Dante, which results in perhaps the most inspired and creative level designs in video games' history.
From fighting within a primetime news presentation to vaulting over upside-down skyscrapers, DmC Devil May Cry has a lot to offer. From brilliant level design to actually intelligent commentary and satire, the game has layers to it that is often overlooked.
Much like Doom, it is hard to talk about Devil May Cry and not bring up the soundtrack. The original franchise's music is synonymous with the games themselves with its heavy-metal electronic styling and gothic undertones.
2013's DmC: Devil May Cry sees a fresh, bold, new sound come to the forefront. This time around, the soundtrack would comprise electronic and bass n' drum outfit Noisia and aggrotech and industrial metal giants Combichrist.
The result was a pulsating and aggressive soundscape that sounds exactly like the music one wants to be slaughtering demons. Tracks like "Pull The Pin" and the fan-favorite "Never Surrender" truly showcase the reboot's aggressive and heavy sonic identity.
To imagine a better intro to the new Dante's personality better than Combichrist's "Throat Full of Glass" is nigh impossible.
Noisia's tracks such as "Lilith's Club" and "Mundus' Theme" showcase how completely different sounds and genres can still blend into one coherent sonic idea. All in all, the gameplay goes so well with the soundtrack that it is hard to talk about one without the other.
So with this much to still love? Where exactly did it go wrong?
My name..is Dante
2010 Tokyo Game Show saw CAPCOM release the first trailer for DmC Devil May Cry featuring a moody, Hot Topic haircut-sporting protagonist slaughtering demons by the dozens. Many chalked up the protagonist to be someone entirely new and not the pizza-loving, one-liner enthusiast they know from previous games.
However, as the trailer drew to a close, the protagonist was confirmed as Dante, sending millions into a complete breakdown. The internet was rife with how CAPCOM had essentially "ruined" Devil May Cry and how Dante's redesign was a colossal misstep on the studio.
Even before the game had come out, millions had cast judgment that the game was not worth their time. A general feeling of discontent was widespread on the internet, and the new "Emo Dante" was the culprit.
However, the design would actually go over several changes and iterations before arriving at how Dante was in the 2013 game. Over the next few months and years, fans would be audience to some actually interesting and fantastic trailers that showcased more of the world Ninja Theory was trying to build.
Dante: A journey, not the destination
Soon after the game was released, it came out to a relatively mixed reception, with many praising its core combat and even platforming mechanics and level design. In contrast, many had issues with the character of Dante himself.
It takes little more than one cutscene to realize that this is completely not the Dante players remember for the old days. Instead, this is a snarky, unlikeable, and dare say, abrasive character hard to get attached to.
However, DmC Devil May Cry was the beginning of a journey instead of the final destination. Over the course of the game, Dante learns of his abilities and begins to show a sense of maturity and charm, slowly turning into the Dante players have come to love.
By the end, Dante is a likable protagonist who has shown that he is capable of change and has layers to him. Cutscenes of him recounting the days of his childhood and how delinquency is how he coped with the ghosts of his past showcases the layers to his character.
While yes, it isn't as fun as killing demons while eating pizza and then breaking into a Michael Jackson routine, it is slightly more nuanced. Dante was abrasive and unlikeable at the start of the 2013 game by design, only to showcase how he can change by the end.
Alas, the game unfortunately did not sell well enough to warrant a sequel, and CAPCOM decided to revive the old franchise again with Devil May Cry 5. This is sad as Ninja Theory sets up a brilliant world and sequel by the end of the 2013 reboot, but fans will probably never get to see what they had in store.