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DmC Devil May Cry review: Better than the devil you know

Ninja Theory and Capcom deliver a winning combo

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Like previous entries in the franchise, DmC has a scoring system that grades players from D to SSS based on combo ability. Since players are no longer penalised for repeating moves, the system is much more forgiving than in older editions. Repetition decreases the points value of a move, thereby making it harder to advance grades, but the only thing that will knock you down a grade is taking damage.

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DmC's combat systems are intuitive and layered in gently enough that newcomers can get a grasp on them without too much difficulty. But at the same time those with a mind for frame counters and lengthy combos will find a deep, fluid combat that provides plenty of tools to experiment with. Those inclined to put in the time to explore the ins and outs of weapons, Dante's movement capabilities and Devil Trigger will find more than enough room to get creative. We suspect it won't be long before YouTube is filled with jaw-dropping exhibition videos.

Rounding up the gameplay suite is DmC's platforming sections, which are built around the aforementioned lift and grab abilities. These short segments involve using a mixture of jumps, double jumps, glides and grappling to traverse environments. Occasionally Dante will need to manipulate the makeup of the world using the grab too. It's not particularly challenging but a welcome change of pace.

As much as we loved playing through DmC, there were elements that we felt were lacking, and a few technical issues that marred an otherwise outstanding experience.

The first is boss battles, which - unfortunately - more or less amount to staying at a distance and avoiding attacks until the telegraphed opening in the boss's defences appears, then rushing in and spamming attacks; rinse and repeat. This is a shame because in terms of scale, design and presentation they're spectacular, just very ordinary from a gameplay standpoint.

Enemies are a slight letdown too. Although they all certainly serve their function well by forcing players to mix up weapons usage and strategies, their design lacks imagination. There's a normal one, a flying one and some with shields. Eventually a big one is introduced, some feral animals show up and towards the end there's a ninja dude.

Yes, we're being reductive, but they're all pedestrian next to Shadow from the first Devil May Cry, or the Damned Chessmen from Devil May Cry 3. Given the high level of creativity put into everything else, the humdrum enemies are an obvious weak link.

From a technical perspective the auto-lock created issues on occasion, most notably during the more frantic battles where multiple targets threw the camera off track and redirected attacks. In encounters with large groups of enemies this issue can make prioritising threats more difficult than it should be.

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Ultimately, these are blemishes that when you step back and look at the complete package are negligible. Certainly, none of it will stop most from diving right back in to finish challenge rooms, hunt down collectibles and replay the game on harder difficulties, where enemies have entirely new moves, behaviours and placements.

Capcom has previously said that, had it continued along the path it was on, it didn't see a future in the Devil May Cry franchise. Ninja Theory has given it new life. DmC is a superb reboot that delivers on all fronts, and does it with aplomb. For the first time in ages, we're excited to see where Devil May Cry goes next.

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The verdict

A dazzling world, great characters, interesting story, breezy humour and robust combat mechanics. Lay down your pitchforks and pick up a controller, you won't regret it

  • Deep combat systems
  • Interesting story and characters
  • An outstandingly designed array of environments
  • By the numbers boss encounters
  • Dull enemies
  • Occasional camera hiccups
9
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Ninja Theory
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Action

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