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

Ninja Theory and Capcom deliver a winning combo

Thus far, DmC has been defined by the caustic relationship between Ninja Theory and a vocal subset of hateful fans. At the epicentre of the controversy is a new look Dante; he's not the Dante these fans want, entirely because he doesn't look like the Dante they know. This is the fire smoke blowers are fanning to obscure the greater ambition, more fool them.

DmC is bold and brilliant; a glorious union of East and West that marries deep and responsive gameplay with high-quality production values, vivacious environments and engaging characters. From here on out, DmC will be defined as the game that pulled the franchise back from the brink.

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Got the Devil's Haircut in My Mind

The irony of it all is that, beyond the visual differences, Dante is the same cocksure rogue. In fact, most of the returning Devil May Cry cast aren't all that different, they've just been reinterpreted through a modern lense, bringing them in line with the contemporary setting and giving them some much needed texture.

Dante is humanised, and is a more interesting character because of it. His story is charted from the very beginning, from orphaned infant to rebellious teen growing up on the mean streets. A lost soul searching for his humanity and struggling with his inner devil, who becomes an alcohol guzzling, sexually promiscuous loose cannon.

Of course, he plays the brazen bad boy too, and in that respect Ninja Theory has turned him up to 11. He curses up a storm, filling our ears with F-bombs at a frequency we've not heard since playing Bulletstorm. His one-liners are as corny and as crass as ever, but delivered so well that it's impossible not to chuckle.

Mundus, DmC's prime antagonist, is no longer the abstract threat looming over the player until the closing moments. Instead he's an ever-present manifestation of modern fears and anxieties: a fat cat bureaucrat commanding an Orwellian world of his creation, controlling the flow of information and crippling it under debt.

New character Kat has a way with witchcraft, making her indispensable to Dante in his quest for revenge and liberation, but she hides a troubled past that touches on some very sensitive issues. As the only fully human main character, she also serves as the moral anchor.

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DmC's narrative is nuanced in a similar fashion. In its broad strokes the story plays out similar to the original, but the old angels-and-demons yarn is a little more colorful thanks to the biting social commentary and clever satire woven into it.

The moments in which DmC pushes up against the fourth wall are its most memorable. For example, Raptor News Network anchor Bob Barbas spreads demon propaganda and villainises Dante. He's a creep with a comb over that preaches about "doing God's work". The similarities to a certain Fox News host are obvious, which makes it all the sweeter when you get to smack him around. One of the game's more memorable missions sees Dante forced to compete in 'The Devil's Got Talent', a gauntlet of platforming and combat challenges.

DmC's many hooks into the real world give it cultural relevance, a rare quality in video games.

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