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‘DmC: Definitive Edition’ Review: Sweet Carnage

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It’s been two long years since developer Ninja Theory took the reins on Capcom’s popular series of demon genocide simulators with DmC: Devil May Cry. I’ve been a fan of the series for some time, but DmC took everything I loved about those games — the fluid combat, stylish world and the monsters that inhabit it, whose soul purpose is to take a lengthy bludgeoning from me.

With the Definitive Edition, Dante and friends are back and better than ever. This package brings with it a bevy of content, including all of the original game’s DLC, as well as a number of fan-requested tweaks to the combat, such as the addition of a lock-on ability if you’re looking to single out a specific baddie for some whoopassery.

It’s no secret that DmC, and specifically Dante’s new look, has polarized many fans of the series. If you count yourself among them, go right on ahead and skip this.

For those of you who enjoyed the reboot, or if you’re simply looking for a stylish, colorful and insanely addictive action game from a developer that specializes in creating stylish, colorful and insanely addictive action games, you’ll want to get this.

First off, since I’ve already reviewed the game’s original incarnation, I’m going to skip detailing some of what should be pretty common knowledge by now. If that’s information you’d like to know, I suggest you check out my review of the original game.

Before we get into why this is worth buying, I’m going to say something that no critic should say.

I’m biased. That’s right, I said it. I have a bias toward games that make me look like I have skills, when in reality, my talents would likely rank below average in games of this genre. Before this reboot came along, I hadn’t been able to get into the Devil May Cry series because of their unforgiving difficulty and my aforementioned ineptitude with any game that requires I memorize button combinations or react quickly.

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One of the things that makes DmC so brilliant is it manages the impressive feat of catering for helplessly inadequate gamers such as myself, while at the same time providing enough of a challenge for longtime fans of the series. The original game did this well, and the Definitive Edition takes that a step further.

Capcom has used fan feedback to re-balance the enemies and fine-tune the weapons, even going so far as to add the oft-requested manual lock-on so you can target individual enemies you’d like to get intimate with, and a new Turbo Mode that speeds up the gameplay by 20%.

They’ve also upscaled the graphics to support 1080p and run at a smooth 60fps so you can see every glorious detail.

Skilled demon hunters will want to take a look at the new difficulty modes — Hardcore, Must Style and Gods Must Die — for a real challenge.

Hardcore amps up the difficulty a bit further, bringing the gameplay closer to the unforgiving nature of the original games. The Gods Must Die mode bestows enemies with the Devil Trigger ability while at the same time makes them deal considerably more damage, and in Must Style, enemies can only take damage when your style rank is at least an S. I remember seeing that letter a few times when I was playing it, but it’s been so long I fear it might have been just a dream.

I’d say by now, this game has enough difficulty tiers that anyone should be able to have a good time with it, or whatever the “good time” equivalent is beyond the “I’m a baby, please go easy on me” mode I’m most fond of.

Because wave survival modes are all the rage right now, a new Bloody Palace mode has been introduced for Vergil, Dante’s brother, which takes place in a 60-floor arena that’s brimming with all sorts of monsters. This is a somewhat tougher version than the original Bloody Palace. I wasn’t able to make it very far, but anything that gives Vergil more screen-time is more than welcome.

As much as I loved DmC, I never tried its DLC. It all worked out nicely though, since this bundle comes with all of it. I had no idea that included weapon skins — my Dante’s sporting the bone weapons, and I refuse to answer to anything but “The Reaper” when I’m playing with them — and there’s a handful of character skins in there, too.

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The original game’s only story expansion, Vergil’s Downfall, is in there, and after playing it, I can’t say I’m too impressed. It’s more of the same, and that even extends to Vergil’s abilities, which aren’t really all that different from his brother’s. It feels underdeveloped and only worth it for those seeking the whole story, or at least a fresh perspective.

It helped me be able to understand Vergil as a character, and he does come equipped with some nifty twists on existing abilities thanks to his telekinetic powers, which also make up for his not having guns. I’m going to sound like an upset parent when I say this, but it’s not that I didn’t like it, I’m just disappointed by it.

In my original review, I said the time I spent with DmC was the most fun I’ve ever had playing a Devil May Cry game, and that’s still true. It’s actually more true now, even though I had already beaten the game twice before jumping into this edition.

Everything that made the game so refreshing in 2013 is present in the Definitive Edition. The combat is still intuitive, and switching between bludgeoning and hacking away at the demon hordes with Dante’s arsenal of weapons is so satisfying.

The last two years have put nary a dent in the awe-inspiring world that developer Ninja Theory created, which I still find myself taking time from my current objective just so I can soak it up.

The Final Word: Thanks to some welcome rebalancing of existing mechanics and a considerable amount of content, one of the greatest action games of 2013 may very well end up being one of the greatest action games of 2015.

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