Eurogamer Expo 2012 has closed its doors for the year, boasting over 50,000 attendees, a brand new home console showing and almost every major upcoming release being playable. Over the next 2 weeks expect to see Previews and coverage of the latest and greatest titles from the Parable team!
Any conflicts and arguments for the re-imagining of Dante’s character and appearance aside, there has been a massive concern among long term fans of the Devil May Cry series as to whether a Western developer can effectively create a successful entry in the much loved stylish Japanese Hack and Slash series. Ninja Theory are a Developer with a relatively short but high calibre resumé, having created other high quality titles within the same genre such as Heavenly Sword. I was extremely interested to see for myself whether this altered origin story managed to maintain the same high octane but extremely controlled action that was present in the original quadrilogy, or whether it would become a completely different beast entirely.
The playable demo on the Eurogamer Expo show floor was unfortunately not a new one; instead we were allowed to play the same gameplay section that was originally shown at E3 2012, which had our charismatic main character destroying “cameras” (Read: Eyeballs) throughout constantly distorting streets in limbo. The level itself was relatively short, clocking in at around 15 minutes but it feels like it was designed with the sole purpose of providing players with ample, simple experience in both the combat and platforming sections of the title as well as forcing them to test a few of the tools at their disposal.
I was a fairly big fan of the previous Devil May Cry games and unlike a good percentage of the fanbase was not particularly skeptical of this retelling, instead being eager to see what Ninja Theory did with the franchise in relation to combat. The first thing to note about combat in this new entry is that the focus has shifted from creating high powered attacks with particular weapon sets to a more fluid method involving massive combos using instant switches between a set of 3 weapons at any given time. This allows the player to create endless combinations of attacks, as different weapons are available throughout the game. Weapons and attacks also have different attributes and combined with the chain that will see almost constant use, DmC becomes an awful lot more varied than we’ve ever seen before.
Within seconds I found myself chaining together attacks to dispatch low level enemies; utilising my Angel Scythe and Demon Axe alternately to deliver speedy light attacks and crushing heavy attacks, swapping it up with barrages of dual handgun shots before delivering retribution with an airborne assault. The chain becomes incredibly useful during combat because it allows you to both drag enemies towards you and you towards them depending on your input. Within a few minutes I was mastering the concept of using uppercut attacks to take the fight to the skies, before latching onto them and destroying them as they were helpless. It plays incredibly smoothly and looks brilliant as you watch the spectacle unfold and I’m really excited to be able to spend more time with it and really get to grips with the weapons and tactics that can be employed against different opponents.
Stronger monstrosities were introduced after the first few mobs, wielding chainsaw weapons and shields and providing the first real hint of a challenge. I began to employ use of the two dodge commands as a result, which is another shake-up of the arguably more skill based method needed in the older installments. One dodge acts as a very traditional roll and the other a short teleport and as you may have guessed, each is imbued with either the Demon or Angel attribute that is a massive focus in this game. The battle system in DmC doesn’t fail to impress as it plays as good as it looks in motion.
Platforming elements take a much larger emphasis in this new Devil May Cry, utilising double jumping and a boost ability as well as the same chain that will become your best friend. The platforming works, but never really feels particularly interesting or necessary and I feel that more interesting ways of traversing the levels could have been implemented, especially considering the constantly shifting areas in limbo.
Devil May Cry played particularly well in my short demo session, and managed to dissipate any possible qualms I had with it being given over to Ninja Theory; they’ve done an excellent job with the title and taken it in a fresh, exciting direction. The full release will be available on January 15th 2013 and it’s looking to be the first major release of the new year.
We playtested the Xbox 360 version of DmC: Devil May Cry.
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