Capcom’s infamous penchant for re-releasing games continues with a revamped edition of 2013’s Ninja Theory-developed DmC Devil May Cry, a reboot of Capcom’s stylish action series, Devil May Cry. While fans were divided on lead character Dante’s new trendy haircut, the change in his backstory, the extremely forgiving difficulty (compared to other games in the series) and the different visual style, critics enjoyed the game (metacritic reports an aggregate score of 85.3 cross-platform for the original release) and plenty of fans were satisfied with Dante’s reimagining.
DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition is based on the PC version of DmC Devil May Cry, which is a fitting choice considering the architecture of the PS4 and Xbox One, and that the Definitive Edition is also being released on PC. Additionally, the PC version was reported to be the smoothest-running version of the game, making this an excellent design choice.
For those who haven’t played the original release, I’ll recap: Dante (our hero) and his twin brother Vergil are the spawn of the forbidden love of a demon called Sparda, and an Angel, Eva. Their father was the right-hand-man of the king of the demons, Mundus, and Mundus took Sparda’s forbidden love as betrayal. In a rage, Mundus killed Sparda’s love and imprisoned Sparda for all eternity, demanding endless punishment and pain. Dante and Vergil, children at the time, escaped while their mother gave her life to save them.
We catch up to Dante some years later, living a carefree and reckless 20-something life on a boardwalk. He’s forgotten his past (or lost it in a bottle), and receives a warning from an unknown young woman that he’s in danger being pursued by a monstrous Hunter demon. After escaping his pursuer, the woman, named Kat, takes Dante to the headquarters of “The Order”. The Order reveal themselves to be an anarchic group preaching a message of rebellion, claiming that demons have conquered society and have enslaved the human race. The story unfolds as Dante becomes the kind of character we see in the original games, unraveling bits of Dante’s past as he embraces who he is to become.
If you’ve never played an entry in the Devil May Cry series, this one is a very good place to start. Gameplay consists of fighting various demons (while being as stylish as possible, of course), exploring the environments, collecting artifacts, and escaping from hellish landscapes alive as they attempt to swallow you whole. The entire world is against Dante, it seems, as roads collapse under his feet, walls slam shut, hallways narrow and walkways crumble, giving the player a constant sense of being watched and hunted.
Dante acquires various weapons of either demon or angel variety throughout the game, allowing the player to seamlessly integrate brand new weapons into established combos. None of the weapons feel cheesy or thrown-in for no reason, and they all serve some environmental purpose as well. Replay value in this regard is excellent, as there are often areas inaccessible to the player until they receive a new item or upgrade later in the game, prompting at least a few replays for complete clean-up.
The original gameplay has been maintained in the core experience, bringing a very approachable sort of stylish action title to neophytes. There are multiple levels (and types) of difficulty, allowing everyone to join in on the demon-slaying fun regardless of experience. The aforementioned “types” include new additions to the original title, including “Hardcore” mode (a little closer to the original titles in the series, wherein Devil Trigger doesn’t suspend enemies in midair, evade windows are narrowed and the stylish meter fills more slowly and less forgivingly), “Must Style” mode (players must get up to at least “S” ranking in the style meter to begin inflicting any damage) and Turbo mode (where gameplay is accelerated by 20 percent).
You may ask that if you already have played through the game, why should you care? Other than filling out your next-gen library, why should you play a game you’ve played before?
Essentially, it’s because the new edition towers over its last-gen older brother. Gameplay is smoother than ever before, running at 60 frames per second, double that of the original release. All of the original DLC is included on-disc, including the entirety of Vergil’s story, taking place after the chronology of the main title. Dante also comes equipped with his costumes from Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening and the original Devil May Cry, as well as an outfit for Vergil similar to his Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening costume. Bloody palace (an ongoing arena of ever-changing foes and increasing difficulty) is also included... and this time, it is included for both Dante and Vergil (whose silly fedora is now cut entirely from the game). Manual targeting is another excellent addition, allowing the player to think a little more independently than the hand-holding targeting of the original release. The manual targeting isn’t necessary, but it’s a great gameplay addition which makes the game feel that much more buttery smooth.
The acquisition of keys to open secret doors is a bit different; this time, all keys work with all doors, making the Secret missions a little easier to obtain, but also (in my opinion) making the whole concept a little less memorable and more formulaic. It works well, especially for people who didn’t play the original iteration of the title but seems slightly simpler.
DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition’s incredible framerate is of course coupled with a beautiful native 1080P resolution, making this title even more of a visual treat than its original last-gen counterpart (which is saying something). Despite the smooth 1080P resolution and fantastic framerate, texture pop-ins do occur, even if rarely. It doesn't mar the experience by any means, but does beg perhaps another week or two of polish.
I’ll admit that I was upset at Dante’s reimagining at first, but after playing the game, and seeing Ninja Theory’s interpretation of the much-beloved franchise, I became a believer. If you’re an old Devil May Cry purist who scoffs at Dante’s black hair and sneering punk attitude, I implore you to give this title a shot. I was like you once, and I was very pleased with the redesign, even if the feel of the world is a bit different from the original titles.
Ultimately, DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition is a steal for its $39.99 price tag. It provides fantastic gameplay which is accessible to all, an ingenious redesign to a beloved franchise, some very memorable moments (including some of the finer voice acting in gaming, even if some of the dialogue is as cheesy as the game’s predecessors), fascinatingly executed social commentary, plenty of replay value and - something many games are missing these days - tons of good, pure fun.
This game was purchased and reviewed by the author on the PlayStation 4.
A fun and approachable reboot, with the occasional texture pop-in and a fairly short (if memorable and polished) campaign and plenty of extra content.