DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition is a remake of a game released 2 years ago, January 2013. Why? Because remakes sell like hotcakes and consumers are like flies on shit, myself included. Despite my dislike of remakes, I really enjoyed DmC Definitive Edition.
I think the reason I like it is that it’s more than just a remake. The devs have taken into account what the fans have said. There’s an all-new hardcore mode that lets people experience the game with new balance changes. Parrying is tougher, enemies deal more damage, the style system (more on that later) is rebalanced so it’s harder to maintain point-lucrative combos. There’s a turbo mode that speeds the whole game up by 20% for faster combat. There’s a fantastic manual target-lock system from the original Devil May Cry games that lets you lock on to one enemy in particular. There’s even a selection of popular community mods that have been fully implemented, such as the ability to disable the Bloody Palace’s (arena-based fighting mode where you take on horde after horde) timer, and a triple dash for the Angel Evade technique. A lot of care went into this game.
You also get a ton of content. DmC Definitive Edition features the full DmC: Devil May Cry game, plus the spin-off campaign Vergil’s Downfall that was originally released as dlc, three Dante skins, three weapon skins, an item finder and classic skins for both Dante and Virgil for those that miss how the two used to look. Add the fact that it all plays at 60fps in 1080p and you’ve got a fun experience.
I played DmC when it first came out and was one of the few that ignored the initial criticism the game got for taking Devil May Cry in a new direction. I even liked the new Dante design – if I’d admitted that back then I’d have been crucified. With this in mind, it’s hard to review a game I’ve played before and note all the subtle changes. Some of the cutscenes have been alter slightly, and I didn’t even realise Definitive Edition’s hardest difficulty, Gods Must Die mode, was new. To be honest, I’m not even good enough at this game to attempt a difficulty higher than the standard Nephilim (hard) mode.
The gameplay itself is fast-paced and often frantic. Each weapon only has a handful of combos so it’s more about learning how to react to scenarios and what moves to use on each enemy. The witch enemy, for example, has a shield that is impenetrable by any weapon that isn’t angelic, colour coded blue (as opposed to the red demonic weapons). But throw the witch in with a bunch of other enemies and you’ve gotta learn to juggle them all at once. You’ve got standard sword and gun attacks that have no ‘element’, then you’ve got two weapon types that are assigned to holding the L2 or R2 button. L2 is the angelic weaponry, which includes a powerful scythe and quick spinning blades. R2 is the demonic weapons, including a hellish axe and a fiery gauntlets. The angelic weaponry is usually better at chipping away at enemies, whereas the demonic weapons can break down a shield. Dante also has the devil trigger ability that throws enemies into the air and gives Dante a chance to basically obliterate them. Throw in the enemies that can only be affected by one type of weapon and you’ve got average mid to end-game combat for this game. Luckily they throw new enemy types at you constantly, and the weapons are all scattered through the game and are unlockable as you play, which keeps the gameplay fresh. You’ve also got the style system to master – as you chain combos you earn a rank ranging from Dirty! to SSSensational!!!. If you stop comboing, the rank goes down, but the higher it gets the quicker Dante becomes. The real challenge is maintaining a high combo for each fight to get as many points as possible towards your rank at the end of the mission.
Dante’s story in DmC Devil May Cry Definitive Edition starts out simple – he’s being hunted by the demon king Mundus because he’s the Son of Sparda – a powerful demon. Mundus sends a hunter to take him down, but with his sword Rebellion and handguns Ebony & Ivory Dante takes him on. He later discovers, with a little help, that he is Nephilim – half angel, half demon. From there it’s a classic quest of vengeance against Mundus, with a couple twists or turns along the way – especially the final mission. I enjoyed Dante’s campaign a lot because it felt like more than a disposable plot that exists purely for the gameplay. This is a problem I had with the previous Devil May Cry games, the best example being DMC4. DmC’s plot is actually interesting and isn’t completely terrible. It’s a little cheesy in parts, especially Dante’s dialogue, but it still managed to hold my attention til the end.
Dante’s brother, Virgil, plays a lot differently in his campaign. I’ll avoid talking about plot for his campaign for those who like things spoiler-free. Gameplay-wise though, he’s fast and wields the sword Muramasa and summonable swords as his ranged weapon. He can also use his devil trigger ability to generate a doppelganger. Virgil’s campaign is much shorter than Dante’s and depicts his downfall after the events of DmC – hence the name Virgil’s Downfall.
DmC Devil May Cry Definitive Edition’s biggest and most notable improvement is of course the same in every remake – the graphics. DmC’s gritty yet colourful universe really shines through here, especially at 60fps. Character animations are smooth, environments look bright – even in the hellish underworld areas. In fact, I’d say those areas look the best. When Dante slips into Limbo, the alternate version of the real world where demons reside, the environment changes and warps but still looks impressive. A particular area, where Dante drops into Limbo and gravity flips so that the sky is downwards, comes to mind. This particular place is has a demonic blue-ish green sky below you as you navigate flipped buildings and debris. There’s even a part of this section where you go into a subway station and have to dodge oncoming trains while upside-down that still manages to look great despite the harsh terrain.
I’ve finally got to it. The soundtrack. DmC’s soundtrack is special. It’s a step forward for these fast action games. The developers basically brought in two artists, Noisia and Combichrist, to develop three soundtracks worth of intense metal and electronic music that’re implemented perfectly to reflect the gameplay. I especially love the boss fight music. A few standout favourites from the OST include Lilith Club and Bob Barbas by Noisia, and What The Fuck Is Wrong With You (that’s a fantastic name for a song, bravo) and Throat Full of Glass by Combichrist.
“Hey Bob… put a spin on this!”.
It’s definitely the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a game for a long time. Combine these tracks with the atmospheric and environmental music played in the less intense moments and the whole experience is amazing.
DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition is by no means a perfect game. The gameplay can be hard to pick up, the enemies can be a pain and the missions can occasionally drag. I’ve definitely taken the occasional break from playing because it’s just one huge sensory overload. The issues I have with it are so minor though. If you never played DmC back in 2013, or you’re feeling like delving back into it’s crazy and intense world, DmC: Definitive Edition is absolutely worth picking up and will be a nice addition to your collection.