Capcom and Ninja Theory's DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition is essential for two types of gamer. Those who have never played Ninja Theory's reboot and those who have and adored it but crave an extra challenge. I've already seen this going from as little as £20 during launch week. Considering the content, the telling tweaks, extra modes and the DLC being thrown in too, that's a bargain.
First, a little on the base game itself. DmC (or Devil May Cry) is an origins story for Dante, the son of a demon father and an angel mother. His mere existence is a threat to the Demon lord, Mundus, and as such Dante is public enemy number one. Mundus controls much of the human world through debt and has demon minions running everything from soft drink companies to news networks, making it easy to track Dante down and make him out to be a menace.
Dante starts with some badass skills as his infamous weapons return in the familiar forms of a huge sword and a pair of pistols. The action sees you using combinations of both to rack up epic combos and increase your style rating, netting more points and working towards the holy grail of a SSS rating for a level.
New weapons and skills are gradually introduced, allowing Dante to pull enemies to him or him to them, making for some ludicrously inventive combos, where extra points are rewarded for juggling enemies in the air. It's furious fun from the off and a genuine test of stamina for your fingers and thumbs. But that much most of you already knew.
What's so 'Definitive' about this version? A steady 60 frames-per-second and 1080p visuals, that's what. No melee-action title has ever run so smoothly and the increased frame-rate makes the combat incredibly slick to behold and crucially it feels smoother. If that's not enough for you, turn on Turbo mode at the start of a mission and the game runs 20% faster with still no performance drop. Prepare for some seriously aching hands though!
Naturally, the visuals have had some extra polish too. The textures are still a little muggy though as they were in the original, which wasn't a particularly good looking game. The characters and cutscenes look fantastic though as they usually do from Ninja Theory. That said, I've been more impressed with ones found in Heavenly Sword and Enslaved.
The environmental visuals really are secondary to this DmC experience though, it's all about the action and as far as the combat is concerned, this is a genre leader. While many secondary weapons like the gauntlets and new guns take an age to appear, once your arsenal is unlocked, there's an incredible array of skills to use, which is helpful in reaching those tougher style ratings. I love how you can reassign your skill upgrade points too, which lets you try out as many different skills as possible in the field and gauge their effectiveness.
Using the L2/R2 shoulder button modifiers to use different weapons can be a bit exhausting, especially if you're trying to use the target-lock on R1 too, but at least the button-combo inputs are generally shared across the weapons, making memorising combos much easier.
There have been numerous tweaks to gameplay at the request of fans and the modding community. There's a manual target lock option, triple dash Angel Evade, less frames for the Kablooey shots and so on. We're talking seriously hardcore tweaks here, but the most dedicated of fans will be pleased. The number of difficulties is seriously impressive and will be a major draw to those hardcore players, although they might be annoyed that most of them require multiple playthroughs (again) to get at. A Hardcore modifier is available for any difficulty though, bringing some old school values back, such as harsher style ratings and no auto-air on enemies after pulling your Devil Trigger.
The new Gods Must Die mode manages to be even more intimidating than the already challenging Dante Must Die mode. Still not enough? How about a mode where you and enemies are on a one-hit kill basis? Or maybe Must Style Mode where enemies only take damage when your style meter hits an S rank? Yep, that Platinum Trophy is going to take a while and draw out more than a few grey hairs.
The additional DLC includes classic skins, so you can finally give Dante some white hair and a leather coat again if you prefer the old look. Better yet, catch up on the DLC by playing Vergil's Downfall, an expansion to be played after completing the main game (or straight away if you want), where you control Dante's brother.
I hadn't played this expansion before, but I wasn't impressed to be honest. Vergil has some neat dodging skills, but everything else feels so watered down compared to the flamboyant skills of Dante. If you do get on with this toned-down style, then you'll be pleased to hear that Vergil has his own Bloody Palace mode to fight against waves of enemies.
For all the subtle tweaks, I'm disappointed that the platforming sections are still utterly atrocious. Dante's jump has always been very vertical, making him a bit rubbish platform jumper, even with a double jump. In DmC he has two colour-coded grappling hooks (one on each secondary shoulder button) to help him get across larger gaps. The controls are very clumsy and often require multiple shoulder inputs and additional boosts to cross gaps. There are too many instances where the hooks won't snap to their target and you'll waste so much time repeating sections over and over until they decide to work.
Overall though, it's only a small stain on an otherwise excellent title that warrants a purchase from newcomers and the hardcore, but not so much gamers who played the original but didn't form much of an attachment.
- 60fps and 1080p are a DmC fan's dream
- Lots of difficulty options and content
- Action is fast, punishing and incredibly empowering
- Vergil's Downfall DLC isn't great
- Atrocious platforming
- Style ratings will hurt your feelings
The Short Version: Despite the incredibly frustrating platforming, it's impossible to deny that this really is the Definitive Edition of a classic melee-action title. Newbies can enjoy the slickest version on the market, packed with all the DLC. Returning hardcore fans will find a serious challenge in the extra difficulties and hardcore modifiers. All that fuss over a haircut seems pretty stupid now.
8 – GREAT: Great games typically provide competent production values with a degree of innovation, personality and soul that's sometimes absent in titles that score lower. Or even just exceptional raw value on top of competent execution. There'll usually be a little something to stop games like these from reaching the very top - innovative but slightly flawed, fun but not groundbreaking - however you can buy games that score 8/10 with confidence.
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed) | Xbox One
Developer: Ninja Theory