We're all going crazy for DmC: Devil May Cry, and not just because it's one of the few big games on our plates at the moment. Ninja Theory's reboot has weathered major outcry and expectations to deliver a seriously impressive brawler, and a brand new take on the beloved franchise that feels both familiar and radical at the same time. Though flawed in a couple of areas, I raved about it in our 8/10 DmC: Devil May Cry review and video review.
What we can all agree on, however, is that it's properly hard. Though new players can get involved with the easy difficulty mode and the first few levels on normal, DmC is more than happy to put even veterans through their paces.
So here are ten handy spoiler-free hints that will hopefully extend your life - and more importantly, net you some all-important style bonuses to boot. They might also fill your dark soul with light if you're lucky...
10: Lock Foes With Round Trip
Once you've obtained the Aquila glaives, you'll have access to one of the simplest and most useful skills in the entire game: Round Trip. This ability deals continuous damage to a single target over time, but better yet, it stun-locks most foes for several seconds as the razor-sharp disc orbits around them. As such, it's best suited to lock down the most dangerous foe in any encounter (hold to charge it up and invest in upgrades when possible), giving you time to mop up the small fry before concentrating the main offender.
It's also a brilliant way to destroy Witch bubble shields.
9: Buy Health Crosses Tactically
Saving up red orbs allows you to increase Dante's health in 10% increments, and it can be tempting to purchase these upgrades as soon as you can afford them. However, since they also recharge your health to its new maximum, you're much better off waiting until you run into a Divinity Statue with almost no health whatsoever.
You'll essentially get a free full heal (or an incredibly expensive one depending on how you look at it), meaning that you're less likely to rack up a death penalty or use a rare healing item whose prices increase every time you buy one. And hey, why bother increasing your health if you haven't taken much damage anyway?
8: Crowd Control: Think Radial
When you're surrounded by enemies, you'll need to have memorised a few simple yet effective crowd-control radial attacks in order to survive. Or if you're feeling particularly malicious, use the Aquila's Buy In ability to pull foes towards you for a major group beatdown. Here are some of the best radial abilities that you ought to have logged into muscle memory.
- Fireworks (Revenant shotgun): Dante blasts everything around him with buckshot. Considering how easy Fireworks is to deploy, it's going to be one of your go-to moves if not a fun way of varying up your style bonuses.
- Jump and slam (Rebellion and Demon Weapons): Yeah, it's a bit cheap, but the classic 'jump in the air then slam back down' gambit is still as devastating as always. You can do it with the Rebellion sword or either Demon Weapon - and if you're using the Eryx gauntlets, remember that you can charge it up by holding the button down, dealing mental damage to everyone around.
- Whirlwind (Aquila): Holding left trigger and Y straight-up turns Dante into the Tasmanian Devil. Upgrade for major funtimes.
- Pretty Much All The Other Aquila Combos Too: Seriously, the Aquila is designed around radial attacks. Go nuts. The standard YYYY combo also has the added effect of herding enemies into groups, making them the perfect target for some of the linear Arbiter abilities.
However, you should only ever be surrounded if you want to be. Otherwise...
7: Stay Mobile, Stay Vertical
This will come as second nature to genre fans, but to move slowly and predictably is to die quickly and... well... predictably. As such, you need to stay constantly mobile; using evades, enemy steps, double jumps/boosts and launchers to keep the enemy off balance.
As much as anything, since it's sometimes difficult to keep all of your assailants on-screen, it's worth listening for their telltale audio stingers to know when to pop a desperate dodge roll.
6: Practice The Special Evades & Epic Parries
Dante's evade roll may be a staple of the genre, but it now comes in three flavours: vanilla, Demon and Angel. The latter two only activate if you evade holding the left or right triggers just before the blow connects, which is usually about a second and a half after a foe broadcasts its attack. The benefits are staggering, though, especially the Demon Evade that amplifies your damage for a few seconds afterwards.
Sadly, you're just going to have to practice - there's no sure-fire way to get this right other than using it as often as possible. What I would suggest, however, is that you remember that the Demon Evade can also be triggered using the left bumper (pressing both the right trigger and bumper is a tad uncomfortable and thankfully unnecessary).
Also remember that the Demon Weapons can be used to turn away incoming attacks with a perfectly-timed powerful blow. Epic Parries throw foes off rhythm - even some bosses - and the Eryx's charged-up punches tend to be very useful for this. Again, there's no substitute for practice.
5: Mad Props
Though the Aquila definitely overshadows the Osiris when it comes to crowd control (I used them much more often), the scythe does have one major advantage beyond its power-boosting Feed skill. Namely: Prop and its Shredder upgrade.
This powerful ability is initially introduced as a way of opening doors (seriously), but it's a lot more practical than that. Not only will it juggle a single enemy and launch them if you time it properly, but using it will also deflect a number of projectiles: notably the Frost Knight's ice blasts, the Witch's swords and the time-delayed grenades thrown by those hovering little b*stards. The deflected shot will travel in the direction you're facing, so careful aiming means that you can potentially freeze up or damage assailants with very little effort on your part.
Oh, and it's a great little earner for style bonuses thanks to all those hits.
4: Terrorise The Tyrants
Tyrants are one of the most dangerous enemies in DmC, with their armoured shells providing major aggravation for inexperienced players. However, they're also uniquely vulnerable in a number of respects.
First and foremost, you always need to get behind a Tyrant to deal damage. Well-timed evades tend to be the way forward here, but if you time it right, an Epic Parry/charged up Eryx attack will stop their charge dead. Once you're on their six, you have a few killer options beyond launching a standard combo.
The Ophidian Demon Pull can be used to pull the Tyrant to the ground, giving you much more time to get in some nasty attacks. Note that you should only deploy it when you see the telltale red symbol while holding the right trigger, else you'll actually pull the Tyrant around to face you (whoops). The Kablooey stake gun is also well worth busting out for a Tyrant fight, since four simultaneously-detonated blasts can stun them while enraged. Fire the four shots into its back and then follow-up with some demon weapon attacks - save the sweet detonation for when he comes round for another charge.
3: (Over)Drive Angry
Bizarrely, one of Dante's most powerful ranged skills doesn't even require a gun. Once you unlock the Drive ability on the Rebellion skill page, you can simply hold down Y to unleash a massive blast of energy... and then upgrade it with two follow-up hits. Overdrive.
Once you've maxed Overdrive out, you'll come to love this ability. Since shockwaves pass through multiple targets even at extreme range, it's a great way of scoring cheap hits on entire groups of massed foes, or weakening tough tanks like Buzzsaws from outside melee distance. There may be more stylish ways to dispatch your targets once you've learned the ropes (do be sure to switch up your tactics for style bonuses), this easy-to-master skill will always remain a devastating equaliser.
2: Hang Ten
Devil May Cry makes aerial combat so very easy. Almost every launcher can take Dante along with the enemy so long as you hold the button down, at which point you're practically invulnerable to ground-borne foes and able to unleash some hilariously nasty pain.
The Arbiter and Aquila provide the best launchers alongside the standard Rebellion offering, which tend to take several enemies up with you. When airborne, the Rebellion Roulette skill and Osiris Double Up ability can grant you some extra height, while Osiris' Rake is perfect for yanking more demons skyward.
And, of course, pop into Devil Trigger mode every once in a while to catapult everyone (including most mid-bosses) into the air for some monochromatic murder.
1: Lift Me Up
As I wrote in the review, the Demon Pull and Angel Lift are probably the biggest innovations that DmC brings to the table. Very few games give you the choice of whether to yank targets towards you or pull yourself towards a target, and once you've gotten used to them, you'll often find that the latter is arguably much more useful.
On the offensive side of things, being able to instantly close the gap with an enemy is unbelievably handy. Whether you follow it up with a swift Payoff uppercut, a jump or a flowing combo, it's equally viable against both ground and airborne demons. It's especially useful against a flying target since you're instantly set up for a boost or easy hang time. Unless you want to throw an enemy off-balance or yank a shield away from a flying foe, favouring the Lift rather than the Pull is often the way forward.
However, the Angel Lift is also a powerful defensive measure. Targeting a distant foe can pull you away from the pack and set you up for an Overdrive. Pulling yourself aloft whisks you away from grenades and incoming attacks. The more you use it, the more you'll come to appreciate DmC's hidden depths... and the juicier your style bonuses will be.