Sunday, January 27, 2013

Some stuff on DmC I wrote.

So DmC: Devil May Cry is here. I guess the technical name for this would be “Devil May Cry: Devil May Cry.” Kinda like how I call the 2009 Star Trek by “Star Trek: The Star Trek.” I don’t know if this is a review or anything. Just going to say things. Will I cover every possible fine point? Probably not. Will you rip this apart? Pretty sure of it. Will the stuff written here make sense? I don’t know, but here we go.

To start off, I never played the older games (or any others like them) back then because I just never got around to them at the time. I ended up playing them through Christmas last year, so take that as you will. With this being Ninja Theory’s third title ontop of facing adversity and expectation just for association with the brand name alone, there’s already curiosity, hype, disdain, maybe even spite and so many things surrounding this release.

Right to the chase. I like this game. I found it fun for what it was. You may think I'm nuts or "bought off," but this also coming from a man who liked '09 Bionic Commando. So much for that. Anyway, it's far from perfect. There’s a few issues, but overall, it’s a nice DIFFERENT take on the series with some neat ideas. Key word: Different. We already know why and they go far beyond hair color and game mechanics. It’s not trying to be what it was before. Not that what it was before was bad in the first place. It takes of fighting demons to a contemporary setting that’s pretty easy to relate to if you’ve watched They Live and/or V for Vendetta. Some might see it as forced, but there’s a real sense of atmosphere and Ninja Theory, being great at set pieces and art, pulled it off really well here. It is very sinister and unsettling, especially if you’re one that questions things like the media, culture and so forth. And even if the story is a bit off, do most even play the series for that anyway? Not really, but they’re there for people to argue online or make fanfiction material out of. Bottom line is that this is not DMC5. This is DmC. You can feel free to regard it as corporate-sanctioned fanfiction if you want to ignore Dante as a rebellious, directionless youth fighting a demonic world system and not the cocky anime stereotype (1, 3), the mute (2), or the supportive cameo as a cowboy (4).

Considering there are a few trouble spots, I can say it is Ninja Theory’s best playing game they’ve made thus far and they really tried here. Might not mean a lot to some, like saying this is better than DMC2, but it does say something. They still got plenty to learn, but they came quite a ways from Heavenly Sword and Enslaved so far. It’s not too hard to have fun with what is there. Some would say it could be a bit too easy. Maybe even easy to abuse. Could also mean you have to approach it differently due to how style rating works. Now, even with this, I do think the game would’ve benefited from some objects from DMC’s past. Take the controls, for instance. While using Heavenly Sword’s system of style modifiers works as it’s supposed to, offers on the fly versatility and not hard to work with, I can’t help but think it could’ve been outfitted to DMC3/4’s method of operation, like so…

Lock on would’ve been a tremendous help to the game in lots of ways. Taunting would be a perfect fit for the newer, more crass Dante. Everything else would pretty much familiarity to older fans. Of course, control is only skin deep as there are FAR more items at hand. Players thrived on either conquering “Dante Must Die!” or being punished by it. DmC, on the other hand, isn’t exactly a hard game. Sure there were easy modes in past games, but most would pretend those didn’t even exist. The fact that it’s pretty darn easy to SSS takes away quite a bit of the thrill and reward away. Compounding this are the “setpiece” bosses. They are not many, but they deserve mention as these aren’t really fights that threaten you. It’s just smacking the scenery until it dies. Really nice looking scenery, mind you. Thankfully, they’re spread out. Shame because some of these would be great regular stages that lead up to a big fight.

The other HUGE issue has to do with the Angel/Demon setup. In DmC, there are few enemies that can ONLY be damaged by either Angel or Demon weapons. DMC was always about the freedom to fight how you want and exercise your creativity with the arsenal you have. DmC does do this pretty well. Sure you may not have the exotic, more unusual weapons like Pandora, Nevan or Lucifer, but you can do some cool things with what you have and string things nicely…Until the game decides to throw these polarity-specific foes at you. All of your 8 weapon choices are now reduced to 2. So much for creative freedom in combat.

There’s other stuff like texture popups due to the Unreal engine (not that bad on 360), framerate hiccups during cutscenes (yet hardly in-game?), more design choices (i.e. gold orbs are pretty much pointless) and some glitches. I’m trying not to be too mean as I did like this game, but not mentioning these would be a disservice.

Devil May Cry: Devil May Cry took a tremendous chance as most remakes of a well-established series would do. It fumbled quite a bit on execution, but I was happy in the end. I had my fun with DmC. I see a lot of potential, despite the damage that has been done either by game design or by PR leading up to release. I respect that DmC is itself on its own terms and some things are better that way. Was it needed? Maybe. Maybe not. But it happened and we have to deal. Could it have been better? Yes. Could it have barrowed a few other DMC design staples that would’ve helped it? I’m sure, but would it still be itself if it did? With that, should it have been its own new IP? That will go on for ages to come. Hard to say as there’s that fine line with remakes of being true to form and being its own beast. Is there sequel potential or things that can be taken away to make a game in the future? Definitely.

All in all, if you have an open mind, it wouldn’t hurt to give DmC a spin at least. You might not like everything about it, but not really the abomination that angry internet fans make it out to be nor is it a flowery masterpiece. Call it a beautiful mess, that’s not a complete mess, perhaps. It doesn’t change the fact that the original games will always be around so nothing is being replaced or anything. It’s not like DmC Dante has erased his previous selves from anything. In fact, it just gave me some fanfiction ideas where DmC Dante and DMC1 Dante...I should just stop here.


Blogger fsjfr said...

It is not a horrible game but for anyone who has ever played the genre before, it is certainly disappointing. The bosses are vastly inferior(gameplay-wise. vastly less fun, more predictable, etc) than the ones of previous games, the set of weapons/attacks is a lot less varied, a lot worse, and thus less interesting/fun/whatever word you want to use. The numbers of enemies you end up ever fighting at once is a lot less than previous games(partially due to hardware constraints, i guess) which among other things makes average battles much worse.

The environments are nice, though. They did a good job with that in a lot of ways. But besides that, it is really just much less fun than the previous games. It feels like going from street fighter 2 to street fighter 1. People hating on it isn't just hating on a reboot for being different like Castlevania turning into a god-of-war style game(although, being different by turning into another series isn't exactly desirable and "different" either..), it is simply a watered down version of the series which doesn't satisfy players.

Sure, if you don't know what it is missing, it is easy to say "What's the big deal? This game is ok." but nobody ever, ever likes to see games get WORSE over time. DmC is more like those weird mediocre/terrible KOFs between 98/2002/XI/XIII than like a real, good reboot.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Luis H. Garcia said...

Well, when you have the likes of DMC3 and Bayonetta, of course it's hard to compete. Shouldn't hurt to try, at least. That's why I said come in with an open mind regardless. Yes, the bosses are set pieces as I mentioned. Yes, it's not as difficult. Yes, there's not as much weapon variety and what not, but what we got isn't that bad. On it's own merits, it's okay, granted it could use a good amount of work.

People could find fun in different ways or both. I liked this DmC for what it was and I liked the previous ones what they were. Nothing wrong with that. If you want to play the older games, they're there. Nothing stopping you. SF2 to SF1 is a bit extreme of an analogy. I'm an old CV fan and I thought Lords of Shadow was fine. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe because I was never attached to the series back then, I don't feel as ba or whatever about a series changing, but even then, it should not hurt to see what it has to offer and just take it for what it is.

And I know quite well what's missing. I have played them. Being better than DMC2 should count for something. Also, KoFXII wasn't THAT bad, even if it was just XIII: Beta.

5:53 PM  

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