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Devil May Cry preview: From black to white


With any luck, you'll forgive me for not having spent dozens of hours learning the fine mechanics of past Devil May Cry games. Action games of the extra hardcore variety never quite appealed to me (outside of Ninja Gaiden, perhaps). But games like Bayonetta have gone a long way in convincing me I've been wrong all along, and Ninja Theory's take on Devil May Cry may just push me over the edge.

Though Capcom's focus for the demo was DMC's combat system, I found myself most impressed by the malignant world of limbo that surrounded Dante.

Gallery: DmC: Devil May Cry (Gamescom 2011) | 5 Photos

Taking a cue from past entires in the DMC series, the game's limbo world is full of Western European gothic architecture. Except, unlike previous titles, that world is surrealistically ripped apart -- it is a metaphysical plane, after all -- allowing for even more unusual events within the environment. At one point in the combat-heavy demo, Dante attempts to simply progress down a street before the entire town splits in half, leaving a gaping hole into the ether below. While the gameplay impact is low (you're forced to do some platforming to proceed), the dramatic effect is more than enough.

At multiple points during the three-stage demo, Dante was forced into a platforming section to proceed. Capcom producer Motohide Eshiro pushed Dante through these sections at breakneck speed, keeping with the franchise's style. It seems that, rather than dwelling on complex puzzle-style platforming, the Devil May Cry reboot is instead focusing on Dante going fast as hell at all times -- appropriate, given the series' pseudo-Catholic mythos storyline.

As I didn't get any hands-on time with the game, I can't say exactly how fresh it felt, but it looked just as good as I could hope for. Swapping seamlessly between the "Angel" stance (aerial combat-focused) and "Devil" stance (melee combat-focused), Eshiro launched demons in the air, filled 'em with holes from his dual revolvers, and lept into the juggle only to slam his foes down once more. It looked frantic, varied, and, most of all, fun.

Throughout the demo -- especially during short cutscenes -- a side character to Dante perked up and decided to help out. She lives in the real world, but can sometimes see Dante's existence in limbo and help him out. Ninja Theory and Capcom weren't talking about how exactly she'll impact gameplay just yet, but they did assure me that Dante will interact with her in some way or another. She only helped out in the demo by pointing out a freaky eyeball camera before running off to hide.

According to Ninja Theory, she's stuck in a darker, somewhat destroyed reality. How exactly she plays into the game's story is another question, however. As the demo was focused on combat, the game's demonstrators weren't keen to answer any queries about the plot. I was told (in all seriousness) that as this game is a prequel to past series entries, the story will seek to explain why Dante's hair goes from black to white. Crucial lore, folks!

I went into my demo of Devil May Cry with some trepidation. The series has long been one far off my radar, but Ninja Theory's colorful and even faster-paced interpretation of Capcom's long-running franchise went a long way in making me a convert. DMC is not expected to arrive until some time in 2012.

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