This first appeared on Joystick Republic (RIP)
Oh happy day, I have finished the first Browsing the Backlog and I sort of, kind of, maybe know how I want to go about writing these. Hopefully nonsensical ramblings about something that stuck with me about a game and not giving any comprehensive thoughts on any individual game is a direction. Here with my second go around and I want to talk about DmC’s combat. This is a reboot and the fifth game in the Devil May Cry series.
We might be in disagreement here but now going through this game it feels like they pulled the trigger on the reboot at the right time. Devil May Cry 4 was a good game yet I couldn’t help but feel like we were on a slippery slope. The story was starting to get overly contrived and they combat lost some of the luster it had previously had. People will up in arms over Dante’s look in DmC and I can’t find a good argument against that. The whole game’s aesthetic boils down to if My Chemical Romance made a Devil May Cry game and that shows in Dante. There are moments that the game becomes memorizing by virtue of the art design being so unique. Then a lot of other times the colors get muddy and that neat look gets overshadowed by all the other parts.
Already off the rails, I want to talk about DmC’s combat and how Ninja Theory uses their pallet of enemies to mix up the experience. There are good amount of different demons to face in DmC but a good chunk of them feel like an altered version of a more base model. You have low tiered enemies that might as well be chunks of meat for you to hack at. Then you have a stronger demon with a shield. Cool, now you have to figure out how to deal with shielded enemies. You can either use your Devil Mode attack to break the guard or use a chain that you can use to pull the shield away from the enemy before hacking away. They introduce the flying enemies not too far after which can either shoot arrows at you or throw bows. You will need to either use your Angel or Devil chain to pull yourself to them or pull them to yourself respectfully. The flying enemies may also have a shield so you have to take in consideration the shield strategies. What I’m saying is they changed up basic ideas and applied them across multiple enemy types and that’s rad. Almost feels puzzle like; going to get to that point more with the style rankings. You think I’m done? Nope, they also introduce the shielded warrior demons and some porcupine lions that can only be beat by either Angel Mode or Devil Mode attacks. Mixing the modes up early on doesn’t pose much of a problem but later on keeping different colored enemies at bay can be troublesome.
Now I mentioned the whole puzzle thing so let’s get back to that. The Devil May Cry series has always had a style rank system where you mix up your attacks while crushing bad guys in order to improve a little letter grade off to the side. Getting hit will drop you a few grades so you will want to keep the action favorable for the most points, orbs, whatever, possible. Pretty obvious. To do that though you need to have an understanding of the enemies in the field of play. What weapons should you be using? How many aerial enemies are there and do they have long range attacks? There will be attacks that work best but is that best for your score? Just like a puzzle game where you probably can clear tiles off the board easily; why do that though when you can get a sweeping combo? This is a Candy Crush metaphor. DmC combat reminds of Candy Crush. Everything sucks.