Member the games you used to play? We member. The basement at the Hardcore Gamer office has a section known as the Crust Room, with an old grey couch and a big old CRT TV. All the classic systems are down there collecting dust, so in an effort to improve the cleanliness of our work space, we dust off these old consoles every so often and put an old game through its paces, just to make sure everything stays in working order. We even have a beige computer with a floppy disk drive.
The combination of the Capcom Summer Bundle and the recent arrival of the Steam Deck (pre-ordered within 2 hours, arrived 5 months after launch) seemed like this would be a great time to revisit the PlayStation 2 classic Devil May Cry. Sadly, the Devil May Cry HD Collection crashes after selecting a game, so the idea of revisiting HD Dante from the comfort of the couch seemed like a no go. Unfortunately Steam Deck incompatibility is the modern game journalist equivalent of my dog ate my homework, so that wasn’t enough to justify skipping this column for July. Since original Dante wasn’t an option, the logical runner up game would be the younger and edgier Dante in DmC: Devil May Cry, the 2013 reboot no one thought we needed.
The initial reaction was generally negative when DmC was announced. Dante was a stylish protagonist with his long red coat and white hair who was transformed into some guy who looks like the generic protagonist of an early 2000s teen horror movie. The demon hunter who uses his business to carry out his personal vendetta has been replaced with a younger, edgier and oblivious Dante. Devil May Cry had a distinct look and this reboot looked like it had strayed too far from the source material.
Far removed from the previous Dante’s demon hunting business, Dante now lives in a trailer in Limbo City, which exists on a parallel plane to Limbo. Due to the proximity and inevitable inter-planal travel between the two worlds, demons run the show in Limbo City. It’s fitting with the religious undertones of the series that sins such as sloth and gluttony are used by the demons in charge to manipulate the population into a docile state of obedience. Possession and the like were how demons got their way in the dark ages, but in modern times corporate takeover of a capitalist dystopia is how the dark forces rule the world.
Dante lives on the fringes of society. He is aware of the demons and fights them, but this is simply a hobby for him. In this universe he hasn’t taken the initiative to monetize demon hunting, nor does he do it for any greater good of mankind. He fights demons for something to do and spends the rest of his time indulging in other pleasures that cater to his baser instincts. It’s a carefree existence until a woman named Kat comes to warn him of the danger he’s in. Her timing could have been better because right about when she shows a up a demon smashes his trailer. Kat has been gifted with psychic powers through her practice of witchcraft and and see into Limbo and assisting Dante with passage between the two planes. Because of her powers he agrees to meet her boss, Vergil.
As it turns out Vergil is not only the leader of The Order, an organization with the mission of exposing and disposing of demons to remove them from controlling the world, but he’s also Dante’s long lost twin brother. Dante learns that he is Nephilim, the son of an angel and demon and the only beings capable of killing demon king Mundus. He then goes into giving Dante some family history, Sparda worked for Mundus until he betrayed him by fathering children with an angel, Mundus killed their mother Eva and the two twins were hidden away with the truth about their identities hidden from them.
After learning about the twisted family tree, Dante agrees to assist Vergil in his war against demons. This is where the plot gets into the manipulation of humanity with the introduction of Virility energy drinks, which are supposedly harmless to Nephilim, but are “lobotomies in a can” to humans. These drinks are how Mundus gets the humans under his control by making them weaker and more docile. Going into the Virility plant to put an end to the secret of its production seems like it was heavy influenced by the Slurm factory episode of Futurama, except we’ll swap out the giant alien worm for the least sexy video game representation of a succubus I can remember. Well, unsexy except maybe to someone with paraphilia toward arthropods.
Now after playing this for several hours, having reservations about the unnecessary nature of the reboot and its changes, not to mention how parts of the plot are silly, a confession has to be made. DmC is actually awesome. It’s a game I went into with a lot of reservations as a fan of the original first and third Devil May Cry but fun is fun, and DmC nails it when it comes to being fun. Sure, the random words that try to threaten Dante seem like desperate attempts to recreate the feel of 2000s horror movies and Dante’s one liners during boss fights are about on par with McBain dialogue, but like any great B-movie, DmC shamelessly flaunts its cheese and the player enjoys every second of it.
When it comes to the things that matters, DmC gets everything that made Devil May Cry a great series. Dante can pull off stylishly brutal combos with his sword and guns, racking up higher points for more impressive and longer combos. The boss battles blend the grotesque aspects of Limbo with some of the more modern trappings of the modern world. Dante’s new methods of air traversal that allow him to glide to far away platforms or propel himself toward midair launch points make traveling throughout Limbo almost as much fun as killing its denizens. His hair is less white and his coat is less red, but the important elements of a great Devil May Cry game are to be found in spades in DmC,
Because DmC: Devil May Cry was a reboot of a series that didn’t need to be rebooted, many people (myself included) initially didn’t have the most positive reaction to it. This was foolishness. The criticisms about some of the design decisions are still valid, but most of those address superficial elements. When it comes to the important elements of a great Devil May Cry game, DmC checks all the boxes and then some. Despite how great DmC is, the general consensus seemed to prefer the original Devil May Cry format as the next original entry in the series is Devil May Cry 5, a return to the original timeline. But regardless of what shape Dante’s franchise continues to take in the future, DmC is a stellar entry in the series and one of the best action games of 2013.
Want to Member some more old games we love? You can see all our Members here.