Published: Aug 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM

DmC-title-card.gifVisibility and volume have been stolen by tasteless crybabies. They possess no agenda, only to dislike, wall off, and counteract. Haters shriek plain simplicities with no sincerity.

It's been some time now since the video game landscape was introduced to the Devil May Cry reboot: DmC, and it remains an undervalued gem, chipped and clouded by morons addicted to their elusive, childish wonder, forever in the rearview.

\\\ DmC is a British reboot of Japanese heavy-metal mimicry.

DmC-juggle.gif

You can leave your chair now and head straight for jail if your first reaction to hearing praise for DmC is prickly, gatekeeper defensiveness. The game is a nano-atom-perfect hardcore action masterpiece. It's so sharp, it ought to be handed out to Jedi Padawans instead of the standard lightsaber.

Despite that, it's the game's unifying style and confident storytelling that make it infinitely more precious than the gaudy, lovable Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 3 on PS2. This is a game made by people who looked at Devil May Cry's "story" legacy (as if it were anything worth honoring), and understood it was about a young, invincible jerk who could see the demons between the dimensions. That true, hard, cruel reality between-realities abused him in a way most cannot fully comprehend. DmC is about what changes that jerk, Dante, from a survivor to a protector.

Imagine any hardcore Devil May Cry fan making any such adjustment ever in their life.

The original Devil May Cry's history is well documented, but you can dine on the abridged version:

  • Several attempts by developer Capcom to create Resident Evil 4 yielded a bunch of strange, failed prototypes
  • Renegade bad motherfucker and Resident Evil 2 director, Hideki Kamiya, spawned one such prototype, set in a gothic castle with tons of guns and spectral horrors
  • (this is why Dante's haircut looks so similar to Leon S. Kennedy's in Resident Evil 4)
  • A strange "juggling" glitch was discovered in Capcom's PS2 game Onimusha that enabled players to keep demonic enemies in the air with constant sword slashes
  • A few good ideas and some high talent were slammed together to create what became Devil May Cry

You've got European gothic architecture, combined with Japan's understanding of western heavy-metal demon-art, combined with actual Japanese monster folklore, combined with what can only be called a LOOSE understanding of Dante's The Divine Comedy. That's Devil May Cry. It makes no sense. And people defend it to at least the threat-of-death.

DmC took all that loose stupidity and slotted it within a series of western lenses, British, in particular. The result was unity.

\\ DmC's Dante has a character arc.

It is not a good character arc, to be sure, but it is a nod at story structure and motivational evolution usually unseen in video games.

This version of Dante is still resentful toward society. He is arrogant and smug because he is invincible and has seen the devils in the cracks between dimensions. How can you be anything but resentful, having seen the worlds beyond worlds?

The story's warmth and beauty derives from Dante's motivation to re-align with his trauma. Lonely and untrusting, he bonds with the girl, Kat. It's implied Kat also shouldered a background of severe abuse before Dante's brother, Vergil, rescued her and put her witchcraft to better use.

Together, Dante and Kat oh-so-slowly begin to realize there's a chance to heal themselves of their trauma. It's in no way immediate. Dante doesn't trust her with his true history among demons until some time has passed. Kat only reveals her witchcraft and magical study is a coping mechanism when Dante shows an interest in it, wherein she slowly welcomes the conversation.

The characters are initially motivated by an anarchic distaste for the Illuminati-level global-meddling, which is as powerful and moving as a fourteen year-old explaining how they adore Fight Club more than anything, except maybe Mr. Robot, oh my God, it's so fucking smart, you guys.

DmC dispenses with this trash about worlds ending at the hands of demons in favor of two brothers disagreeing about how to keep the world safe from those demons. The last boss isn't the shadowy demonic manifestation of consumerism: it's your brother, Vergil.

Sidebar: the fact that they misspell Virgil's name as "Vergil" is fascinating. Even those loose ties to Dante's Inferno can't hold water.

It's in that personal disagreement that you, the player, understands why Dante has changed from a misanthrope to a hero: because he realizes his brother is a psycho for acting like a philosophy-spouting know-it-all.

Development, self-improvement, and growth are the character traits to admire in Dante at the game's conclusion, in particular to Vergil's continued devotion to dominance and unflinching cruelty, even to his brother.

\ DmC has the best combat in the series.

You're hearing this from somebody who adores Devil May Cry 1, 3, and 4. The loose, whippyness of DMC1 forces you to exact every trick in the book to beat it on Dante Must Die difficulty. DMC3 is a thousand games in one, with all its styles and ruthless bosses.

Even Devil May Cry 4 has Nero's admirable / granite-dumb / rock 'n' roll awesome motorcycle sword, where you can rev it for extra-powerful attacks. Shame that DMC4's the level and enemy designs felt rushed once you hit the Credo boss fight 40% of the way through.

But DmC dunks on all of them. It has maneuvers for creating space with enemies. It has moves for closing gaps to your prey. It has the great stick-shift feeling of holding L2 or R2 for the angel and devil (basically vanilla and chocolate-flavored) attacks. If there are any complaints, it's that switching to between your extra weapons on the directional-pad can feel like you're trying to DJ a playlist while biking through a skate park. Also, the guns feel somewhat underpowered and are tricky to plug into the fighting.

The rest is solid gold. You are never out of control.

The game is beautiful. Get over it. Treasure it. Demand more of your video game action.

-- Alex Crumb
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