Back when Capcom revealed that DmC would be Dante’s origin story, and that the muscular, white-haired demon was to be portrayed by a skinny, black-haired dude who looked like he came from 1970s punk rock, fans became a little upset. This radical new look for the series made many fear that this was not the same Devil May Cry that they came to know and love; that the game’s very soul would be ripped out and replaced. After taking a look at the new game at E3, I can say that fans should rest easy. Dante may look different, but his attitude and the game in general feel very much like their predecessors.
Any antagonistic feelings I had regarding this new, young Dante disappeared very early on in the demo. Looking to gain access to a club in order to take out the demon running it, Dante is stopped by the bouncer because his name isn’t on the list. True to his arrogant, yet cool, take-no-crap nature, Dante informs the bouncer that he is on the list after shoving the clipboard into the man’s face and knocking him out. Once in the club, more evidence of Dante’s true personality is shown as he completely ignores a smoking hot woman claiming to know him – in an obviously sexual manner – in order to take care of business. Yes, this is the lady-charming, too cool for school Dante who knows how to turn it on when things get serious.
Upon being spotted by his demon target, the female archfiend drags Dante into limbo, an alternate dimension where demons attempt to kill our hero on their own terms. This trip into the warped reality begins with Dante having to hack and slash his way through the club’s former dancers – now vicious demonic creatures, themselves – reintroducing that classic combat that players have grown accustomed to. It is here where we learn that this Dante is half demon and half angel, not half human like his previous incarnation. DmC’s Dante is fighting for the angels, but still capable of changing into what is known as his demon form. Aesthetically, demon Dante is represented by those white locks that everyone associates with the original character. Each of his forms has special abilities and weapons he can use, certain enemies can only be defeated as a particular form, and some areas require that Dante be one form or the other to proceed.
Once the lackeys are taken care of, Dante’s demon host decries that he has entered into a game show known as “The Devil Has Talent.” The rules of this game are simple: survive the challenges thrown before him, and gain the opportunity to take on miss evil, one-on-one. The first is a 30-second time limit where Dante has to chain combos quickly to dispatch of a few foes before the ground opens up on him, causing him to plummet to his death. This is designed to get players used to the game’s chaining system.
After that is finished, the next challenges acclimate the player to switching between demon and angel form by making Dante walk on color-coded blocks that would shock him if not in the right form and presenting angel- or demon-vulnerable enemies. Another segment features platforming paths that split to show a small element of player choice and offer a bit of variety for multiple playthroughs. The final trial shows enemies that get tougher as Dante kills their brethren, forcing Dante to change up from melee attacks to gunplay with his guns, Ebony and Ivory. This expressed not only the fact that the difficulty will ramp up – a staple of the series – but that varying attacks is a wise and encouraged tactic.
Though the demo cut out before I got to witness Dante lay the smackdown on the big bad lady in charge, what I did see was a very satisfying restart for the Devil May Cry series. What seemed like a cause for worry has instead become a reason to get excited about the popular Capcom series once again. Fans will get their chance to see just how true to its roots DmC really is when the game arrives on January 15, 2013 for the PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360.