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Joystick: Remembering a devil of a game with “DmC”

Published 10:24am Thursday, January 17, 2013

I remember thinking the first “Devil May Cry” was revolutionary.

I played it a couple years after it came out, and it still felt fresh. Originally supposed to be a “Resident Evil” sequel, the game was a vital step in shaping the modern-day action game.

Its beautiful, gothic motifs, the harrowing enemy designs, the incredible hard rock/techno soundtrack, and the awe-inspiring gameplay pretty much redefined what it meant to be an action game.

And let’s not forget the style.

If games like “God of War” are considered pinnacle action games in this era, they owe much of their beauty and exquisite design to “Devil May Cry,” which practically pioneered the concept of incredible, unrealistic combat through means like juggling enemies mid-air, an incredible addition to action gameplay.

The series itself has gone through some rocky patches since then. Protagonist Dante has gone from difficult to easy to incredibly difficult games, bouncing around fighting off demons and demonic overlords, all the while acting cynical and, well, debonair, though the quality of his games hasn’t always been stellar.

Yet Capcom jumped on the bandwagon and rebooted the series as a whole, with “DmC: Devil May Cry” coming out this week.

I’m not sure I agree with the reboot, though I’m hearing good things about this latest game. It seems any game series that’s run its course is getting rebooted and going through a new origin story (See: “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow,” “Rayman Origins,” “Tomb Raider”). That’s not necessarily bad, but it signifies an unwillingness in the game industry to take new chances on new intellectual properties. In addition, “Devil May Cry” as a series didn’t seem to warrant a complete scrap of its previous canon. I get that Capcom is trying to reach a bigger audience, but this doesn’t seem like the way to go.

While “DmC” doesn’t follow the same timeline as the previous games, a lot of the same characters (Dante, Vergil, etc.) will be recognizable in this game.

From what I understand, that’s about the only similarities the games will have plot-wise. The newest game is developed by the same people who made “Heavenly Blade,” a decent action game clearly inspired by “God of War.”

And yet I don’t know if “DmC” will be quite as innovative as its namesake. I hope people enjoy the latest entry, but moreover I hope people use the game as an entry point to an otherwise solid group of games — even if “Devil May Cry 2 wasn’t that good.


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