Review: DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition (PS4)

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Title: DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (18.24 GB)
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Ninja Theory
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: M
DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition is also available on Xbox One.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The opening of this game, as many of you readers will know by now, is full of sex, threats, and strategically-placed flying pepperoni pizza.

Dante went out partying and carelessly forgot to cover his tracks, if not his manhood, and now a hunter demon has tracked him down. It sends him flying through his trailer naked. While in-flight he manages to dress himself and come out the other side fully clothed, including boots. Talented young man!

I’m not going to put any actual plot spoilers in this review in case someone hasn’t played it yet. I will say that the plot has some surprises.

The basic idea of the gameplay is demolishing enemies in as stylish a way as you can à la Devil May Cry traditional hacking/slashing/shooting murderous rampages. You need to learn different button combos in order to achieve success.

On a lower difficulty like Human, one can get away with more general button-mashing. On harder levels the player must know those combos to progress.

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The opening menu gives two choices. Devil May Cry and Vergil’s Downfall. As tempted as I was, because I am a contrarian, to choose Vergil’s Downfall first, I chose DmC for the purposes of being square in this review. Otherwise… VERGIL!!!

The menu graphic is the same as the PS3 with Dante surrounded by female angels, one of whom he gives his finger to suckle. That is hot, feminism-notwithstanding-and-women-should-get-equal-pay-and-Patricia-Arquette-is-still-prettier-than-her-trans-sister-who-is-undeniably-gorgeous-as-well-and-all-that-stuff.

… platforming sections get tricky …
Click DmC and there are five saves available! Wow. I can understand two for a safety but five! The same for Vergil’s Downfall. That is curiously generous. As a glutton who is also a pragmatist I am thankful and worried.

Gameplay difficulties are divided into three categories which are available from the start along with crazy harder modes to play after you’ve beaten the game.

Human: enemies are weaker and do less damage. Select this mode if you don’t usually play melee action games, and just want to experience the story. (Or if you are running on a short time frame for review!)

Devil Hunter: Enemies use core attacks and do moderate damage. Select this mode if you’ve played other melee action games and want a bit of a challenge.

Nephilim: Enemies are stronger and more challenging. Select this difficulty if you’ve played Devil May Cry before and want the full DmC experience.

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Hardcore Mode should not be thought of as a harder difficulty, per se, but as an adjunct or modifier to the Human, Hunter, and Nephilim levels. It activates a more hardcore balance of the game including style system rebalance, increased enemy damage, adjusted party and evade windows, alternate Devil Trigger behaviour and more.

The great thing about Hardcore mode is that it rewards some truly fun methods of defeating enemies like knocking them into carnival rides! More surprising modes included are Must Style Mode and Gods Must Die Mode. Good luck with that!

You can also choose whether or not to get tutorials.

There is a style score so be sure to mix up your attacks and don’t die to get the highest scores. There are also online leaderboards for those who care about that stuff. You’ll find it impossible to get all collectibles in every level during a first play-through. After you have upgraded Dante and Vergil you may want to replay all the levels to collect everything and improve your leaderboard standing.

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Hitting the options button pauses the game. During pause you can view different info and options including your Move List, items to collect in the level and how much time since your last checkpoint in case you want to restart from there or even the whole level.

Choosing the various categories in the pause menu will also clue you in on how many items there are to collect and how many you have so far. Explore these menus. You’ll be glad you did. You can even try upgrades before buying them and respec items as well. The system is incredibly generous, so much so that, to the relief of a commenter on the original review, lock-on has been added and includes the choices of hold or toggle in the menu.

White orbs: slain enemies release white orbs which fill Dante’s upgrade bar. Each time the bar is filled Dante can unlock a new ability vie the upgrade shop.

Red orbs: slain enemies release red orbs which can be sent at the item shop on consumables, health upgrades and more.

Lost souls: free them all to increase your mission completion bonus. Only melee works.

The list of helpful collectibles goes on. You get the idea.

You’ll also want to collect gold keys because they open secret doors to combat challenges which, besides being fun, also provide a quicker path to a larger heart meter among other benefits.

As for all these collectibles, don’t think you’re totally on rails. Even if one character says to follow them you can still make a small detour. It’ll be worth your while to do so.

Apart from his sword, Rebellion, Dante’s guns are called Ebony and Ivory. Because Dante digs duets by 80’s pop icons, naturally. Oh wait, one’s white and one’s black. They deal low damage but are useful at a distance for flying enemies and for interrupting weak enemy attacks. Dante also gets a scythe and a kind of massive axe as the game progresses.

I thought that the staple of DmC, Turbo Mode, would speed up gameplay too fast but actually it’s great! It is especially good for people who have played Devil May Cry games before. It speeds the game just enough to match the speed at which our minds are trying to play already! It doesn’t even feel fast. It feels just right. A brilliant addition to the series.

The platforming sections get tricky. Should a gamer ever die and have to start from a checkpoint because they can’t remember R2 or L2, R1 or L1, Square or Cross button, hold or tap? No. It’s only platforming. To say the design around this mechanic is inelegant is being generous. If you become confused just pause and check the moves in the menu.

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As for Vergil’s Downfall, which originally released as DLC, it fleshes out the story more and adds more traditional gameplay but it feels like you’re playing Dante with different skins on everything from the character to his weapons. More game is not a bad thing in this case just don’t think you’re getting anything very different which also goes for Vergil’s Blood Palace levels.

Blood Palace is a kind of battle arena which opens after the game is completed. There are various levels containing ever-more-difficult enemies to be fought either as Dante or, new to this Definitive Edition, Vergil. There is no easy mode and mindless button mashing is not useful. You need to work those combos.

Visuals:
Frame rate is the thing. Locked at 60 frames per second DmC is smooth as glass. The thing is, some characters lose their finesse at that frame rate. The bikini clad woman in the opening cinematic who on last gen consoles looked oddly aged and creepy now looks like a character model. The frame rate sometimes shows the hand of the puppeteer.

Only very occasionally did I notice an enemy stutter. An example exists in the video stream.

 

One really great thing about the character animation is that they breathe. Just that. If you move the camera around and watch, you can see actually-animated breathing. That is great attention to detail.

A word on the new Dante character model: sweet! He is more relatable than white-haired Dante. He is contemporary and he is not some emo-child as we all feared he would be. He’s a badass. I wish I was him when I was in my twenties! But if you’d rather play as traditional Dante you can make that choice in the Skins menu.

Although you can choose different skins, which is great, usually the cutscenes portray Dante in the default settings. I give this a total pass as this is still basically a PS3 game.

… it’s even more fun now …
Audio:
Make sure you have your PS4 output set to DTS to get the best surround sound. Initially I didn’t and could not understand why my sound was coming from left, right and center and not the speakers behind me and the subwoofer or why the blue light on my tuner wasn’t coming on.

Glenn made a big deal about how incredible the surround sound was in the PS3 version of the game so I knew something was amiss. I initially thought it was the game. I thought maybe, for some reason, they dumbed down the sound to make the visuals more powerful.

It didn’t make sense but then I am not a perfect person. I’d like to say, “You heard it here first, folks!” but that would be a lie. (See video stream below.)

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As for the music, it’s high energy death dance music akin to My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult. Very appropriate for the game. Groovy Man would be proud. The artists listed as responsible for this awesome tunage are Noisa and Combichrist.

Dante is voiced really well by Aussie actor Tim Phillipps who was on Neighbours, a big Australian TV show, when he was a kid in 1985 and has worked ever since. David de Latour, a Kiwi, who has appeared on-camera in Xena: Warrior Princess and Heart of Dixie voices Vergil while Sage Mears lends her talents to Kat. They all perform their own motion capture. The actor who voices Kyle Ryder apparently wishes to remain anonymous since I could not find him listed on IMDb.

The sound is good but it didn’t blow me away. My sound system, although it has DTS/EX and other attributes, is probably over ten years old so that may have been why. Turning it up helps.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game has on-line leaderboards for score chases.

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Conclusion:
DmC earns its M rating for sure with adult language, extreme violence, and that menu graphic. The game is a big, sexy, demon-slaying murderfest with some sketchy platforming. The same as it always was. It’s challenging to be sure. But it’s also rewarding.

The big bonuses for DmC: Definitive Edition are that it contains all the DLC and a version of Blood Palace for Vergil fans, 1080p resolution running at a solid 60 frames per second, crazy hard modes for hardcore fans and a great value for the money! Especially if you haven’t played it yet.

That said, I played it on PS3 and it’s even more fun now.

A caveat. If you plan to share screencaps you may find the game runs in the background while you’re busy sharing. You might inadvertently skip whole cut scenes. Be really careful about the PlayStation button which takes you out to the main screen on the PS4 because the game will not pause. You will come back to the game to find you’ve died and that because of that your score was significantly less than you worked toward.

I HOPE THEY PATCH THIS EGREGIOUS ERROR!

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Keith Dunn-Fernández

Keith Dunn-Fernández

An actor/director and more lucratively an Administrative Assistant at a small paper company in NYC, Keith loves his games. And he loves to write. And he is a bit of a sarcasmo.

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