DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition Review
In a generation where updated versions of older games have become a commonality, I sometimes wonder what I'm supposed to analyze. I mean, I already reviewed the game; do enhanced visuals and maybe some slightly refined gameplay warrant a fresh evaluation? Well, I suppose it depends on your perspective. If you played the original title, you might be interested in seeing what's new; if you never played the game before, this might be your first time reading a DmC: Devil May Cry review. Either way, it behooves you to keep reading, right?
Yep, the Definitive Edition comes complete with silky smooth 60 frames per second and gorgeous 1080p resolution. Bear in mind that the original game only ran at 30fps and there are many moments during your adventure where the difference is noticeable. I'm not a fps or resolution whore by any stretch of the imagination but when I can clearly perceive a positive difference, it's worth noting in a review. Beyond that, we get the great design and imagination prevalent in the first title; the levels are just mega cool and the special effects are off the charts. This is a highly stylized game from front to back and that style simply reaches new heights in the latest version.
Unless they specifically outline what improvements they've made to the audio, I sometimes find it difficult to tell the difference. That's the case here; I really can't be sure if there are significantly improved effects or a better-balanced soundtrack, or something like that. All I can say is that it sounds just as good, if not better, than the original version, which makes sense. The voice acting can be a little corny but that fits the bill, and the hard rock score amps up the crazy, ceaseless action. Again, the effects often take center-stage, resulting in a visceral, in-your-face action extravaganza that will make you grin and sweat. It's not vintage DMC but it's damn slick.
Of utmost importance in any revamped, upgraded iteration is the additions and tweaks. So, let's start with that: We get a bunch of previously released downloadable content, including Vergil's Downfall and Vergil's Bloody Palace. The former expands on Vergil's back story while the latter is a new version of the challenge mode DLC with a playable Vergil. I've always liked Dante's brother so these additions are a huge bonus for me. Beyond that, we get the brand new Turbo Mode, which boosts up the gameplay speed by 20 percent. That may not sound like much but wait ‘til you see it...if you thought the game was fast before, certain segments on Turbo could make your eyes bleed.
The good news is that this added speed doesn't seem to increase the difficulty, surprisingly enough. On top of which, it really coincides nicely with the 60 frames per second, generating an almost sinfully fast and smooth experience. Playing this on a great TV with a set of decent headphones is just so intoxicating; it's almost as if I hadn't played the game before. I won't go so far as to say Turbo Mode and 60fps completely redefines the nature of the gameplay - it doesn't - but we're talking about a better, faster, more aesthetically rewarding experience the whole way ‘round. In a lot of ways, it almost feels as if this is the "right" way to play...almost as if Ninja Theory would've been better off developing this game from the ground up for the new consoles.
If you really want the game to be harder, though, you do have the option of Hardcore Mode. It's less forgiving and more demanding; it's a lot tougher to maintain a high Style ranking when executing your combos. You have to be pinpoint accurate and wildly diverse if you have any hope of nailing down those enviable multiple-S rankings. But if you really want to test your Stylin' ability, you have to try Must Style Mode, which basically forces you to "Style" your enemies to death. Once you believe you've mastered the controls and combos to satisfaction, you might have the gumption to sample the Gods Must Die difficulty, which is just plain ludicrous in my estimation. Hardcore action fans might love it, though.
The whole package is extra impressive because every aspect has been retooled and optimized for next-gen consoles. Every stage has been improved, the environmental effects are even more eye-popping and pronounced, and the overall vision just leaps off the screen. If you haven't played the original or you need a refresher: Most of the game is situated in Limbo, a bizarre, twisted version of reality that's filled with freakish monsters. Dante must traverse this hellish area with poise and precision; hammering buttons won't get you very far, and that goes double if you try any of the new modes. At first, I thought the controls felt a little off when I reviewed the game in early 2013, but I got used to ‘em pretty quick.
It's not all roses, however. As is typically the case with remasters, developers spruce up the gameplay but leave the cut-scenes mostly untouched. Because the gameplay is that much faster, smoother, and prettier, the non-interactive segments now seem outdated. Plus, whenever they add new skins, I just have to wonder if anyone cares. Seriously, does anyone really view such content as even remotely important? And of course, the previous flaws, as I mentioned in the original review, remain: The story just isn't that great and the bosses often feel like a grind, and somewhat repetitive. These were always minor shortcomings, though, so I won't harp on them too much. Still, I wish promising scripts were given a bit more care...
One could also make the argument popular among long-time series fans: This doesn't feel like Devil May Cry. Ninja Theory's reboot has been suffering through this backlash since the game was first announced, and the release of the remastered version has refreshed the debate. While it's certainly true that Ninja Theory's take on Dante and Co. is different than the original internal Capcom team, that doesn't mean it's bad, per se. It isn't as dark or gothic and in some ways, that is a downfall because you're sort of alienating the dedicated followers. On the flip side, the design, style and overall construction of this particular fantasy landscape is worthy of praise, regardless of your allegiances. That being said, I wouldn't mind seeing a return to the original style in future installments.
DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition is a worthy re-release. Not only is there a bunch of challenging new content, but we also get appreciated gameplay refinements and upgrades, most prominent of which is that fantastic 1080p/60fps presentation. The story doesn't deliver as it should, the difficulty can be forbidding, and I'm not the biggest fan of certain bosses. Aside from that, this is a bombastic, massively stylized, wonderfully flowing action game that hits all the high points. It looks great and plays great; it's significantly better in both areas when compared with the original effort. In other words, the developers have worked to improve an already-solid product and optimized it further for new platforms. Hard to complain.
The Good: Beautiful new 1080p visuals make the graphics sparkle. 60fps enhances the gameplay; combined with Turbo Mode, it's painfully sweet. Fair amount of extra content. New modes for the dedicated hardcore. Visually and mechanically upgraded for max fan enjoyment.
The Bad: Cut-scenes now seem outdated. Story is still weak. Nobody cares about Skins, do they?
The Ugly: "Dante delights in slaying the ‘ugly' and so should you."
3/12/2015 Ben Dutka