Backlog Project: DmC – Devil May Cry

The odd alternate timeline title in the Devil May Cry series is one of the most pure “backlog” titles for me so far: I got it for free on PlayStation Plus years ago, but being under the impression it was no god, I never touched it. Recently though, as I browsed through my download list for some backlog games to play, I decided to give it a spin – and I’m glad I did.

 dmc-cover

  • Name: DmC: Devil May Cry
  • Genre: Action | Hack n’ Slash
  • Released: 2013
  • Developer: Ninja Theory
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360 | Microsoft Windows

Apparently, the thing about DmC: Devil May Cry‘s bad juju was that while it was ultimately very well received, the initial reactions to both the re-imagined protagonist and the appearance of the game itself provoked a lot of skepticism, threatening (and in some small way, succeeding) to stigmatize the title before it was even released. In the end, most consequential criticism had dissipated, however, and all that was left was some narrow-minded fans of the old games, complaining about how Dante’s hair is the wrong color.

I’ll have to start by confessing I’ve never played any other game in the Devil May Cry series, for better or for worse. I had no prior connection to the franchise, but that also allowed me to appreciate this game for what it was, independent of any and all expectations. Even so, I could see why some would be disappointed in the main character – personally, however, I found him to be an excellent piece of video game writing. Dante starts out as an annoying brat whose only redeeming quality is his delightfully cheesy one-liners, but over the course of the rather predictable plot, he finds redemption and does indeed become the good guy in the narrative.

Despite what some haters say, this Dante is awesome. Screenshot credit: http://www.gamedynamo.com

Despite what some haters say, this Dante is awesome.
Screenshot credit: http://www.gamedynamo.com

Combat is the essence of Devil May Cry, and this game is no exception. While encounters appear rather chaotic, they’re surprisingly intuitive to play, as you don’t need to manually aim your attacks, and enemies far off-screen won’t pummel you with surprise strikes without at least allowing the camera to reveal them before doing so. Enemies with different strengths and weaknesses are introduced as the game progresses, and later on different high-difficulty foes are grouped up in various ways, forcing you to develop your tactics and skills.

DmC: Devil May Cry has a score system that rewards using as wide a variety of attacks as possible to defeat enemies, while taking as few hits as possible. This encourages you to venture outside your comfort zone and learn new combat maneuvers, particularly because higher mission scores award you with the ability to purchase new abilities to further improve your combat prowess, as well as currency to buy recovery items for those difficult spots. This is also one of those games that gets significantly better the more you play it, and the more your skills improve – for me, it didn’t really hit the sweet spot until maybe my third playthrough, when I finally started to give even the hardest enemies a run for their money, without getting as much as a scratch myself.

To pace the combat encounters, each level also includes various forms of traversal, from simple running and jumping to more challenging platforming sections. While these segments are absolutely not the best part of the game, they’re necessary to keep the fights from becoming numbing. The platforming sections also conceal a number of collectibles, including keys to open secret challenges.

The frantic combat gets more fun the more you do it. Screenshot credit: http://www.digitalspy.com

The frantic combat gets more fun the more you do it.
Screenshot credit: http://www.digitalspy.com

DmC is easy on the eyes, and there aren’t a lot of performance issues to speak of, either – except for one, that aggravated me to no end: with each checkpoint, the game autosaves, which causes the framerate to stumble for a few seconds. That’s all fine, except many checkpoints are followed by timed platforming sections, not giving you time to stand still and wait for the stuttering to pass, but you run the risk of the game not recognizing your button commands – must have been over a dozen times during the game that I fell into a pit because the game refused to acknowledge I tried to double-jump or boost mid-air.

DmC: Devil May Cry turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, and I enjoyed every minute of playing it. It’s hardly a spectacle or anything for the history books, but it’s a game that gave me dozens of hours of fun, and barely anything to really complain about.

Trophy Hunt

I unlocked the Platinum Trophy on June 22nd, 2016. It took me one month, and a bit under 50 hours in-game. I did six complete playthroughs, and several additional re-runs of individual missions.

I started my first run on Devil Hunter difficulty (Normal), and played through the game without paying much attention to anything except learning the game. I picked up any collectibles I could naturally come across, but I didn’t strain myself looking for them. On this run, I unlocked Sensational! for achieving a SSS rank during combat, Stylish! for completing a mission with a SSS rank, and And you are set free for freeing half of the Lost Souls.

After the first run, I embarked on the newly unlocked Son of Sparda playthrough. This time around, now having access to all of the abilities, I sought out all of the collectibles, so I repeated a few levels where I missed some. I also went back to earlier levels to unlock Secret Doors after acquiring the required key. I unlocked A man with guts and honor for killing all of the enemies in the descent in Mission 6, Where does the time go? for beating a level in under two minutes, Looks like it’s your lucky day for beating a level without taking damage, Now my coat’s all charred for not hitting any of the lasers in Mission 16, Fill your dark soul with light for finding all of the Lost Souls, Dude, the show’s over! for finding all of the Keys, Let’s welcome chaos! for opening all of the Secret Doors, One hell of a party! for completing all of the Secret Missions, Let’s Rock, Baby! for upgrading Dante’s health to maximum, and Keeps getting better and better for getting 100% completion on all Missions.

I tackled the Dante Must Die! difficulty right away after unlocking it. There weren’t a lot of miscellaneous Trophies left to unlock, but this run got me You can’t handle it for maximizing Dante’s Devil Trigger, Absolutely crazy about it for spending 50,000 Red Orbs, Power… Give me more power! for purchasing all of Dante’s combat upgrades, and It’s only the rain for killing 10 enemies with the Hurricane ride in Mission 1.

Before going for the one-hit-kill difficulty runs, I went back to perfect all Missions on Nephilim difficulty for the Jackpot! Trophy. I got the For Tony Redgrave for 50 Firearm kills on my Heaven or Hell difficulty (which I made easy by using Super Dante unlocked by beating Dante Must Die! mode), and I also navigated the Furnace of Souls without getting hit by the fire for Every hero has a weakness. After that, all I had to do was beat Hell and Hell mode (again using Super Dante to make things easier) – during this run I also unlocked Looks like we have a winner for 5000 Demon kills.

Despite some of the more ridiculous Trophy names I can recall on the spot, DmC had a thoroughly enjoyable Trophy list: a few sensible miscellaneous Trophies, and the bulk of it consisted of playing the game well and thoroughly.

This is apparently one of those games that you need to go for the Platinum with, if you want to really get your money’s worth. Getting SSS rank in all Missions on Nephilim difficulty was where it really was at its best – a very satisfying Trophy. I also greatly enjoyed the Dante Must Die! difficulty in its entirety. Those two playthroughs were when this game really got good.

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