Be honest. Were you actually expecting Ninja Theory to pull off a successful reboot of the beloved series that is Devil May Cry? Its unveiling at the Tokyo Game Show in 2010 was marred by the realisation that the franchise was being rebooted, and the Dante we'd known for nearly a decade (at the time) was long gone. Forums across the interwebz were filled with frenzied fans - "HOW COULD THEY CHANGE DANTE? THIS GAME SUCKS."
Capcom Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development Christian Svensson (imagine the guy's business cards) publicly went on record stating that the company needed Dante to be "completely different" and for Ninja Theory to "go much further and be much more creative" shortly after the game's announcement.
"I will argue that any changes will bring about a knee-jerk reaction from fans...We know that; we knew that going into it. To be fair, I think some of the strategy here was to create that discussion and dialogue, and I think it drastically raises the visibility of the title versus if we had just done another Dante."
-- Christian Svensson
Both Capcom and Ninja Theory should be commended and respected for sticking to their guns despite the criticism that, two years on (from announcement of the game), still continues. If you're a self-professed fanboy of the game yet are riding on the hate train, accept the new direction NT and Capcom are taking DmC - if you can't will yourself to do that, well, honestly, you shouldn't be calling yourself a real fan.
It may seem controversial but I feel as though Ninja Theory have taken the series in the right direction. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the gothic setting and excruciatingly hard gameplay of the previous games, but it's damn difficult to fault the developer's near-flawless visual presentation of the game.
The series garnered its reputation on the fantastical and that's exactly what the reboot is - an environment that moves with you, silky smooth combat, insane bosses and radical level design. Whether you're making use of Angel Lift and swinging from object to object a la Spider-Man, stringing combos together with your plethora of weapons or simply there to enjoy the story, DmC has something to appease even the most finicky of gamers.
Though he's changed in appearance, Dante still resembles his former self through his trademark sarcastic humour and arrogance. While he's initially a little more wayward and careless than, well, old Dante, we have to remember that this is an origin story - he's not just yet the unstoppable devil hunter we're used to. Capcom wished to attract a younger demographic to the game through a more relatable Dante and Westernised setting - while relatability (hooray for made-up words) is in the eye of the beholder, the satirical Western setting fits the character brilliantly, especially in regards to the portrayal of the media.
Again, that's not to say I don't understand the negativity from fans - in regards to gameplay. Yes, progressing through each mission is far easier than previous entries, and yes, combos are far easier to maintain - but these "cutbacks" (per se), have not necessarily come at the cost of quality. It's true, the game's difficulty was also caught in the crossfire of catering to a larger and younger demographic - but hell, there's no use complaining about it - just give the game a run on "Dante Must Die" or "Hell and Hell" if you're looking for an old school challenge.
For a game that, in the eyes of fans, was destined to fail, Ninja Theory have stood tall amongst the unwarranted negativity and delivered a title that surpassed the expectations of many. It's done exactly what it was intended to do - increase awareness to a game that Capcom obviously felt needed a facelift. Whether it did or not is completely subjective, but you can't fault the way in which Ninja Theory have respected and improved on an already acclaimed series.
By Jake Galouzis
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DmC: Devil May Cry Discussion