DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition Review (PlayStation 4)
Ninja Theory's 2013 reboot of Devil May Cry resulted in many of the series' fans grabbing the pitchforks and torches in response to DmC's rebranded look and attitude. While the fires of this controversy have long been extinguished, there were many fans out there who simply never gave "Emo Dante" a chance simply based on his character design. This is where DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition comes in. Ninja Theory has released an optimized version of DmC with revamped visuals, harder difficulties, a manual lock-on, excellent gameplay moddifiers, new skins (to get rid of that horrible hair), rebalanced moves and 60 levels of a new Vergil Bloody Palace.
As expected, the DmC: Definitive Edition offers the best possible version of the angel- and devil-filled reboot, but in a current-gen gaming scene where every other decent last-gen title is getting an optimized re-release, it's still easy to dismiss Dante yet again. Luckily, much like its overarching theme, DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition will put you through heaven and hell in the best of ways.
Most of DmC's action takes place in Limbo, a hellish version of the real world where there are all sorts of demons and baddies about. Limbo twists the world into splintering fragments, similar to how Outland was in World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade, but with a Silent Hill-esque twist. Now optimized with current-gen capabilities, these environments look great, and Dante (all gripes about his looks aside) looks magnificent as he hacks and blasts his way through hell's hordes. As expected, revving DmC up to 60 frames per second makes every on-screen animation look smoother, resulting in combat sequences that never get boring. This effect is furthered by the re-release's improved particle effects and character models.
Additionally, Dante, Vergil and their enemies have all been optimized for current-gen tech. Every stage has been improved as well, resulting in an overall look that simply reiterates the goth-impressionist art style that we get from DmC, and that's furthered by its evolving and ever-changing environmental effects. Watching Dante's backdrop react, change and evolve around him while he traverses the world is just awe-inspiring and gives Devil May Cry and artistic look that Capcom never tapped into during the first four games.
I specifically recommend playing DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition with Turbo Mode on from the very beginning, which speeds the entire game up by an additional 20%. While you would think that Turbo Mode would make things too hard or give you less of a reaction time (I never had a problem adjusting), it really made the 60 frames per second effect pop. Dante, his hellspawn enemies and the various environmental hazards all move one-fifth faster than before with this modifier activated, and it looks gorgeous on the PS4. Once I played a few hours of gameplay with Turbo Mode activated, turning it off resulted in me feeling that the game was too slow--even though I knew it wasn't--because it already had fast-paced action to begin with.
Nevertheless, Turbo Mode simply feels like the way DmC was meant to be played, especially for all the longtime fans who were thinking that this new Dante adventure was too easy. Being addicted to trying to perfect DmC's near-flawless combat system and rack up the most diverse and insane combos possible is where both this new Turbo Mode and the 60 fps upgrade have the most impact, resulting in a proper enhancement of the overall core experience that most remastered games on current-gen platforms never really achieve.
While at the forefront of DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition are its remastered graphics, there is a lot more to this re-release than its visuals. I'll admit I was originally one of those skeptics who wrote off Dante's punk look, claiming that it wasn't the same Devil May Cry experience that I loved for the past 14 years. DmC already had enough on its plate to rally Western players who never really got into the series, but the original version of the reboot left many longtime fans in the dust with its slower and more lenient combat system and its noticeably easier difficulty.
DmC's new gameplay modes and difficulties took things into the right direction. The Dante experience wasn't necessarily copied, but it became something of its own (especially when using the Arbiter and Osiris weapons) while staying true to the soul of the series. Hardcore Mode can be activated to make things even less forgiving, regardless of your difficulty level. The style system has been retooled in Hardcore Mode to what the original four games had, making it much harder to maintain a high ranking, and forcing you to vary up your combos even more and putting an emphasis on dodging enemy attacks. Also, activating your Devil Trigger no longer resets combat by hurling enemies upwards. Instead, Dante or Vergil merely transform in the middle of what they were doing, allowing more of a seamless transformation in the midst of combat.
New difficulty modes, such as Must Style Mode and the Gods Must Die difficulty make things much more harder and inline with what we have come to know and expect from the Devil May Cry name. Toggling both Hardcore Mode and Must Style Mode on together results in a great way to hone your skills, as it's much harder to maintain the high rank necessary for damaging enemies at all. Factoring in DmC's multiple difficulties, every player, whether a master demon-slayer or a feeble newcomer, will be able to embrace the gorgeous action of DmC. This version of Dante doesn't alienate, but instead embraces both new and old fans alike.
So what demons were Dante unable to conquer in DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition? Not many, but the few issues are still noticeable. The cutscenes unfortunately didn't get as much polish and shine as its core gameplay, which is expected and becoming a habit with many of these current-gen remasters. There were multiple times where the audio of a cutscene simply didn't sync up with the visuals, which gets irksome for those paying attention to DmC's pottymouth dialogue. I went back and replayed the same cutscenes to see if it was some sort of one-time issue, but it wasn't. Speaking of dialogue, there are attack animations that both Dante and Vergil have during gameplay where their characters are seen visibly talking after a combo or specific attack without any kind of audio set to them. It's strange that Ninja Theory would leave these animations in the game without dialogue, even in the remastered edition.
As a flood of HD remasters are hitting the current-gen market in an attempt to milk more out of yesterday's games that we already loved, DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition proves to be a noteworthy exception to the expected re-release formula. The new features and visual improvements made to DmC provide an experience even those familiar with the 2013 original should try. The new gameplay modes added specifically cater to the longtime fans of the series and action game elitists alike, while effortlessly embracing DmC's new current-gen visuals.
In terms of actual new content added, the additional skins are a nice touch to try and appeal to those who despise Skunk-Dante, but Vergil's Bloody Palace is the only other piece of new content added to game. Vergil's Bloody Palace is nice, despite not having as many levels as Dante's, and it's a welcome addition considering that the "Vergil's Downfall" DLC (which is included in the Definitive Edition) was a bit underwhelming. DmC offers an action-filled gameplay experience that outshines Devil May Cry's previous entries, especially with these new modifiers in play. Similar to its story, DmC's remastered version of Dante embraces the things Ninja Theory's kept and changed from the old Devil May Cry formula, making the unification of heaven and hell as fun as it gets in the land of Limbo.
This review is based on a digital download of DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition provided by the publisher for PlayStation 4.