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Game review: DmC: Devil May Cry

 Devil May Cry has been rebooted, and some fans may cry about it. Sure, in some ways the game has moved away from its roots -- Dante looks different and the game is easier -- but that doesn't change the fact that DmC: Devil May Cry  is actually an incredible, surreal, downright cool experience. The hack 'n' slash game is bizarre from start to finish, but increasingly so as time goes on. Our hero resides in Limbo City, a place controlled by the propaganda of demons. Dante soon joins a group of rebels called The Order, whose goal is to take the city back. Dante is part angel and part demon, and has the ability to travel in and out of Limbo -- the theological, 'edge of Hell' Limbo, rather than the game's Limbo City -- enabled by a member of the order called Kat. As the game goes on, an initially disenchanted, drunken Dante grows as a character largely because of her influence. The combat system in DmC is most impressive, and many of the attacks double as ways to move around the map. Because you have to learn how to use the moves to get around or to open blocked doorways, you're forced to become proficient at the most useful attacks whether you like it or not. As the game goes on, it continues to teach you how to use the various weapons and abilities you get, without making it feel like you're playing through a boring tutorial.

But the combat isn't particularly difficult -- seasoned Devil May Cry fans will tear through the game in eight or nine hours with no problems. Boss battles are especially easy, with one notable late-game exception wherein I had to use all my items just to scrape by.

 The real difficulty in DmC is not the combat, but in the exploration. Numerous collectibles are dotted around the maps -- some are easy to get, some aren't. Some of them are not even possible to get on your first playthrough, so if you want to unlock everything, you'll need to replay (you also unlock higher difficulty settings). I only found about half of the collectibles in the game, and I spent a fair bit of time grappling and gliding around looking for things. Some of them are very, very well hidden.

There are also some unbelievably difficult secret missions, which are unlocked by finding both a key and a matching door. You'll encounter both combat missions and movement time trials, and both are fun. But trying to defeat a horde of enemies when you can only hurt them so long as they stand in a particular circle? Damn, that is tough.This exploration is enabled by some very clever, surrealist level design. The game is mostly linear, but at times it's very satisfying when you work out the exact sequence of buttons you have to press to get where you need to be, and pull it off without a hitch.DmC's biggest problem is that despite the fact that it encourages you to replay it, it's not that  replayable -- sure, you can up the difficulty, but the story and mechanics are going to be the same every time. For those people who are likely to only play through once and then let it go, DmC is a renter. If you want to obsessively grind through and unlock everything on every difficulty, then there are loads of difficulty levels for you to choose from.

Did Devil May Cry need a reboot? Probably not, but now that it's here, we're not complaining. DmC is loads of fun, and a good place to jump into the franchise if you've never played before. 


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