DmC is a British reinvention of a Japanese classic, and a game that will leave you open-mouthed in amazement. A third-person brawler with looks to die for, you'll be gazing in wonder while clutching the joypad so hard it creaks. This is a title any serious gamer should own.
DmC's leading man is Dante, the hard-edged but drop-dead gorgeous offspring of angel and demon. The way he moves is irresistible; a wiry powerhouse that runs on flair, every arc and sweep of his blade oozing arrogance and style. DmC's animation is incredible and Dante is the showcase, his hundreds of moves stitched together into the most incredible extended sequences. With attitude in spades, and a clutch of killer lines, he's a joy to control.
Call That A Knife?
The combat system is fluid and stylish, but it's the sheer range and utility of Dante's move-set that is most impressive. As well as his sword you'll quickly acquire other weapons, divided into Angel and Devil types. Angel weapons are a scythe and a pair of oversized shuriken, which damage lots of enemies at once - the former whirs around Dante like a rotor blade, the latter herds and shreds huge groups at once. In contrast, the Devil weapons are about smashing things to bits: a massive axe that hits like a truck and a giant pair of lava fists. In the middle sits Dante's classic sword Rebellion, a weapon of supreme utility that never seems to stop revealing new tricks.
So the boy's not short on tools, and there's one more surprise up his sleeve: a pair of chains that can be used to yank enemies over or zoom Dante towards them. These set up combos beautifully; Dante can whip into huge rucks and arrive with an uppercut, before eviscerating everything around with a whirling scythe.
Dante's up against a winningly weird collection of demonic footsoldiers with a futuristic finish; gleaming fold-out blades, glowing anatomy and the odd thrilling whirr of a chainsaw. These bad guys hunt in packs, and force you into constant movement. Don't worry though - soon you'll be slicing through the crowd in an unbroken streak, stopping only to buff with perfect evades, throw in a few parries, and finally deliver the coup de grace with an asteroid punch. Whatever you call that state of intense focus that the best kind of games can bring, once it lets loose DmC brings it and then some.
DmC's world shows a visual imagination few other games can match, channelling everything from Escher to Soylent Green and back via Bayonetta. The settings are often so beautiful, so odd, that you spend long stretches just panning the camera between fights. It's not just a still kind of beauty either; DmC's levels shift and warp as you move through them, often violently twisting into new forms as you progress, and towards the game's conclusion there's a fantastic idea involving blueprints. But the most spectacular settings are often reserved for DmC's platforming sections - brief respites from the action which let you catch your breath before the next big ruck.
And there's one final flourish. After the credits roll, DmC's 'Son of Sparda' difficulty level is unlocked. This makes the enemies tougher, with extra moves, as well as heavily re-mixing the encounters in every level. Son of Sparda difficulty does everything it can to overwhelm Dante, with the increased numbers and combinations matched by a rise in aggressiveness. Here things start to get really tough as you time power blows in a crowd, maximise the chains, pick out key targets and smash them instantly. It's where DmC is at its best - you've learned the ropes, and now it does everything it can to knock you out. And if you somehow win through, next up is 'Dante Must Die' mode - which means exactly what it says.
DmC's highs are sublime - this isn't just a revitalisation of a classic series, but a classic in its own right. The leading man and the combat system complement each other perfectly, and beneath the attitude and the look and the fancy moves, the most important thing hasn't changed. This Dante might be new, but he's still hardcore.
- Amazing combat!
- Gorgeous settings!
- Huge replayability!
- OTT story
- Final boss is pants
- Slightly dodgy platforming