I’ve got a video game review for you this time, as I take a look at the semi-recent prequel to the first Devil May Cry game.
Title: DmC: Devil May Cry
Developer: Ninja Theory
Released Date: January 15th, 2013 (PS3, Xbox 360), January 25th, 2013 (PC)
Genre: Character Action Game
Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
Available from Amazon.com.
Prior to the events of the first Devil May Cry game, Dante is currently an aimless layabout living in a trailer. When the Demon Lord Mundus, who currently rules the world from the shadows, attacks Dante, he must join forces with a resistant movement lead by his long lost brother, Virgil, to free humanity.
This has the best controlling combat in the DMC series thus far. The default difficulty is tough but fair, and combos are straightforward to do with a little timing. The learning curve is also fairly reasonable. Also, this is the first game in the series where I really feel like the writers gave the story a lot of thought and care. It has some problems (big ones, which I’ll get to in the low point), but I do appreciate that they tried.
The game still has some unfortunately placed fixed camera angles.
However, the bigger issue with the game, and its story, comes with its depiction of mental illness. Specifically, in the game (which is meant to be set in a a world similar to ours, with some direct parallels to Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp), if you’re seeing things that aren’t there, or are hearing voices, or are excessively paranoid, you’re perceiving the true nature of the world. If someone tries to get you to take medication to keep you from hurting yourself or others, or to otherwise treat the mental illness, then they’re puppets of the demons and evil.
Now, I’m not saying that the position of the writers of the game is that treatments for the mentally ill are evil, but when they’re doing Urban Fantasy (albeit in a very action heavy fashion) as blatant social commentary (the Demons are the One Percent), if this part of the plot (and it’s a significant part of the plot, though not the driving force) isn’t part of the commentary, than it probably shouldn’t have been in the story. It isn’t helped by the fact that I can count the number of positive depictions of the mentally ill I can think of off the top of my head on the fingers of one hand.
To put it another way, the mentally will can come up with enough reasons of their own to avoid treatment for paranoid schitzophrenia or bi-polar disorder, or any of myriad other disorders that modern science can treat, without getting into attacks on psychology by Scientology, or the myriad reasons that people who are otherwise neurotypical have come up with to to state why mental disorders shouldn’t be treated (addiction/mental disorders positively effect your creativity, etc.) We don’t need a big-budget work of popular culture like a video game to provide any more.
Originality: This plays like Devil May Cry (which makes sense), with a plot like They Live. 4/6
Story: Aside from the low point, this story is very well written, with Dante and Virgil’s deepest characterization in the series. 4/6
Graphics: The graphics in this game look great, with some really imaginative level designs (like a level set in the intro to the universe’s equivalent to the Glenn Beck Show or O’Reilly Factor). 6/6
Sound: The sound design & voice acting are really good. The soundtrack is almost entirely done by the industrial metal band Combichrist though, so if that isn’t your thing, you may end up turning the sound down. 4/6
Playability: This game probably has the most forgiving difficulty in Devil May cry series, without being dumbed down, though there are options for higher difficulty settings for those who want them. 4/6
Immersion: The game has some occasional camera problems that knock me right out of the game. 4/6
Overall: This is actually my favorite game in the franchise. 5/6
In total, DmC: Devil May Cry gets 31/42.