There’s something about being a half-angel, half-demon, ass-kicking badass that really gets on people’s nerves. In “DmC: Devil May Cry” ’s case, you’re that badass, and “people” refers to the bloodthirsty hordes of hellspawn who want your head on a stake.

DmC: Devil May Cry

B
PlayStation 3, Also 360, PC
Capcom


Set in a different universe than the four previous games, “DmC” takes place in a contemporary dystopia ruled by a giant scum-sucking demon, Mundus, who runs just about everything via a propaganda-ridden news network and a brainwashing, demonic-bile-spiked energy drink. Players control a brand new Dante — dark hair and Jersey accent, compliments of the house — on a mission to jump, shoot and smash his way through the city and dethrone Mundus.

Dante gets dragged in and out of Limbo by Mundus’s forces, exploring a parallel and terrifying dimension ridden with pissed-off flying demon robot babies and overgrown with a nondescript black goop. Think Detroit following a tanker spill and joined by a few hundred monsters that would make Lovecraft proud.

The game doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it makes for a pretty sweet ride. “DmC” puts a wealth of weapons in the player’s hands, with most having either a demonic or angelic tint. Carving up a chainsaw-wielding Skeletor wannabe with a holy scythe is every bit as viable an option as using a pair of pistols or a comically large hellborn axe to cave in its face.

The gameplay should feel familiar to “Devil May Cry” veterans: challenging (especially on the harder difficulties), frantic, hack-and-slash insanity against wave after wave of nightmare-inducing living embodiments of hate. A combo meter rewards stylish combat, allowing competitive players to compete online for high scores and adding another dimension of intense, arcade-style fun to “DmC.”

The game also incorporates an oft-frustrating, somewhat clunky platforming component that relies on pulling, grappling and leaping with Dante’s various abilities. An unfriendly camera makes the occasional jump take 15 more tries than necessary, and the breaks from the action fail to add much to the game, sometimes making it feel like the platforming aspect was forced or added as an afterthought. Exploration leads to rewards, however, and to get the highest scores players should aim to find all of a level’s secrets.

Aesthetically, “DmC” doesn’t leave much to be desired. It’s stylish, flashy and graphically impressive. Mundus’s post-meth-looking concubine enjoys a wealth of unsightly scars courtesy of the gorgeous textures. Apart from Dante’s brother Vergil’s distinct resemblance to another of Capcom’s enigmatic characters, Wesker from the “Resident Evil” series, the cast of faces is believable, refreshing and stunningly crafted. Dante and Vergil’s assistant amateur graffiti artist/witch Kat’s character model is meticulously detailed from her caked-on eyeliner to borderline-overdone cleavage.

The game’s story unravels beautifully. While the plot is pretty straightforward and the writing is deliciously cheesy, great pacing and voice acting creates palpable tension as the world begins to crumble.

While “DmC” isn’t anything new, it offers a solid and genuinely fun experience, some challenging gameplay and a new storyline for series veterans and newcomers alike.

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