“DmC: Devil May Cry” is every suburban mother’s worst nightmare; the M-rated game you tried to hide from your parents as a kid in fear of having to shamefully take it back to the electronics section of the grocery store. Within the first 10 minutes of the game, the player character kills countless demons in showers of blood and gore, curses profusely, has a threesome with strippers and gets naked in an over-the-top “objects cover his dick as the camera follows him down a hallway” sequence that would make Austin Powers proud. “DmC” is as absurd as it sounds, but thankfully, it doesn’t take itself too seriously — rather, it revels in its ludicrousness.

DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition

Ninja Theory / Capcom
PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One

Originally released in 2013, “DmC” is a reboot of the “Devil May Cry” series, a storied game franchise known for its complex and rewarding combat systems. This “Definitive Edition” is an HD upgrade for PS4 and Xbox One, featuring upgraded 60fps visuals, a new “turbo” mode that increases game speed and some meaningful new game modes including a harder difficulty setting. It also comes packed in with all the downloadable content released to the original game post-launch.

“DmC” follows the brooding Dante, a “nephilem,” the result of a secret marriage between an angel and a demon, in a world where heaven and hell are eternally locked in conflict. Granted incredible powers that the demons covet, Dante teams up with an underground rebellion to force Mundus (this game’s version of the Devil) to relinquish his grasp on Earth and its people.

Make no mistake: “DmC” is as “video game” as video games get. In this world, it’s as if the rules of ’80s gaming never died— you kill stuff to try to get the highest score possible. There are no lofty promises of unique storytelling experiences or grand artistic value; this game is confident in being pure, unadulterated arcade fun. And while it does feel old-school in that sense, it manages to look quite new — it’s visually cooler than almost anything on the market.

In fact, the most unique and interesting part of “DmC” is its incredible visual design. Most of DmC takes place in “Limbo,” a sort of punk-alternative parallel universe to the real world. Here, the earth is fragmented, constantly shifting around you, and demonic imagery is reflected in everyday settings. I was constantly impressed by Ninja Theory’s ability to craft outside-the-box locales in each level. Highlights include a neon bass-thumping demonic nightclub, and a cool “tower heist” mission that visually emulates a chalkboard in a stunning sequence I’m shocked Hollywood heist films haven’t yet ripped off. You’ll see what I mean.

“DmC” ’s skin is its absurd story and incredible visual flair, but its beating heart is its incredible combat system. This time, Dante is outfitted with a range of angelic, demonic and neutral weapons that can be swapped out on the fly. Players are expected to chain combos in unique ways to get high combo rankings, which in turn unlock upgrades for Dante and his weapons. This gameplay loop is nuanced and deep, and thanks to a good amount of enemy variety, you won’t get sick of trying to perfect your combos over the course of the game.

“DmC” ’s boss battles achieve the game’s high points of absurdist design. Some of the craziest include a gross giant witch-worm thing that’s responsible for producing demonic energy drinks and a demonic TV news pundit obviously modeled after Bill O’Reilly (he even yells “we’ll do it live!” as you fight him!).

Unfortunately, “DmC” falls apart slightly in its final two chapters. The two back-to-back final bosses are strangely easy compared to the game’s other major boss encounters, and the last-minute plot twist comes out of nowhere and doesn’t make sense. There’s a lot of substance sacrificed for scale here.

It’s too bad, because the game is a stellar experience up until this final half hour. “DmC” is worth checking out for any fan of action gaming; it’s a roller coaster of crazy visuals and absurd over-the-top action. Just make sure your mom’s not looking over your shoulder before you do.

“DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition” was reviewed using an advance digital copy provided by Capcom.

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