Eurogamer Expo 2012: Devil May Cry hands-on
Amidst the hour long queues and constant bustle of Eurogamer Expo’s biggest titles, the rebooted Devil May Cry found itself tucked away with little fanfare. After all, the large displays brandishing the series’ protagonist showcase a far cry from the iconic, white haired Dante of old; his long locks darker and shorter, more regular and contemporary. This is Ninja Theory’s depiction of the popular action anti-hero, the Heavenly Sword and Enslaved developer taking over the reins in what is a bold move on Capcom’s part.
Ninja Theory’s mark is evident from the off with some fantastic facial animations and superb visuals. The sunny, European-inspired streets sharing more in common with Enslaved’s crumbling architecture than Devil May Cry’s more ominous and demonic aesthetic. There’s certainly a disparity between this new visual style and that of its predecessors; though once you begin playing it becomes all too familiar.
Wielding a sword and a set of dual pistols, Dante is able to rack up myriad combos, launching his enemies into the air and holding them there with a barrage of gunshots or wild sword swipes. It’s distinctly Devil May Cry, funnelling you through tight corridors stacked with various enemies to dispose of. The one key addition is the introduction of a grappling hook. Using the left and right shoulder buttons as modifiers you can either pull enemies towards you or pull yourself towards them. This proves especially useful when fighting enemies wielding shields as your grappling hook is able to disorient and throw them off balance, leaving their fleshy midriffs exposed; while you can also pull yourself up to flying enemies to leave their aerial advantage null and void.
The grappling hook also factors into various platforming sections as you’re constantly pulling platforms out of surfaces before pulling yourself over to them. These moments work well and the jumping doesn’t frustrate, a latter section of the demo offering up some striking imagery as the level morphs around you as you jump from platform to platform.
Fans of Dante’s previous escapades should have little to feel apprehensive about. Despite the stark change of visual style and character redesign, the gameplay still feels unmistakably Devil May Cry. Whether the supposed lack of changes hurts the experience is another question. With Bayonetta and God of War III iterating on the formula with deep, varied combat and gargantuan set pieces, Devil May Cry feels archaic in comparison. Whether that remains true in the full game remains to be seen, but you can find out when it hits store shelves on January 15 2013.