Finding Emo – Why DmC’s New Look Isn’t Worth The Drama

“Not in a million years,” laughs Dante. It’s half way through the first level, and the rebooted anti-hero has already carved up more than an afternoon’s worth of demons when Ninja Theory’s middle finger appears. The situation? I’ll not spoil it. The result? A sudden, deserved boost of confidence for the series’ new direction and a big fat smile from a move unlike anything else I’ve seen in the previous games.

This is Dante refreshed, updated and modernised rather than coated with the rather lazy brush marked ’emo’, as many had liked to label the game ever since it was first announced. And you know what? This refresh – in the face of all the vitriol – works – and rather brilliantly, too.

Not that I personally ever really had any problem with Capcom’s flick of the switch – Dante as he stood had run his course (and I think much the same about Kratos in God of War, in case anyone’s wondering) and this new direction is long overdue. It works because it feels fresh, and it works because the context of the story demands a new interpretation of the canon.

[drop2]Dante’s tale in DmC takes up a good chunk of the disk, with the early sections giving way to seemingly countless timeline shifts and hops to a parallel dimension, albeit briefly and normally with the player returning with new abilities.

Look to writer Alex Garland for that – his involvement was there to bulk up Dante’s backstory – but thank him, too, the player character finally fully rounded and (panic) somewhat easier to relate to.

There’s a fair bit to take in with DmC, and the game whips along at a pretty nippy pace most of the time, so it’s credit to the developers that it all just about holds together.

Sure, it might not be the prettiest game and novices will find the way it quickly requires deft use of every single button on the controller in order to make much progress a little offputting (so: dial down the difficulty) but DmC manages to craft a decent enough plot throughout all the madness. The scale doesn’t hold back and the action (when the exposition isn’t in the way) doesn’t let up, but not once did I wish I was controlling ‘old’ Dante.

In fact, after years of the likes of God of War, Bayonetta and the other other Dante, anything else would simply have felt old hat.

For starters, DmC’s Dante still has that swagger and confidence, that slight air of arrogance, that serves to make the player feel invincible before every battle. He still has that wicked vernacular (“Fucking demons”) and verve that makes every victory a rewarding, drama filled one, no matter how trivial the scrap. And the sense of humour’s just as dry.

I’m not entirely sure what the issues ever really were? Is it the hair? The clothes? When I’m knee-deep in juggles and racking up the combos I’m not checking out his t-shirt, I’m trying to figure out which demon-spawn is next for my pistols. And the cut-scenes, of which there are plenty, obviously, never once made me lose focus on the matter at hand.

Dante’s weaponry, too, is hardly a marked diversion. The aforementioned Ebony and Ivory are present and correct, and the melee weapons don’t exactly take massive leaps of faith to connect with. Indeed, moves and their corresponding score points are presented more visually than ever, so anyone worried about the central mechanics can thankfully rest easy knowing that Ninja Theory might have wanted to reset Dante’s looks to something new, but he still swings his arm the same.

My advice is to embrace the changes and go with the flow – DmC is very much Devil May Cry, just one updated and dressed in a new coat of paint.

Our review is out now.



  1. Finding Emo!, pun of the year so far!

  2. Hi there, long time lurker who finally decided to register today! Really enjoy the site and opinion pieces. :)

    As one of the naysayers of DmC, I can say it isn’t really to do with Dante’s appreance that bugs people, its certainly his personality. The HAIR comments propping up all over the place are what I consider to be misdirection for any criticism about Dante’s personality. While old Dante had a sense of fun about what he does, but knowing when to take the gloves off, New Dante is angry, calling enemies “An ugly sack of shit” and all that. The Demon Father – Angel Mother angle is a bit annoying too, it sounds more like a fanfic than the union between Human and Demon, one of the key points in DMC3 is that Humans and Demons are very much alike, theres evil and good in both of them.

    The combat mechanics are the other concern, having two buttons for Angel/Demon pulls are redudant and make a mechanic in DMC4 more complicated than it needed to be, sacrificing the Taunt function in the process that was present in the series since the first installment.

    Not too sure a reboot was needed anyway, it wasn’t like the series had a crisis of image before as installments were usually several years apart anyway, making fans eager for more. I feel like this one should be a completely different series rather than Devil May Cry, Ninja Theory struggled to have this “Gritty, Genre Defining Story” and keep the humour to please original fans and as a result the funny parts feel out of place.

    That’s just my opinion though, I hope Capcom find a way to keep the old series going as well as this new one if it takes off., and that people have fun with it.

    • Welcome to TSA :-)

    • “While old Dante had a sense of fun about what he does, but knowing when to take the gloves.”

      This is exactly what the new Dante is like. He’s humorous and has some class one-liners but is confident in his ability to destroy the competition when needed.

      Also, welcome :-)

    • That’s a brilliant first comment, hope you stick around buddy :)

  3. For me – and I truly care very little about the franchise – it was a shame to see a boy-band lookie-likie as our screens are festooned with generic factory-line pinch-offs already. However, lovely that the reviews are showing that it’s a very good game. :-)

    • To be fair Old Dante was pretty naff in the fashion stakes.

  4. I’d always assumed the argument over his looks was more to do with a change from the jap game aesthetic to more western approach that has seen so many failed attempts this gen.
    Having said that i’m not greatly invested in the Dmc brand and would gladly take a Ninja Theory game over a regular Dmc anyway.
    I did like Onimusha though.

  5. After playing the demo I felt that there was a lot of unnecessary swearing which made the game seem adolescent.

  6. Having not played the game I can only comment on the demo.
    As such Dante seems far too boy band and angry at his father like*, with an OTT attitude in the “it is cool to swear” fashion.
    Sam Fisher, Drake, Kratos and even Sackboy radiate more maturity.
    That being said, my opinion is open to change when I play the full game.

    *borrowed shamelessly from “The Rock”

  7. I thought that people’s investment in the character and the franchise were where the problems with the reboot were stemming from, but judging by the earlier comments it doesn’t seem like anyone here has much investment with him at all.

    I always thought Dante was a relatively cool character, and enjoyed the series, though it’s certainly never been one of my favourites. I figured Ninja Theory’s involvement could only be a good thing as Enslaved was one of my top games this generation, and from the sounds of it they’ve hit the mark with the story and core gameplay which is enough for me to try it out.

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