DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition PS4 review
It's another Capcom remaster, but is the current gen release of DmC more than a lick of paint?
The gaming world has gone remaster crazy, it seems. With the new generation of consoles now just over a year old, we’ve had quite the collection of last-gen releases polished up and shoved onto our shiny new machines. GTA V, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs, and more have been given the next gen re-release touch, and now Capcom is at it again with DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition.
The original release of DmC was a solid game, bringing the skills of Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, Enslaved) to the mix, and giving the license a reboot in the process. Gone was the white-haired protagonist, Dante, replaced with a more youthful, edgier incarnation. This move instantly angered long-time fans, but the game proved to be worthy of the Devil May Cry blood it carried in its code, and possessed possibly the best combat the series had seen thus far. The debate on which the best game of the series still rages amongst fans, but DmC is certainly a contender here, even with the stellar third game of the series.
The Definitive Edition brings the game to current gen, with the usual assortment of improvements this kind of re-release is expected to carry. We have full 1080p resolution, and a solid, if not constant 60fps. Although this is clearly still a last-gen game in terms of visuals, it’s still a visual treat, with some new lightning and shading touches, and thanks to the smooth and fast frame rate, it’s the best it’s ever looked.
All of the previous DLC is also included in the package, such as Vergil’s add-on, and there are new difficulty modes, as well as a turbo mode that speeds up combat by about 20%. You even get to play as the classic white-hair and red coat Dante, so that should keep hardcore fans happy.
Refined, not remastered
Although DmC is visually sharper on current gen, and the frame rate makes the game more enjoyable, it’s not the visual polish, or even the added DLC that makes this a worthwhile release, at least for those who have already played the original, last-gen version. The key here is refinement, and Capcom’s efforts to address various concerns fans had with the original release. These tweaks are small, but have a major effect on the game, allowing it to please purists of the series, as well as those simply looking for a challenge.
A clear example of this is the new combo system found in Hardcore mode. This was often criticised by fans in the original release, as it was very easy to build up and keep a combo going, making it easy to build up a score. This was different to previous releases, where it was much harder to build up a good combo rating. Although this system is based on Style, the original DmC didn’t enforce this, with the system being based more on damage dealt instead. Capcom has altered this for the Definitive Edition, and you can now play the game with the original style system approach, restoring the challenge and the need to vary attacks. You can even select an option where enemies only take damage after the combo meter rises a certain level.
Additional changes also have a positive effect, including other extra difficulty modes like Gods Must Die that increase the challenge even more, and a new lock-on system makes it easier to execute moves like Dante’s staple Stinger attack. This doesn’t decrease the challenge though, it simply makes some moves more accessible, which is always an important consideration for such a fast and frantic action title. You don’t want to be sat fiddling with the controls attempting to pull of a simple move in the midst of a fight, after all.
Enemies have also been tweaked, with new attack patterns and some balancing, which only helps this edition of the game feel more rounded and complete. Like I said, these are relatively subtle additions, but for a game like DmC, they’re integral, and really give the re-release a boost. The 60fps enhances the combat too, allowing for even more accurate timing and split-second manoeuvres.
Still the same
Underneath the improved visuals and gameplay tweaks lies the original gameplay of DmC, and this is a good thing, as DmC was already a vastly enjoyable outing, and Capcom knows this. The combat system is still one of the best of its kind, and it allows for a huge amount of experimentation and variation, making the style system every bit as satisfying as it’s always been, only this time it can be more challenging.
Dante can instantly switch between his various weapons and abilities in mid-fight, and many enemies demand the use of different approaches, so the combat system, and Dante’s other skills like environmental traversal, need to be mastered. This time, however, enemies aren’t invulnerable to some attacks, a problem with the original release. Enemies will take damage from every kind of attack, only some are much more effective than others.
With combat so fluid and well-implemented, my only real concern would be the same issues I’ve had with the game in the past, and others of its ilk. Instead of levels that flow along, with enemies to fight and kill, DmC repeatedly locks you in an arena-style fights, and these instances are often easy to telegraph. Approaching a big room or open area? It’ll be a fight, then.
This doesn’t really have a negative effect on gameplay as such, but it heavily outlines the game’s very linear nature, and aside from the odd secret area to find, there’s little room for exploration. Now, this is Devil Mary Cry, not an open world sandbox, but I feel it could be a little less rail road and more flexible, but it’s a minor concern, and there’s plenty of game here in the decent length campaign.
Even after you complete the game, this edition still gives you the Bloody Palace Mode and other extra content, and the higher difficulty modes and new challenges only add to the game’s long lasting appeal. The gameplay tweaks also make this an essential purchase for hardcore series fans who found the original release a little tame compared to past outings.
Whilst many remasters are little more than an excuse to slap some visual polish on an old title to make more money, sometimes we see such releases that actually earn their second shot. GTA V was a great recent example of this, and DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition also stands proud as a great hack and slash title that’s now been polished in almost every way to deliver the game fans were waiting for.