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DmC: Devil May Cry reviewed: An engaging video game lurks beneath a heap of vulgarity

DmC: Devil May Cry reviewed: An engaging video game lurks beneath a heap of vulgarity

This addition to the dark, adults-only Devil May Cry game series features Dante, the main protagonist, and his brother Vergil—both are half demon and half angel. Together, Dante and Vergil have to take down Mundus, the demon king who destroyed their family. Despite DmC’s non-stop vulgarity, it’s engaging—but I wouldn’t play it with anyone else in the room.

The first game in the Devil May Cry series was released back in 2001. There were four games altogether, the most recent from 2008. DmC is a reboot of a game in the original Devil May Cry series.

Who’s it for? The game earns its Mature rating very early on: The opening features a nude Dante, with props barely covering him, as he leaps through the air getting dressed. (It’s kind of like those scenes in the Austin Powers movies, except action-packed.) And just about every other word in the game is potentially offensive to someone. That’s not to say the dialogue isn’t humorous, but it is very vulgar—and it takes a lot to embarrass me. It certainly helps to establish Dante as a swaggering, smart-mouthed action hero.

Gameplay. Dante can use his upgradable weapons and powers to unleash long chains of attacks on enemies. And the game brings back the “style system” from the original series, in which you’re rewarded for performing stylish combos.

Dante can also switch among human (the default mode), Angel Mode, and Devil Mode. While in Angel Mode, Dante is more agile and can pull himself towards enemies and objects. In Devil Mode, he is stronger and can pull enemies and objects to him. These abilities are used both in battle and to navigate through levels. The action is fun and fast and is the highlight of the game.

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All in all, DmC is a visually impressive game. The characters look great during dialogue sequences, and the enemies are just as grotesque as demons should be. The “stages” (background art) for each game level are varied and provide a nice backdrop for the action. One stage is a twisted version of an amusement park, complete with scary rides and ominous characters.

Replayability. The game is a bit short; you can play through in about 10 hours, though there are a few secret areas and challenges to find. But since the game is mainly focused on combat, changing the difficulty level is reason enough to play through multiple times. And completing the game on different difficulty levels allows you to unlock some alternate appearances for Dante.

In addition, an upcoming free update will add Bloody Palace Mode to the game: This is a gauntlet where you see how long you can survive against waves of demons and bosses from the main game. You must complete the game at least once before you can access this mode.

Also coming in the near future is a downloadable chapter called Vergil’s Downfall, which lets you play as Dante’s brother, for $8.99 on PlayStation 3 or 720 MS points for Xbox 360. And you’ll be able to add a costume pack—which will include an “original” version of Dante, with long, white hair—on January 29 ($4 or 320 Microsoft points).

Bottom line. Buried beneath a heap of vulgarity is a fun game with an interesting story. The combat system is great, and that alone can keep you coming back to the game.

The new game does plenty to honor the series while staying fresh enough to stand on its own. Fans of fast-paced action, challenging combat, and supernatural story lines will enjoy it. But keep this one away from the kids and the easily offended!

DmC: Devil May Cry is available now for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 (I reviewed it on a PlayStation 3), and Windows PCs. It’s rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

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