DmC: Devil May Cry Hands-On Preview – Angels and Demons

Richard Walker

There's been a lot of talk about DmC since its original announcement back at TGS in September 2010, most of which has revolved around the colour of the rebooted Dante's hair. Yes, his hair is no longer white. Yes, it's been cropped and it's black. But having got our hands on Ninja Theory's take on Devil May Cry, we soon forgot about all of that daft hair business. Not that we actually cared about the colour of Dante's barnet to begin with.

Hair-based controversy aside, Ninja Theory is a developer that clearly knows its hack 'n' slash and action adventure onions, having delivered PS3-exclusive Heavenly Sword followed by the criminally overlooked Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and that experience shines through in DmC. More importantly though, DmC feels instantly familiar yet distinctly different to previous Devil May Cry games. Right off the bat, the interplay between Dante's ebony & ivory pistols and his trusty sword is immediate and slick, just like its always been in past iterations, but Ninja Theory has added a few fresh mechanics of its own.

Set in Limbo City, our hands-on picks up during a section initially shown in one of the early gameplay videos released for DmC, so it's instantly familiar with the cobbled European streets that break up and shift as Dante runs through them. From the off, we can already tell that this is a Dante that's still cocksure and brash, but he's actually quite witty too, with some smart-mouthed one-liners that actually raise a smirk. We're not here for Dante's verbal repartee though. We're here to see how he can handle himself in a fight against his demonic enemies, seamlessly wielding swords and pistols like he always has.

And if you liked Nero's grabby Devil Bringer arm from Devil May Cry 4, you'll be happy to know that Dante now has his own grapple moves too, as well as different weapons that can be switched on the fly by holding down the left and right triggers. The left trigger activates Dante's angel trigger, which enables him to execute rapid light attacks using a slender scythe weapon, whereas the right trigger activates Dante's devil stance, unleashing a huge heavy axe that can carve through enemy defences, leaving them wide open to attacks. Pressing neither trigger leaves Dante in his default stance, wielding his standard sword and handguns.

Getting stuck in, we come up against several gangly demons that help ease us back into the action, with Dante's juggling combos complemented by the grab move that enables you to launch enemies into the air at the touch of a button, before zipping up towards them to kick off a graceful airborne combo or slam them into the ground. Certain demons need to be dispatched using the appropriate angel or devil triggers, so shield-carrying red-hued enemies have to be dealt with using the devil trigger, while blue-tinged bad guys can be taken down with the angel trigger's scythe. This adds an extra layer of strategy to DmC, keeping you on your toes rather than blindly bashing buttons.

There's a variety of enemies to tackle, including pesky laser spitting cherubs that need to be carved up using the angel trigger, while larger demons with chainsaws can be taken out using whatever weapon you see fit. The usual Devil May Cry combo system remains intact too, so striving to keep your moves chained together in pursuit of that elusive 'S' grade combo is still very much an ongoing concern as you mix up Dante's abilities. Our only interruptions during combos came when we forgot to let go of the triggers to shoot Dante's guns, as we got carried away switching between the angel and devil triggers at will.

Tapping the right bumper enables Dante to evade, while holding the left trigger and hitting the jump button lets you dash. You can also pull objects marked in red using the devil trigger grab and swing from blue points using angel trigger, which makes the platform jumping sections infinitely more interesting than before. There's a double jump (AKA the Air Hike) that we think is unlocked from the off too, thank goodness. And in the shifting, changing, dangerous Limbo City, we end up having to do our fair share of leaping between precipices, as thoroughfares crack and walls cave in around Dante, while his spectral guide appears at pivotal moments to lend a hand. For instance, she helpfully points out that the surveillance cameras have transformed into ogling eyeballs, what with this being a hellish alternate plane where anything can happen, so Dante sets to work yanking the demonic spies out of their sockets and booting them over the horizon. But not before spouting a wisecrack, of course.

While we approached our first hands-on with DmC with a modicum of apprehension, we left Capcom's London HQ feeling pretty good about the prospects of Ninja Theory's first crack of the whip with Dante. Not only does the game look stunning and distinctive, with every inch of its Gothic European architecture dripping with style and detail, from the sandy reds and terracotta hues of the streets to the cold interior of the cathedral's moving hall with its towering stained glass window, but DmC is also great fun to play. And what's more, as a prequel, you'll probably end up finding out how Dante's hair turned white too. So, there's no need to worry. Devil May Cry and Dante certainly seem to be in good hands, and if it transpires that SEGA has actually (stupidly) cancelled Bayonetta 2 as rumoured, we'd consider DmC a potentially worthy alternative.

DmC is due to release sometime on 2012, and we'll be getting another look at the game during E3 next month.

  • Well DMC is certainly no "alternate" to Bayonetta. It's actually vice versa, but I get it. At the beginning a lot of us did care about the hair. As time went on...some of us let the hair thing go and care more about the game play. Some to most of us still HATE the idea of Dante having black hair. It's all good in the end as we'll be getting this game!
  • i know the hair thing might upset the purists. but does it matter as long as the game is good. :)
  • Gameplay>Hair Looking forward to another fun installation of the series :D
  • i honestly couldnt care about the hair and i will admit i thought he was kind of emo looking at the start of all this when it looked like he just got his ass kicked but i see he isnt and to be honest i am really starting to like this new dante but it will take much more to stand up to the real deal all in all this is a first day buy and my interest is growing with every new form of media
  • the further along the project gets, the better it looks. at this point, people should stop whining and see if ninja theory delivers.
  • Really disappointed in this article. Accusing fans of just being outraged about hair is a total strawman argument. Fans are annoyed because a series known for it's over the top style and smooth and deep combat has been handed to a developer who actively state their contempt for over the top style and have never made a game with smooth or deep combat. Not only this but it states the game is a prequel. Which it isn't. NT have been very clear that it is a separate take on the franchise. There's no reason for this to be a DMC game. It could be something else and there would be no problem. It simply has a brand stuck on it to try and help sales. Which in turn robs us of a proper sequel.
  • i still probably get it but with all the shit there changing its not really dmc anymore new devolopment team, new character(looks dif and dante is half human not angel) they should have just made a new ip instead of trying to sell the name
  • If those are in game screenshots looks pretty amazing.
  • How bout the people that just didn't want the series to revamp? : | I liked the storyline and now who knows where fuck it's going to go, no original characters? Does Dante even have a brother? It's not the fucking hair. It's the game itself. If the lore isn't there, it isn't even Devil May Cry anymore, know what I mean?
  • I'm still waiting for the real Dante t show up.
  • gotta admit this looks like it is all coming along nicely. cant wait to actually get my hands on it :D still hoping there is going to be a big twist were it is some cult trying to make them self a clone or something of dante for there own gain.
  • I'm confused, so they know that some people hate the black hair right...? Why not just release an unlockable constume that brings back Dante's white hair? That'd fix the problem and please most of the upset people...I mean, that's what I'd do... I just hope the story is good...
  • I really dont understand why they could not just continue after DMC 4. The story of Nero has so much potential. And theres always more to Dante's complex story. Why dont they realize this?
  • @12 knowing Capcom this is probably the reason for the change . Good call .
  • @6 well if you read some early reviews, you will see that this is even more over the top than the other DmCs. it gets very good reviews overall.
  • looks good , have to wait and see
  • I hope this turn to be great. All original DmC series are brilliant and good. So I hopeful new look of young Dante get great his own way like older Dante did. Will preorder once date being confirm. :D
  • Hair-based controversy aside, Its not been about the hair for a long time ! It's the fact that the need to reboot the game wasn't there Dmc 4 played and looked stunning It still looks good now . So what Capcom does is hand it over to another company who then goes hey lets put it on an engine with half the frames of the old one shitter visuals and totally change the feel of the game. Thanks very much
  • I've played all 4 & liked them. The 4th got away from Dante with Nero & that I did not appreciate! Now that they have went with even a younger Dante really shows that there catering to the young teenagers out there. This series has been around since 2001 so I'm not pleased. Make another Devil may cry with an old & mighty powerful Dante maybe, hell bent on finding his father/mother & freeing them from hell now thats a game I would play ;)
  • Balls to Dante, bring back Raziel!
  • Dante was born with white hair, just so people know from the end of this.
  • Oh, and from the interviews alone, Ninja Theory doesn't seem to know a thing or two about smooth combat. They outright insulted the fast paced combat.
  • @6 - The latest press releases from Capcom state that DmC charts Dante's "early years", so it seems that while it started out as a reboot, it's since been re-positioned as a prequel story. "Explore Dante’s early years in a gripping narrative featuring familiar faces from the series alongside all new characters."
  • I love DMC world, I could careless if it's a Re-Vamp I mean look at Castlevania that went well enough :)
  • @23 I did not know that hum if its good its good I will buy it and give it a go.
  • "you'll probably end up finding out how Dante's hair turned white too. So, there's no need to worry" Will it also explain why his brother Virgil's hair is also white? I see nothing but bad graphics & game flow from the clip myself. I have loved this game & thats why I'm posting yet another time to complain. I predict this game will not do at all well when people start selling their copies shortly after buying it ;)& yes I'll post again on this thread when I'm proven right! With a big "I TOLD YOU SO!!!
  • Well, if those ARE in-game screens, we now have the option to turn off the HUD/on-screen indicators!
  • Really like the way this game is coming along. Hopefully they'll release a demo so the sceptics can see how it plays.
  • I'm sorry, but it isn't JUST about how a game plays for me. I get enthralled in the stories and the lore of my games. Characters are established and so are the backgrounds. They have completely changed everything (even though it is a little bit) about our over-the-top smart ass that is Dante. I despise when creative liberties are taken with a character that everyone has become accustomed to. Dante's white hair was a trademark to his character, as were Ebony & Ivory and Rebellion, and they changed those as well. This isn't a reboot. It is a rewrite. And I can't say that I approve.I may still play this game, but it will NEVER fall into canon of my knowledge of the DMC universe.
  • How funny can it be that the hair color is a problem? Seriously, is not like wiping out the entire franchise, making a instant kill reboot of it and changing every single aspect of the game is less important than the F***ING HAIR of Dante!? FOR REAL!? That´s the only **** that everyone is concerned!? Not the part where now Vergil, Nero, Sparda, Trish, Lucia and Lady are erased totally, and if they reappear are gonna be rebooted as well? wow, just wow. I did like what i see in this trailer, but what it almost make me puke was that its look like is gonna be the same gameplay as always, i mean, if they´re going for a full reboot, why don´t change the gameplay as well? Ill just have to wait for the final gameplay and see if the game its worth the time, ´cuz **** like this always end up bad, and the fanboys will always be the worst on these changes.
  • @6 You shouldn't be dissapointed, articles like this are common here. Fanboys will cry.
  • Still don't like new Dante, Never will like new Dante, never liked old Dante either, never will like old Dante. So he was never really of any significance to me, regarding the reboot. But as much as I was hoping this game would be fun, the fact that it seems much too similar to a hack and slash version of Alice:Madness Returns isn't really interesting to me... I'm not really a fan of the angel/devil trigger's execution from how it was described either. I liked it much more when we had the different weapons available to normal Dante, and just got the DT to make them better. If they make there be selectable weapons that aren't bound by A/DT only, I'll be more happy(Maybe if they get a few different weapons per trigger. That I could go with), but.. meh... Not a fan of how it's coming into finalization. Not saying it won't be an amazing game. Just not my cup of tea from everything that's been announced so far.
  • Have people forgotten that his hair CHANGES to white in this new game? When he's in Devil Trigger and possibly Angel Trigger his hair changes to white and so for those brief moments the hair haters out there can revel in past glories. The lore of the series may indeed be here in this new game, you'll just have to play it to find out
  • This is looking great, i honestly can't believe people are annoyed about a hair change(and sorry to those that think its more than that) but most of the complaints here are about the new hair. Guys, its hair, you'll find a way to cope...
  • i really can not wait, a prequel? what??!! I knew they would change their mind! looking better and better every day!
  • @23 Richie82. Well my apologies if that is the case but seeing how Dante has different parents I don't believe it is. The press release you have quoted makes no mention of it being a prequel, merely you will look at the younger years. That does not automatically mean a prequel. In the past they have been quite explicit that it is not in the same canon. Dante is half human and half demon. Whereas in this version he is half demon and half angel.
  • I will actually enjoy this game no matter what everyone else says. You are not a true DMC fan if you don't like at least one are you?
  • This game is looking sweet. Like most people i didn,t take to well to emo dante but the more i see of the game and the character the more i can,t wait
  • @23 So it's the prequel to the prequel DMC 3 was? How much younger is the dude going to get? He was like 17-18 in 3. He's obviously at least 20 in DmC. I feel like Capcom doesn't even understand their own franchise. I hope there's a demo. There's no way I can buy this if it's not at least on par with DMC 4.
  • @23 Actually I just read in another source. It's "An alternate timeline featuring a young Dante". Translation I get from that: reboot.
  • Sounds excellent. Also, Bayo 2 might not have been cancelled:
  • Way to generalise and know nothing about the argument you're dismissing. It's never been about just the hair colour. It's about the rebooting of a beloved character that did not need it. The hair colour is a trademark, it's something we associate with Dante, along with many other things about Dante that have been changed. It'd be like if Valve handed half-Life off to another developer, who decided that Gordon doesn't need his goatee, and would spout cheesey one liners. It's just not the same character you know and love. I hold nothing against Ninja Theory, especially since it's been said that the team were very hesistant about messing with the DMC universe, and that it was Capcom who insisted on the reboot. I'm also sure the game will be a fun, hack'n'slash. It's just not Devil May Cry, and indeed, not Dante, which is the major point fans are trying to make.
  • MORE LIKE LIGHT AND DORK SIDE! This is going to be a piss awful game.
  • I am so hype for this! DmC, Max Payne 3 and Dragon's Dogma; it's gonna be a good year for gaming.
  • I wonder what Capcom is going to lock out of this game that will be released later as "DLC".
  • "(-4)" Haha, that's it fanboys? Keep trying to make sense out of this stupid story with non existing canon. Stay free scrubs.
  • I know right, yama. I posted Didn't insult the game. Got -4 Should have probably fanboy nergasmed then, maybe people wouldn't be so butthurt about a game comment I didn't even say anything negative about.
  • Not got any beef with DMC series but trying to bring something fresh to an existing franchise isn't such a bad thing, might get new fans.
  • if you dont like it quit bitching about it. From what it seems so far its gunna be a good hack and slash. Get over it not being the same. We really know like 2 things this game has to offer, and know almost nothing of the story so wait to judge it until we know more.
  • the thing that makes me mad the most is that this a reboot do you ever see them make a second reboot no what in sayin but whatever its just his outfit is completly differnt and no white hair but theyll probley explain that whatever there the ones spending millions of dollars makeing it lets just try to in joy it it may not be that bad but still games the take to long to make are half the time bad exaple....duke nukem forever
  • I never really liked DMC in all the honesty. Just wasn't fun for me. Then again I loved Enslaved, so hopefully they will release the demo to help me make up my mind. I might just get into it=D
  • I'll say what I said in the last DMC article. There are to many inconsistencies in this reboot to even MERIT it to be deemed a prequel. I dont give a shit what Capcom says this is not a proper prequel! As #6 stated and whoever mentioned Vergil Trish ect being rebooted hit the nail right on the head. The trailer we viewed mentioned demons being aware of Dante's roots (Son of Sparda) When you fast foward to DMC1 none of the major demons dont know hes jack shit in the beginning (Quote Phantom "Bah another small one. I sensed something bigger, what a disappointing CATCH!") Much to popular belief Demons like to talk as much a Dante likes killing them, so an entire CITY of demons doesn't tell people like Phantom? Hogswash. Plus there are a few things (hair included but not limited to) that should remain. Things that are iconic to Dante and the DMC brand, like huh. . .whats that? Oh no if my eye sight is failing me PLEASE put me out of my misery! On the box art Ebony & Ivory the ICONIC custom built M1911's Dante owns have also been rebooted?! Like I said inconsistencies for it to quality as a prequel. We got a prequel and that was DMC3 Dante's AWAKENING. Anyone who was into the timeline even got to get a prequel to THAT in the form of animanga. I could go on and on and yes I am a fanboy but fanboys was what made DMC a franchise instead of a one hit wonder that was born from the scraps of RE4. So please before you start bashing fanboy's beliefs realize that its something we're passionate about. My closing statement is THIS; DMC is worthy of the "brand name" but if Capcom continues to pursue this distorted view of a prequel to the grandfather of stylish hack n' slash they need to step away and re-asses THIER roots. That is all.
  • My apologies on my grammar mistakes, I'm writing on my PS3 and it sometimes thinks I mean one thing when I mean another.
  • From the video all i got was Ninja Theory thinks people want platforming in a DMC game.
  • The minute I saw the first trailer, I knew I would play it. But, it's not a proper DmC title (IMO).
  • i cannot wait for this game!
  • @6 I totally agree with everything you jus said . There are more factors involved with being a fan of the DMC series . Honestly , who cares about his hair . Really ?
  • OK, so in this one his parents are a demon and an angel yet in the 4 games before it and even the anime, his parents are a human and a demon. In which case would someone please explain how this would be a prequel. The hair could easily change through the game but I am pretty sure ones parents and blood can't. I'm willing to give it a go though and then we'll see if it is worthy of the name 'Devil May Cry'.
  • ...but I liked the white hair ;-;
  • I'm buying this day one, I Love Devil May Cry games. I also really enjoyed Enslaved, but there is no pleasing everybody. It's sad that they took it away from Hideki Kamiya, although if they do a horrible job with it won't you be glad they ruined their version of Dante and not Kamiya's? I hope people at least try it out, Not saying you must buy it, but however you can get your hands on it play it before you have your mind made up.
  • For me, it wasn't entirely about the hair. It was the fact that this kid looked nothing like Dante if he were younger. The black hair thing wasn't entirely the issue - Dante's young, could be going through a "phase" or some crap. It was the trying-too-hard attitude that the announcement trailer possessed that really irked me. A reboot of a franchise whose last entry was an attempt to switch protagonists felt like a slap in the face. It just felt like Capcom did NOT want to give us the Dante from DMC 1 or 3 no matter what. Thankfully, they've seemed to scale that fake-ass 'tude back quite a bit and I think it was a smart decision. They've also stopped NT from saying stupid things and are just letting the videos speak for themselves. From the few videos I've seen, the gameplay, A.K.A. the most important part, is looking rather solid. Here's hoping they don't fumble that up.
  • This looks AWESOME!
  • So is the official name gonna be Generic Goth guy Beat em' up?
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