E3 2012: DmC Hands-On Preview – The Secret Ingredient
Written Thursday, June 14, 2012 By X360A Staff
It's not been long since we last tangoed with new Dante in Ninja Theory's controversial Devil May Cry reboot DmC, but this time we're presented with a hands-on that takes us to one of the tough boss battles from the game, as well as a presentation of a typically bombastic scene set in a nightclub. Both demos (one hands-on, one hands-off) offered us yet another glimpse of what's to come, with the boss battle proving to be a doozy of a fight. Like any Devil May Cry game worth its salt, this boss battle is one hell of a challenge, leading us into a cavernous chamber filled with magma, housing one of the ugliest boss characters we've fought in some time.
After a brief exchange filled with colourful eff words, as Dante and acerbic slug woman Poison scream at one another in comical fashion, it's time to get it on (not like that) and cut the so-called 'secret ingredient' off at its source. Remember the episode of Futurama with the Slurm factory and the discovery of that particular secret ingredient? It looks as though its the same deal here, with Dante tracking down the 1200 year old Poison (or what he calls a “sack of shit”) dangling from the ceiling of the chamber, suspended by pipes pumping out her hideous brew, presumably for cans of the game's parody energy drink, 'Virility', which even has a cartoon picture of Poison on the can. And we remember we drank one of those when we last visited Capcom's UK offices. Eww!
It's time to cut this slug down to size. First, we have a briefing telling us the best ways to tackle Poison – the conservative, long way or the skilful, harder, but shorter way. We first opt for the former, hacking away at Poison's talon-like hands while avoiding her acidic vomit and nasty swipes. Eventually, she'll expose the weak spot on her forehead and you'll be able to go nuts carving into it. This however, is not the best approach to take, as we soon find. The proper approach involves harnessing Dante's angel and devil triggers, as well as some impeccably timed parries.
As Poison swipes towards us, we find that Dante needs to face the incoming attack head on before hitting Y the split-second before it hits him. This initiates a parry if timed correctly, batting the attack away and stunning Poison long enough for Dante to use his devil trigger grab to slam her head into the deck, leaving her dazed and primed for some devil trigger axe work to her pulsating red face. Using Angel trigger grabs – working exactly like Nero's Devil Bringer from Devil May Cry 4 – we're able to swing away to other platforms in the chamber to avoid Poison's corrosive puke, repeating the parry and slice pattern to blast chunks off her three health bars.
Once she's rinsed, we get the chance to pull away her pipes using devil trigger grabs, spilling unctuous, acrid fluid all over the place. She's not happy, as Dante leaps onto her to finish the job, dropping her into the molten rock below. But, as with every great boss battle, she's not cooked just yet. What follows is a blend of chasing and knowing when to hit the angel or devil triggers, as Poison desperately tries to claw at Dante while being sucked towards a huge spinning fan blade at the bottom of the chamber. Dante swiftly dodges her clawing, hooking her talons with the angel trigger as she tries in vain to grasp pillars and platforms. Eventually, we get her in front of the whirling blades as she screams for mercy. We callously cut at her fingers until her grasp is freed, and she's stuck in the fan, her head squashed like a big melon as the blade grinds against its housing. Ouch.
Colour us deeply gratified and amused then, in a sick sorta way... It wasn’t all about the hands-on shenanigans for this year’s E3 though, Capcom was also keen to show off some brand new gameplay behind-closed-doors. In the words of 50 Cent, it’s time to hit Da Club… However, it’s not your everyday club, as this club straddles parallels between reality and the demon world – a demon world that’s been showered with ecstasy and dragged through a psychedelic rainbow.
Welcome to DmC’s game show gauntlet level, where you’re forced to fight your way through round after round of progressively trickier foes to gain an audience with a powerful demon – which is code for kick their ass. It’s a slickly presented level with a unique and psychedelic art-style whose morphing from generic club to demonic playhouse is part of its charm. It’s also, according to Ninja Theory, the most linear level in the game, but that’s kind of the point.
It’s not only a perfect time to catch someone skilled and practised in the dark arts of Dante at work on the controller – with insane combos and mucho juggling antics being at the forefront of the action – but it means we also know what the hell is going on thanks to the developers on hand. Watching Ninja Theory rack up SSS grade combo after SSS grade combo is a positive indicator for fans that the depth in the combo system that we all expect from Devil May Cry is all present and correct in DmC.
Designed to test your mettle and encourage players to think before they swipe, Dante is thrust into challenge after challenge – with a little platforming sandwiched in between – of differing prospects. Dante will find himself having to kill a certain amount of enemies within a set time period, having to switch between devil and angel weapons on the fly to take on certain foes who are immune to one or the other, as well as taking on The Rage – who are a couple of powerful beasts that attack in pairs; kill one and the other becomes enraged, obtaining superior armour in the process. It’s a great chance to see the upgradeable weapon sets in action too, which will surely allow players to create their own unique style of play.
Having spent considerable time with Dante and DmC once more, we're confident that this really is a proper Devil May Cry game, with the angel and devil triggers providing an extra layer of strategy and increased combat options. Dante's still brash, cool and likeable – more akin to Devil May Cry 3 Dante in his demeanour – and his demon-slaying prowess is still very much front and centre, as he slaughters twisted monsters in his own inimitable style. And it's all still hard as nails too. It might be a reboot, but DmC is the Devil May Cry you know and love. It's just, y'know, a bit different. However the bottom line is, we love it and hopefully, you will too.
DmC is out on January 15th, 2013.