Gamescom 2012: DmC Hands-On Preview – Fists of Fury
Written Wednesday, August 22, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Surreal. That's the overriding feeling we had while watching Capcom's DmC presentation at Gamescom this year. Watching Dante beat seven shades out of the looming disembodied head of a right-wing news reader was certainly odd, but then Devil May Cry has never been particularly straight-laced. Ninja Theory looks to be taking the weirdness to a different place this time around however, which apparently means you'll be visiting virtual plains to carve into huge floating heads. You'll also be traversing topsy-turvy environments while taking on demon spawn, which is of course all in a day's work for Dante.
While Capcom's presentation showed off the bizarre boss battle and saw Dante fighting his way through the inner workings of a propagandistic news network, with graphics whizzing around him, our hands-on demo takes us to more familiar dark and gothic architecture. The only difference is, the whole world has been turned upside down, which means running along ceilings and navigating certain parts of the world that have been flipped on their head. This is obviously all viewed from a normal perspective, so it doesn't have too much of an impact on your orientation or the gameplay, although it does prove something of a novelty.
This level also plays host to Dante's Eryx gauntlets that aren't unlike his Ifrit gauntlets from previous Devil May Cry titles. Like the flaming gloves from past iterations, the Eryx gauntlets can be used to string together some heavy combos, crushing demons into paste. In our previous two demos, Dante's devil weapon was the huge Arbiter axe, but here the Eryx gauntlets take the axe's place on the right trigger, while the Osiris scythe remains the angel weapon on the left trigger, and standard attacks come courtesy of the demon hunter's mainstay sword of choice, Rebellion. Using the Eryx gauntlets, you're able to smash your way through organically formed crystalline barricades too, shattering the glowing red portals with a charged punch attack.
Each area we visit on our journey running along the ceiling of DmC's inverted world suspended in mid-air seems to be hemmed in by these crimson crystal gates too, so there's more than a little breaking through the barriers to be done. But not before giving a big flaming knuckle sandwich to a few spindly demons first. Initially, we find ourselves facing the same old creatures from our first hands-on session, which means charging the Eryx to crack enemy shields, exposing them to a thrashing from the Osiris or Rebellion. As ever, the controls and fluidity of the combat is still utterly sublime, boasting the kind of depth that nimble fingered hack and slash aficionados have come to adore. Using a launcher, you can juggle enemies to build up your combo and style meter, and as always, variation and finesse is rewarded with more red orbs.
So streamlined is DmC's combat that we could see ourselves quite happily playing the game to completion right now (as in this minute), chaining insane A, S, SS and SSS combos with big stupid grins on our faces. The controls make perfect, logical sense and clearly show that the collaboration between Capcom and Ninja Theory has worked wonders for DmC. Using the Eryx gauntlets, Dante is also able to leap into the air and hold down a button to charge up a huge ground-pounding attack, as seen during the aforementioned floaty head boss battle. This can create some much-needed breathing space when things get a little too crowded, knocking enemies off their feet, leaving them open and vulnerable to some fast follow-up attacks.
With a few waves of demons taken out, juggled and comboed to death to the strains of some grinding metal music, some platform jumping is in order, which means making use of Dante's angel and devil triggers once again using the bumper buttons to grab onto platforms or hook points marked with blue or red icons. Using angel trigger, you swing between blue points and pull out red platforms with the devil trigger. During certain leaps, you can also glide across long distances at speed, where a simple jump and mid-air dash won't suffice. DmC's platforming bits are actually strangely enjoyable, and in our demo, they seem to be well-placed to offer a brief break from fighting enemies.
Breaking into the final room of the demo, we're stalked by a strange little red-eyed creature who scurries away, leaving behind two much larger, red-eyed, spiny feline beasts. Flanked on both sides, we let rip with some rapid stabbing sword attacks, a few Eryx-powered ground pounds and a few rapid Osiris scythe combos, wearing down and eventually dispatching one of the spiky white cat creatures. With his buddy gone, the other feline demon becomes enraged, making him much stronger and more aggressive. As luck would have it however, we'd already torn into both creatures enough to take each one down in quick succession, so before the second beastie has a a chance to enter its rage state, we've already dealt the killer blow. Bad luck, kitty.
Another stellar demo has us utterly convinced that DmC is going to be something very special indeed. Capcom and Street Fighter IV guru Yoshinori Ono's work on the combat is plain to see in the pitch perfect mechanics, while Ninja Theory's storytelling expertise promise to take Dante, and indeed the franchise to new and intriguing territory. Vergil returning as Dante's twin brother is another indication that while DmC is a reboot, it's staying true to the spirit of the Devil May Cry series, and as long-time fans, we're hugely optimistic that DmC won't just be a fantastic Devil May Cry game, but a genuinely great game, full stop. Can we play some more now please, Capcom?
DmC will be releasing the devil within on January 15th, 2013.