Sunday, December 2, 2012

DMC Retrospective

Dante May Kleenex – Past, Present, and Rock n’ Roll

Divinity pt 1 – the introduction
Somehow by divine intervention; I stumbled upon this crazy series. It was during the early days of the PS2, when a friend happened to procure one during that years’ Xmas insanity. Plus I followed coverage via Electronic Gaming Monthly (when it was in its magazine form, now an online only publication). At the time, DMC was being helmed as the second coming of the toughest games around. Ghouls n’ Ghosts was by far the most proclaimed game that would punish any player, even the first level took challengers down in a heartbeat.

DMC 1 was released in 2001, before the insanity hit the fan. And censorship was in high gear with many things going on. That aside, its biggest opposition was that the PS2 was barely a few years old. At the time the system was hitting its stride, offering crisp visuals, and surround sound (an option very few consoles actually had) plus the ability of reading disc media in less time. Most consoles read at certain speeds, however its limitation was in its memory. To get down to business, most PS2 owners had to have a memory card (yup those were the days) on the bright side, some retailers included them with a console purchase.

Upon playing the first few missions in DMC, I realized just how tough this game truly was. Even getting past the first mission without taking damage wasn’t a piece of cake. Included that the game was using the Resident Evil engine, at the time it was cutting edge yet offered a bit of a challenge to those who dared it. By far the toughest part about the game altogether was its offensive CPU enemies and bosses. A players’ best bet is to leave an area, head back and obtain more gems. This gem system consisted of a variety, red (money), blue (magic), yellow (life). Given Dante’s status, the more options you buy via the lion statues, there are various abilities granted.

DMC1 opened many doors for its dev team, besides kicking lots of butt. They actually brought back a dying art form in game design. A title that would push players to its limits. This would eventually become a tradition throughout the series.

DMC2 – Pandora’s Box
A few years later DMC returned with a second chapter. However the original team that worked on it was sent to other projects. And a whole different game was made, but it wasn’t admired by fans. Some called the game “too easy” than the first entry. I actually kept up with this one, via our old pals from G4tv. At the time they had an ongoing contest with Capcom regarding various titles. I found myself a bit on the positive end when something arrived. Sadly I never did get a PS2, I told myself I would. So I sat on the backburner for someday. But I did get a chance to play it on a friends’ system. It felt right, but something was a bit different.

(I write this in past tense, as I now own the DMC HD collection. So I actually will add more to these notes regarding the game. It feels weird to play it many years later. Although it’s on another console, something many DMC fans literally thought wasn’t possible because of Sony’s grip on Capcom titles on their system. It took some years of patience, and faith for things to pan out. And gladly I feel humbled to still keep up with this series, even after all these years.)

DMC3 – Awakening
Oddly enough I actually missed playing this chapter. I did check out the boxart, and read the details on what was held within. Like the above note, its part of the collection so more to come here.

DMC4 – Nero May Cry
So onto this fun tale.. along with a fellow DMC fan we composed some notes that garnered a bit of attention. Included with the fact that this entry was different. For one, players took on the mantle of Nero, another Devil Hunter / Holy Knight. Unlike Dante, he garnered his powers from untapped latent abilities. Players are introduced to his fight style from the get go. In the meantime, said contest, and well things panned out. My friend and I were lucky enough to gain some kudos hidden in the game (plus credits) Its hidden, but on a tougher difficulty level. So there’s an easter egg!

While this was the fourth game, it actually branched out from what most were used to. Best part about it was, that the difficulty levels were amped up. No longer was Easy considered a piece of pie, but each next level up would really push buttons. It was regarded as the comeback some thought weren’t possible.

Just Cause – Enter the Dragon
Without this crew, there would be no DMC. Mostly known from independent films that contained action, drama, and a bit of comedy. Okay scratch that, badass action that no one else can master! (hey they were taught by the best, Jackie Chan!) Hence the JC part. The crew within comes from diverse backgrounds and tons of marital arts training all around the world. Each DMC game contains some bonus goodies throughout the credits, so there’s a bit of easter eggs to be found by die hard fans.

DMC Team – Origin
Hideki Kamiya and his crew (now known as Platinum Games) formed a unique team unlike any other. Comprised of veterans within the gaming industry, crossing the globe and taking an insight from their fans. Originally they were part of Capcom’s nextgen division. But everything fell apart when DMC2 changed team members, thus they went indie, became Clover (Viewtiful Joe, Okami, God Hand) and were let go again. As PG, they can produce their own projects and avenues without a beef with a publisher. As of late, they’ve had to outsource more titles with various publishers. Perhaps there is a time when the PG crew can return to DMC. But for now that’s another story.

DmC – Ninja Theory
This nextgen take on the series is being done by a completely different team altogether. Their first title was called Heavenly Sword (minus the S, since they actually had to drop a weapon). It was an action oriented title, revolving around a heroine who fought for her people using a sacred sword with untapped powers. At the time it was being called Sony’s next big thing. But it was redeemed by its design, and music. Sadly the game was so short, replay wasn’t really forgiving. Given how much advertising Sony pushed the PS3, the game delivered enough to garner an audience. But the NT team decided to part ways and sought another company. Capcom was looking for new talent, and voila there’s the story. But wait.. next year DmC hits stores and maybe a few new fans. However the DMC fanbase is up in arms over the rebooting of the series, plus character designs. All negative stuff aside, it looks like it will live up to some of the insane hype that the first game held.

Adios, Kids.


Devil May Cry HD Collection
Pipeworks + DMC Dev Team 2012

Many years ago, a crew from the Biohazard developers team designed a new concept. Mixing up horror with science fiction, and action all rolled into one. Players would delve into dark worlds playing a hunter named Dante (named after the lead character within Dante’s Devine Comedy) *which for literature readers or historians is by far not an actual comedy, just the title is misleading. During the turning point of Dante’s adventures, he comes to realize he’s not alone, with others like him in the world, venturing to find out their identity. With one exception, his father is the one who put all of the monsters away.

DMC Chapter 1 -
Back in 2001, DMC was first brought to live as part of the Resident Evil series. In fact, using the same engine: (enclosed spaces, and limited range of whereabouts, until finding lock and key). Oh, and the game was notoriously difficult (unless you decided to play easy mode).  Overall it’s a challenging title, but with many expectations from people who loved something difficult.  Another most loved aspect of the first entry in this captivating series, is just being to let loose.

DMC Chapter 2 – (the left behind child of the trilogy)
So a sequel was in order, but the producers of the original weren’t allowed to make it again. I still wonder why Capcom has such issues. So in regards, Dante returns with a new ally Lucia (who is a remnant of a lost set of hunters) their mission is to stop the end of the world. (plus this chapter is regarded as too easy). But its redeemable quality is that its actually set later in the series… Dante’s much older and ready to hang up his sword.  Oddly enough this game came out during this reviewer’s birthday, what are the odds..

DMC Chapter 3 – Dante’s Awakening
In the 3rd piece of the complete sonata, Dante’s origins are finally unlocked. But his brother Virgil is also along for the ride. Along with a new partner Lady (who aims to end her evil’s fathers powers of bringing creatures from the other side) In fact, Lady is a fallen angel’s daughter.. and that’s all that can be said. Why? Well that would give too much away.

Oh, and the difficulty level is amped up! And this is where the series hits its stride in both level, music, and character design. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a PS2 game… it was ahead of its time.

DMC4 – Dan-ero
As far as fans know, the last actual chapter was DMC4. Released on Xbox360, and PS3 (and PC) for those keeping track. Balancing out everything that made the series work. DMC4 mixes it up letting players take the helm of a Holy Knight named Nero. Oddly enough this new hero may be the lost brother to Dante.. but many fans weren’t happy with the fact that we could only play the badass a quarter of the game. That bump aside, DMC4 still dished out some sweet justice with a bevy of difficulty levels that would make a puppet blush.

But wait there’s more! So a somewhat new team is assembling a new DmC. Sad part is, its no longer with the crew that’s worked on past games. In spirit it will retain the same inertia, and energy that brought the series to life. On the bright side, the series will keep going. But time will tell if this “reboot” may actually work. From the teaser trailers, it dishes the same madness the past games retained. But with some things missing… we’ll find out more next year.