DmC: The Case for Stabbing the Internet in its Entire Face

“Well,” I thought, I’ve reviewed a book and I’ve talked about video games, why not review a video game? I’ve just finished playing DmC: Devil May Cry – lets give that a go.”

Before I got started, I did a bit of research on what other people had been saying about it, and now I need to stab the Internet in its entire face. The entirety of its face. No portion of its face can go unstabbed.

…it was at no point physically painful to play…

Because, you see, DmC is a reboot of the Devil May Cry franchise, which has been around since the days of the PlayStation 2. If you think movie fans get worked up when their favourite franchises get the reboot treatment, you should see game fans. (Normally, I’d expect comic fans to be the worst when it comes to geekly outrage, but their properties get rebooted, retconned and reality-punched so frequently they’re used to it by now.)

What’s got people up and arms in this particular case? Well, the previous four Devil May Cry games were faced-paced action games based around the adventures of the white-haired half-demon Dante, who murders his way through armies of demons with a collection of hand-to-hand weapons and firearms. The reboot, on the other hand, is a fast-paced action game based around the adventures of the black-haired half-demon Dante, who murders his way through armies of demons with a collection of hand-to-hand weapons and firearms. Black hair! I can feel you all shitting yourselves from here.

The point of the reboot, which was developed in England, seems to have been to move away from the style of the Japanese-made previous games, so where the original Dante was a cocky, camp, anime-style douchebag, the new Dante is a cocky, brooding, western-action-movie-style douchebag. And the fans went apeshit.

Over at gamefaqs.com, one of the bigger sites for gaming tips, guides and discussions, the message boards for DmC have devolved into a series of running battles between people who like the reboot and people who hate it. The concept of subjectivity having been dismissed as an alien thoughtcrime, people have been devoting libraries’ worth of text to post facto justifications and personal abuse. (OK, that’s not entirely true – sometimes a dissenting view will be written off as “just your opinion”, but people’s own views are always presented as Vulcan objectivity.)

In the most extreme case of crybaby dickishness, someone actually petitioned the White House to get the game pulled from shelves – the petition was taken down fairly quickly, but while it was up you could read through the plaintive mewling of people claiming that, by releasing a new game that was *vomits in mouth slightly* different, the developers had violated their “rights as consumers” to choose between the old Dante and the new one. You just couldn’t stab that enough, not with a thousand knives and a thousand years.

The term “entitled” has been used to describe people like this so frequently, that they’ve started their own backlash against the term. Entitled is “what we call people who complain about video games“? Possibly – it’s also what we call people who can’t handle reality not being the way they want it to be, and PETITION THE FUCKING WHITE HOUSE BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO GET EVERYTHING THEIR WAY.

I seem to have ended up reviewing the Internet itself – I think we all knew that was never going to turn out well. The game? I liked it. I always thought Dante was a camp, douchey asshole, who got progressively campier and douchier as the series progressed; the new Dante doesn’t bother me. He’s a bit of a dick with a shit haircut, but he seems a bit more human and caring, and at least vaguely likeable.

The game itself was more enjoyable to play. All I remember from Devil May Cry 4 is endless padding: enemies with boredom-inducing levels of health, spending the second half of the game backtracking through levels, and those interminable dice-rolling sequences (if you’ve played the game you’ll know what I’m talking about; I’m honestly not capable of caring enough to explain if you haven’t). If I can say one thing for DmC, it was at no point physically painful to play, which is more than I can say for some of the button-mashing fests from the previous games. It’s true that DmC is more linear, with less scope for exploration, but linearity has never bothered me overly – I see a game as a series of challenges; I don’t care if the challenges are laid out for me or if I have to go hunt them down.

Aesthetically, it’s amazing. Most of the action takes place in limbo, which operates as a twisted parallel version of the real world, not unlike the conception of hell seen in the Keanu Reeves Constantine movie (say what you like about that film, it had good design). It’s chaotic and shifting, with reality re-arranging itself against you while the shadowy images of parallel people in the real world flicker around you. Occasionally they play with the concept by having levels where characters in limbo have to help out or interact with other characters in the real world, which is cleverly done. And the music’s largely by Combichrist, if that’s your thing. (There’s a bit of dubstep, too – one of the final boss fights is brought to you today by the letter WUB.)

Final verdict: DmC good, Internet facestab-worthy. Also, grass green; sky blue.

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