With DmC set to unleash itself to the world tomorrow, it’s time for British studio Ninja Theory to be given the credit it finally deserves.
“I really shouldn’t”. Those are the words of my 16-year old self that are running through my head. I really should be leaving whatever amount of money I have for the following week for Halo 3. But I don’t. I go with the wind and pick up a copy of Heavenly Sword by chance on launch day.
The game was flawed, yes. But just like Assassin’s Creed leading into Assassin’s Creed II, there was potential lying underneath the game that could go on to make something special.
Unfortunately, we’ve still yet to see a Heavenly Sword sequel. And it’s pretty likely we won’t get one anytime soon. And it’s looking even less doubtful for an Enslaved sequel, despite being a better game than Heavenly.
But Ninja Theory finally has the platform to prove something. It’s working on an established IP this time instead of creating a new one, but that surely will work in its favour in terms of sales, right? Not if the internet has had a go at you for the past two-and-a-half years for rebooting the series.
Slowly but surely, though, with each passing second the game has been shown, its been winning some people over. But no matter what you do, it’ll still have a rebellious following after that 2010 announce that’ll want the game to fail.
Haters gonna hate. It’s time to come to the realisation you’ve been dreading for these past few years. Ninja Theory has made a cracker of a game with DmC. And here’s the twist: it’s one of the last great action games of this current console generation.
These are just a few basic thoughts rather than in detail. By the time this goes live, there’ll be more fleshed out reviews in the open on places like Eurogamer, IGN, etc.
But that said, with DmC, Ninja Theory has made some of the most satisfying combat I’ve seen in a game in the past few years. It’s a game that’s open to new and old players of the series. I’ve never been able to finish one of the games from the past (the closest I’ve come was the last level on Dante’s disc in Devil May Cry 2, though the less said on that, the better), but this was the first game in the series I’d managed to complete.
The biggest worry from fans has been the westernisation of the series thanks to this instalment. It does have a westernised feel to it, but that really shouldn’t put players off at all because it still feels like Devil May Cry combat wise at its core. On the other big subject, after four games of 60FPS, it does take just a bit of adjusting to 30FPS visually. But it really doesn’t have too much of a bearing on the combat.
Previous stories in the series have been pretty much cheesetastic. Ninja Theory’s telling still has a few of those scenes at times, but is otherwise highly charged this time. All you have to do is look at the introduction sequence of the game to immediately realise how serious its roots are.
When discussing the game before release with someone, I had mentioned it might have been “a bit too sexualised sometimes” even for a game as edgy as DmC, though I made these remarks with just a few levels to finish. By the time I did finish, I saw the Dante that Ninja Theory have fleshed out in a way that certainly wasn’t seen at the beginning of the game.
NO, FUCK YOU
It’s stupid to ask developers what they’re doing next after the game they’re promoting. But I did that in 2010 (be fair to me, I was still relatively green in specialist games journalism at the time at 19 years old).
It was a boardroom at the bottom level of a Downtown Barcelona hotel, where Namco Bandai had shown their 2010 and beyond line-up to press before E3. Enslaved was one of those games. I had spoken to Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades, who will surely be feeling vindicated this morning having been one of the main targets for ‘the haters’ these past two-and-a-half years. Rumours had suggested at the time Ninja Theory was making a new DmC. When I asked about it, he kind of laughed about it and said there was “no way” he was going to “confirm or deny if we’ve got anything to do with it”.
Four months following that Barcelona event, I was on the clock that day on VG247 when the DmC announcement came down from Tokyo Game Show with the announcement of Ninja Theory developing it and the first look at the new Dante. The immediate reaction was, in my book, bile and very cold for the most part. And not just in VG247’s comments, but the internet in general – Twitter, NeoGAF, etc. But one other thing I have to admit, for better or worse, was that it was also passionate.
Ninja Theory has put in the same amount of passion into DmC, however. The Cambridge-based studio crafted Heavenly Sword and Enslaved in its own unique way. The same can be said for DmC, but it has also seemingly managed to maintain the ethos of past Devil May Cry games.
Maybe now that rebooting an established IP is on its resume, it’s time Ninja Theory got the credit and backing it deserves from gamers. Admittingly, a lot of people loved Enslaved and give the studio its dues there, but with DmC, NT should hopefully have the success it deserves. But still, haters can hate. Ninja Theory has done itself proud.
Oh, and protip for the fanboy massive who do pick up the game, yet still steaming over the new Dante. Try and not lose your shit too much over that scene very early in the game.
Disclosure: This opinion is based on a final Xbox 360 retail copy of DmC, provided by Capcom. Capcom also provided debug preview code on PlayStation 3 of the first ten levels from the game before receiving final code.