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DmC: Devil May Cry PC Analysis

by on January 17, 2013
 

I prefer PC games. There, I said it. I don’t know what it is about them, maybe it’s because while I was growing up convincing my parents that a PC would “help me learn” was a lot easier than convincing them that a SNES would, or maybe it’s because after many years, lots of jobs and University bills later, I could finally afford a computer that could run the latest games at the top settings. Whatever the reason is, when I get the option to play a PC game I jump at it, and if it’s a game that’s running through the Steam platform, with all of the achievements and perk that I’ve come to love with the home consoles, then I love them even more.

When I was asked if I’d take a look at the PC version of the brand new DmC: Devil May Cry from Ninja Theory and Capcom, I stopped replying to my emails for a short time, instead I had flashed back to an article I read a month or so before when it was revealed that the PC version of DmC would be capable of running at whatever frame rate your PC was able to run it at. It was like some sort of fever dream, all I could think of was the words “Unlimited Framerate”, and I snapped up the opportunity.

Reading through the dregs of the internet it’s obvious that one of the main problems that people have with the new DmC is the fact that it runs at 30 frames per second (fps) on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The developers have truly worked their magic with the often forgotten PC version of their latest title and DmC does in fact run at whatever fps that your PC can handle. Granted, it fluctuates a little bit more than the home console would, depending on various different factors that a PC gamer is more than likely used to by now, but there were times when I was playing when I was pulling in a whopping 100fps. I’m sure that there are people that can push it even harder but let me tell you, 100fps in a game that already looks silky smooth is absolutely glorious.

In terms of content, the PC version of DmC is exactly the same as its console counterpart, nothing has been taken away and nothing has been added, and if you’ve gotten the game on Steam then you’re going to be getting all of the same achievements that friends on the consoles are enjoying. The only thing that would make things better would be if the leaderboards were amalgamated into one giant leaderboard that encompassed all versions of the game.

The visuals look better on the PC version of the game, with everything looking generally smoother than it does on any of the consoles. The biggest graphical improvement comes from the way that the Unreal Engine streams in high resolution textures. The Xbox 360 version that I previously reviewed seemed to have problems streaming in the textures in a timely manner, lowering the overall graphical experience of the title. However, the PC version doesn’t suffer from these problems at all, players will still be able to see textures streaming in but they won’t take nearly as long as they do on the Xbox 360.

Should You Buy It?

Hopefully the two videos that accompany this scribbling of writing will show people just how beautiful the PC version of DmC actually looks, the smooth animations, the massive frame rates as well as the wonderfully modelled characters and environments. Basically, the PC version is the best version of DmC: Devil May Cry around, but if you don’t have a PC that’s capable of pushing it to its limits – and it’s a hugely scalable game thanks to the Unreal Engine so most people shouldn’t have that much of an issue – just make sure you play the game on one of the available formats. While the PC certainly looks better in almost all aspects, it’s still an amazing game in its own right, and one that deserves to be played.

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  • David

    You had me at “I prefer PC games” :)

  • http://twitter.com/asianastroboy Satish Shewhorak

    Hmm I’ve gotta be honest the comparison videos look identical with differences possibly being down to capture method and compression. Could you include some more details on resolutions (the xbox video looked interlaced), advanced PC settings and the rig you used?

    Although I’m tempted by the higher FPS, the graphical parity means I’m more tempted to get it for the convenience of a consoles as opposed to having to plug in the power, HDMI, wireless controller dongle and deal with the louder fan noise of my laptop reconnecting to my TV everytime. Unless there’s extra graphical options that really make it worthwhile?

  • http://www.MartinJBaker.org.uk/ Martin Baker

    The Xbox version was captured at 720p (although I do admit there is some interlacing going on in there) and the PC was captured at 1024×768. In regards to the game settings on the PC version, everything is on full, high resolution textures, high resolution shadows, etc

    My rig is an Alienware laptop, M14xR2, so it’s got a 3.4GHz i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 2GB ATI Radeon GT650M and I’m capable of running the game with everything pushed up full and at a relatively constant 100fps.

    The convenience factor is really going to be what makes or breaks this PC version, unless you’re really looking for an experience that’s better than the 30fps of the consoles. It is graphically better, slightly, but it’s the frame rate difference that sells it for me.

    As for your last point, about the graphics options, there’s nothing in depth, just the options to turn on high resolution version of shadows, textures and a few more things.

  • http://twitter.com/asianastroboy Satish Shewhorak

    Ah, so how did it run at 1080p? I have an M14xR1 so I assume yours kicks out a bit of a noise too.
    What I think is missing from the Steam Big Picture experience is an OS experience driven by a gamepad too (including all the fiddly bits that make you have to get up and fiddle with audio settings, resolutions etc).
    I’m still in two minds about which version to get cheaper, fiddlier, noisier but slightly higher quality PC version or the quieter, more convenient console version. Either way I’m looking forward to it :)

  • http://twitter.com/asianastroboy Satish Shewhorak

    Bah! Wanted to retry some proper PC gaming so waited a week longer for slightly better PC version of Devil May Cry, got it in the post a few days early (hurrah!), tried to install it and it claimed my PC was TOO up to date, so uninstalled Visual Studio, tried again reinstalling DirectX etc then as it went to install it wanted to connect to Steam, whereupon it checked and said it wasn’t allowed to install it till Friday when it is officially released :/ Instantly reminded why PC games are not worth the effort :(

  • http://GodisaGeek.com/ Adam Cook

    *Too* up to date? That’s kinda crazy.

    I do agree in principle, PC games – when treated properly by the developer – look better, and can play better, but sometimes you just want to put a disc in the tray and play right away.

    Have you played it now though? If so, thoughts?

  • http://twitter.com/asianastroboy Satish Shewhorak

    Yes I got over the relatively minor installation hiccups and am under halfway through and loving it so much I’m trying to savour it by doing one level at a time then replaying an old one for upgrade/ completion/ grindingness!

    Only a couple of gripes. The art direction is great but the jaggy, shininess does make it feel like an Unreal game.
    The controls also don’t feel as precise as DMC3 or Bayonetta. The new double tap forward for the Stinger move breaks the flow, combos with pauses are a bit unintuitive to remember as are the overlapping combos/ moves across angel/devil mode, but hopefully muscle memory will improve over time.

    PC wise I’ve been playing it on an Alienware M14x laptop screen, an older Dell monitor (which slowed down at its fixed 60Hz refresh rate) and a 46″ Samsung LCD TV.
    I’m not sure how or why refresh rate causes slowdown but it has and playing DmC slower is not great. That aside I’ve played it 1080p on high with all effects on at what I assume is 60fps.
    To be honest with such a fast moving game and a gritty engine like Unreal you don’t really have time to appreciate a bump in resolution.
    Without as much frame of reference I can only assume that a higher refresh rate feels better though.

    Valve’s Steambox concerns over ease of TV displaying and connectivity versus Apple and Airplay is right. It is a bit of a hassle to drag the laptop to connect to the lovely big TV after work, and putting up with fan noise and trackpads when popping out of the game.
    The higher Frame Rate is marginally nicer but it’s probably the price difference which just about makes the PC version worth it.

    Either way a great game.