Let me lay my cards on the table right here: I was a massive fan of DmC, and I happen to think Ninja Theory are a hugely under-rated developer. If you hated the game, or couldn’t get past the fact that Devil May Cry isn’t being handled by the original people, or that his hair colour has changed, nothing about the Definitive Edition will change your mind. Despite the fact that numerous fan suggestions have been taken on board and included, this is still the same wonderful game that failed to set the charts alight back in 2013.
But they have tried, that’s for sure.
Aside from the obvious visual upgrade to 1080p and better textures (it looks as lovely as the original did on PC – not quite a new console game, but lovely all the same), the frame rate is going to be a big draw for console gamers. Running at a smooth 60fps, I only noticed any issues on the second mission. The PC version ran at upwards of 100fps, but Definitive Edition is only on consoles, so it’s clear who it’s aimed at.
Newcomers will find a wealth of content to play, as all the DLC from the last-gen release is present, including Vergil’s Downfall, a mini campaign that takes place after the main story has finished. What is nice, however, is that Ninja Theory have added a Bloody Palace mode for Vergil, so that fans of his combat can enjoy more than just attacking the Downfall campaign missions. Attacking wave after wave as Vergil is certainly an interesting alternative, and shows how deep the combat truly is, that it can differ enough with just a few changes.
Returning players may be met with an immediate annoyance. Although turbo mode is available at the toggle of a switch (it makes the game run 20% faster), the only accessible things from the get go are the story, and Vergil’s Downfall. To unlock Bloody Palace you’ve got to complete the game once, and you can’t select specific missions until then either. Skipping the cut-scenes, I ran through the excellent campaign only to realise I should have played on a higher difficulty, as they unlock one at a time. It’s a minor annoyance, but for a Definitive Edition that is clearly aimed at returning fans and newcomers, it feels as though only the one audience is being catered for as a priority. I adored DmC the first time, and I’d have liked the opportunity to start at whichever difficulty I fancied, and not just the default three.
This is especially annoying since a new difficulty has been added. Gods Must Die is aimed at the truly masochistic among us, as no items can be used. People who drained DmC dry the first time will more than likely want to jump straight in there – but that’s not an option. Instead, Hardcore Mode can be toggled for any difficulty. This is a re-balancing of numerous facets of DmC, most noticeably the style system, making it generally harder to achieve a high rank. Using Hardcore Mode will cause your style meter to drop a lot quicker. In truth, I didn’t notice enough of a difference to be able to say it’s a true game changer, but I’m comfortable enough with my skill level to be able to say your mileage may vary – the same can be said of the new manual target lock.
None of that really matters, though, not when you really get down to it. The thing is, DmC is still a brilliant game, full of exhilarating combat that makes you feel like the best player in the world. When you manage to nail it and stay in the air for what feels like a lifetime, there’s just nothing like it. It’s a game that has twenty story missions, and eighteen of them are exemplary (that mission where the fire intermittently bursts up is still shit). Every single boss battle is superb, and there is a degree of inventiveness on display for the levels preceding them that I still maintain puts them up with the very best. And look, shoot me for this, but the doubled frame rate does make a difference to the action. It feels current, instead of old – and that’s not something that should be glossed over.
DmC Definitive Edition is a game that any character action hack ‘n’ slash fan should play again and again. The combat is astonishingly tight and enjoyable, but the game also has more style in single set pieces than most can manage in their entire run-time. It leaves you breathless, satisfied, and hungry for more, and it’s one of the few games in the last decade that, upon seeing the credits roll, I immediately fired back up and went into again.
If you didn’t buy DmC when it was first released, you can rectify your mistake. Buy this game, and let’s pray to God that Capcom get Ninja Theory working on a sequel, lest DmC go down in history as the greatest game never to get a deserved follow up. What a game: absolutely phenomenal.
Read our original review of DmC: Devil May Cry on Xbox 360.
The best version of an incredible game.
All the DLC.
Fan suggestions added.
If you have good taste you've already played it.
Will need completing once to unlock bloody palace.