Three years after DMC3 had become a huge hit CAPCOM found themselves in a pickle. What to do with the series next? Fearing that delivering a new Dante adventure would become stale and eager to attract new players the decision to introduce a new protagonist was made. Thankfully the producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi insisted Dante had to be involved due to his connection with the fans and to avoid the backlash Konami suffered when introducing a new protagonist into Metal Gear Solid 2.
Power. Give me more, POWER!
Bringing the series to the new hardware of PS3 and XBOX 360 allowed the development team to up the ante with improved visuals, faster gameplay, and more dynamic environments. Although the series still maintained a healthy dose of its gothic aesthetics the environments were much lighter and more open with a varied colour palette. Adventuring through streets, forests, snowy mountain ranges, high scaled castles, and dungeons gave the game a much more varied feel. The character design also changed to a blend of anime and exaggerated realism, this would also be the first time we got a wider look at the human world, seeing its population becoming more closer to a real world and not an empty, alternative Earth that had primarily consisted of just our main heroes thus far.
It’s got to stay in the family
We are introduced to Nero, a hot-headed teenager who has a striking resemblance to our previous hero with his white hair and blue eyes. Inflicted with a demonic arm he is a member of a church “The Order of the Sword” who worship Sparda. As the big cheese of said church is giving a sermon he is suddenly assassinated by Dante, who then proceeds to cut down the holy guards in a brutal assault. Nero springs into action to face Dante only for his arm to awaken and become a new tool for combat, The Devil Bringer. Now able to reach long distances and slam opponents Nero holds his own against the Legendary Demon Hunter but is unable to gain victory. After toying with our new young hero Dante points out the people he just killed are demons. As a startled Nero looks around at the corpses that have now turned to demonic forms Dante makes his escape inciting Nero to hunt him down and get answers.
What follows is a welcome return to the slick and stylish combo filled combat fans had come to love. Nero’s Devil Bringer opened up new possibilities for crowd control and techniques in combat. While the core gameplay remained familiar with Nero also wielding an oversized sword “The Red Queen” and a revolver “The Blue Rose” traditionalists were felt at home stringing together attacks with sword and gunplay as well the demon arm.
As Nero tracks down Dante, he realises that all is not what it seems. The church he serves has a secret agenda. Having stolen the Yamato, they seek to unleash a demon hoard upon the world with the intention of smiting said demons and proclaiming his holiness, who has magically survived the bullet Dante planted in his head, to be The Saviour thus bringing humanity under the unquestionable rule of the church (closer to a real world).
In a stunning turn of events, Nero absorbs the power of the Yamato into his demonic arm and awakens a power within him, his own personal Devil Trigger, whose voice has an eerie similarity to a menacing foe from Dante’s past. After a showdown with The Saviour, Nero is captured leaving Dante to save the day. Tracking back through the exact same levels Nero had just been through Dante frees the youngster who defeats the Saviour and closes the portals to the underworld. Although the two aren’t likely to be on each other’s Christmas card list any time soon, Dante entrusts the Yamato to Nero’s keeping, sensing that there is something more to him than just a similar taste in hairstyles.
Overall DMC4 was a critical and financial success, Nero was popular with players who related to his younger, coming of age story. What wasn’t well received however was the handling of Dante. Fan’s of the series were eager to get their hands on the beloved hero but soon felt cheated when the handful of playable mission consisted of just doing the same missions they previously played as Nero backward, fighting the same enemies and same bosses all over again.
Dante’s playstyle was as smooth as ever, now being able to switch between 4 fighting styles with a touch of the D-Pad directions and having a host of weapons to master, combos were now more elaborate and inventive. However, having all these abilities and weapons crammed into a few repetitive missions made the whole experience feel rushed and tacked on, this also proved jarring for newcomers who had become accustomed to Nero’s fighting techniques then having to learn a whole new set of styles completely, some of which were not well fitted for the enemies and bosses on hand and soured what should have been a stand out moment for the game.
The development team performed research in The Vatican City and Istanbul. DMC4 was not designed to send religious messages but the research helped inspire some of the designs that went into the story and ascetics.
It would be 11 years before we saw the return of Dante and Nero who were now put on the shelf at CAPCOM due to the creative struggles of where to take the franchise next. Fan’s were eager for another entry despite some misgivings about the previous title, in 2013 players would have a new DMC title, but not the one they were expecting.
Face your demons!
After being on the shelf for 5 years CAPCOM handed the reigns over to a new development team to breath new life into the franchise. Ninja Theory, a British studio who had seen success on the recent gen with Heavenly Sword and Enslaved were handpicked and worked closely with CAPCOM to ensure the gameplay felt familiar yet fresh. Shaking things up by creating a grungy, attitude-filled, R rated version of our titular hero and his lore that ruffled more than a few feathers within the fanbase as well as gaining a following of fans all of its own.
Setting the story in a more realistic themed world, one that is under the constant influences of demons lead by Mundus. Assuming the guise of a kingpin who influences business and governments to bring humankind under the thumb he is constantly bothered by two thorns in his side, Dante and Vergil. Arrogant, obnoxious and pretty much an asshole, this version of Dante would be a huge departure from what fans have come to know and love. Ninja Theory was keen to keep the contrast between the brothers evident in their appearance and personalities. Dante now resembled Anakin Skywalker if he was a Sisters of Mercy fan, his signature white hair gone in place of a short dark cut and sporting a black leather jacket was a big kick in the son of Gloin for the fans. Vergil, more softly spoken and dressed like an ambassador for Scottish Widows retained his white slick hairstyle and facially was still an identical twin to his younger brother.
Telling a story that came across as part origin/prequel and part reboot we meet our foul-mouthed hero as he is constantly hunted by demons, as they attack from a hell world known as Limbo the world around him breaks away and changes whenever they appear. Not one to lose an opportunity to make a scene he is quick to spring into action. Wielding rebellion alongside ebony and ivory Dante is still a force to be reckoned with. Ninja Theory provided some of the most robust and dynamic combat design the franchise has ever seen, mixing classic attacks with a wide range of new combos aided by the addition of Demon and Angel weapons. Demon for heavy damage and Angel for crowd control see Dante dispatching enemies in a range of stylish and brutal ways.
As Dante is identified and hunted by the Demon world his brother, the suave, mild-mannered yet intensely driven Vergil reveals himself and informs Dante of their history. Separated at a young age when their Demon father and Angel mother were both murdered by the Devil King Mundus, they are Nephilim and the only threat to Mundus’s reign over humanity. Following a similar vibe to DMC3, Dante now realises the truth and sees his purpose in the world, as the brothers work together to bring an end to Mundus, Vergil serves as the strategist and Dante the muscle.
After defeating Mundus, Dante is angered to hear Vergil, who fancies himself superior to mortals now plans to rule over them instead of protecting them. As the brother’s disagreement grows the seeds are planted for the beginning of a long and violent feud that gamers have been privy to in past DMC games. After an intense and brutal showdown which pushes Dante to his limit, unlocking his true power and turning his hair white, Vergil retreats to hell to gather his strength while Dante remains on earth to watch over humankind.
Although critics were favourable of the DmC reboot, praising its combat style and art direction the fans were not overly keen on such a deviation for the franchise and its hero. Sales figures were not what CAPCOM were hoping for and once again the blue eyes devil was back on the shelf, lost in Limbo for the foreseeable future.
DmC featured a hard-hitting soundtrack performed by Combichrist and Noisia. This was the first and only time the franchise used music not developed in house.
Frustration is getting bigger, bang-Bang-BANG! pull my Devil Trigger….
2019 has now seen the long-awaited return of Devil May Cry in its original form. Continuing the saga of Dante, Nero, and companions CAPCOM have created the slickest, sexiest and most stylish entry in the series to date. Already set as an early contender for game of the year and receiving high praise from fans and critics alike, Devil May Cry is once again open for business!
Boasting 3 playable characters, the return of Dante and Nero as well as a mysterious sorcerer named V. DMC5 is set in British inspired Redgrave City, a new demon ruler has taken route, unleashing hoards of monsters across the city, it is down to our 3 heroes to discover the origins of this menace and put a stop to his plans. Running on CAPCOM’s RE engine, previously responsible for the beautifully terrifying Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2 Remake, DMC5 boasts photorealistic character models and environments, slicker combat and an engrossing story which looks to tie up all the events from DMC1, 3 and 4.
Now you are up to speed with the story and events, this is the perfect time to jump in and face the hordes of demons that await you in the next chapter of this fast-paced, bloody, often humorous, usually ridiculous yet always memorable saga.