Video game review: 'DmC' -- Dante mashes Combatants

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Entertainment,Ryan Vogt

Capcom fans may cry to see the star of the "Devil May Cry" reboot. Gone is Dante, the beloved Japanese action-hero archetype of an effeminate male with a huge sword. In his place is a dude named Dante too, but this one is a archetype fans of Western-made video games know all too well: the disaffected punk with a bunch of sarcastic one-liners. It's painful to say goodbye to our white-haired friend with the flowing cloak, and hello to a dude who looks more fit for a Occupy slam poetry session than killing demons. Imagine if they made Mario a sullen teenager.

But as much as the new Dante may remind people of the emo Peter Parker in "Spider-Man 3," he just can't bring the experience down. "DmC: Devil May Cry" is the best game in the series. The unexpected fact that it's better than any of the four games with the original Dante is thanks to another East-West switcheroo: Capcom handed off "DmC" to the British company Ninja Theory, known for beat-'em-up "Heavenly Sword" and adventure-platformer "Enslaved: Odyssey to the West." "Devil May Cry's" odyssey to this Western company has given it some of the most fluid animation in history. Dante, and his enemies, have a sense of momentum, and Dante's uppercut may have you crying with nostalgia for a different Capcom series.

Taking a page from the horror game "Silent Hill: Downpour," "DmC's" setting, Limbo City, is constantly changing, rearranging itself in real time. Your surroundings pulsate together like a giant organism, giving the game a hallucinatory feeling like you're trapped in an Escher painting.

Pretty as it is, "DmC" is just one game among a wave of modern beat-'em-ups with incredible production values. "Bayonetta," "God of War," "El Shaddai: Shadows of the Metatron" and, now, "DmC" are some of the most visually inventive games ever made, but underneath it all, their button-mashing gameplay is only a couple orders of magnitude more sophisticated than what you're tasked with in, say, "Double Dragon."

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Ryan Vogt

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner