Devil May Cry 20th Anniversary: Dante's Style Still Holds Up - VRGyani News and Media

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Devil May Cry 20th Anniversary: Dante's Style Still Holds Up

A staple of both the hack-and-slash and character-action game genre, Devil May Cry continues to endure two decades after initially releasing on the PS2. It’s a franchise that has remained relevant, while many other series of that era have fallen into obscurity. At the helm was Hideki Kamiya, a young star at Capcom who was coming off the massive success that was his directorial debut, Resident Evil 2.

Though Kamiya has long since left Capcom, it’s clear his influence on the series still remains. His love for the genre can’t be overstated either; he would go on to create Bayonetta at Platinum Games, another character-action game that’s clearly cut from the same cloth as Devil May Cry. With so many great titles under his belt, the first game in the DMC series still remains a standout in his illustrious career.

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Kamiya and Capcom would undertake Devil May Cry, a game which started development originally as Resident Evil 4. If you’ve played both games, that connection becomes clearly evident very early on. While you explore a large castle for almost the entirety of Devil May Cry, the architecture and environmental design feel straight out of Resident Evil 4. Dante himself even appears as if he’s an early prototype version of RE4’s iteration of Leon S. Kennedy. Both he and Dante carry that “devil may care” attitude, as each finds themselves unloading quips left and right in wildly outlandish situations.

While it shares similarities to Resident Evil 4, the same can’t be said when it comes to its combat system. Devil May Cry is a series that’s renowned for its combat, and the early foundation clearly shows that. While it isn’t as refined or even as enjoyable as later entries, there’s still so much satisfaction that you can get out of stringing together combos in both mid-air and on the ground. The game is also one that’s not afraid to push back. In a staple of the series, you’ll probably find yourself having to retry bosses every once in a while. If you do fail, you’ll see that whatever items you might have used in your previous run won’t reset and be back in your inventory. It’s game mechanics like this that have players concentrate and focus on certain aspects of the game which you might have otherwise just button mashed through.

The Devil May Cry series is one that boasts a truly fun cast of characters to both play as, and interact with. However, in the franchise’s first installment you won’t be seeing a lot of the familiar faces that will pop up in later entries. The likes of Vergil do appear, but not in the same way as he would in later games. While every other mainline Devil May Cry title has you taking on the role of multiple characters, the first is different in that it’s truly the Dante showpiece of the franchise.

In Devil May Cry, you take on the role of Dante, a demon hunter and the son of Sparda, as he tries to defeat the demon emperor that previously murdered his family. When he’s not battling said demons, you can find him eating pizzas at his shop. As you play through various segmented missions, you’ll be leveling up Dante’s abilities and weapons. It’s a game that welcomes replayability, as you’re ranked on every mission, and the different upgrades allow for various playstyles.

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It’s easy to understate how easy a game the original Devil May Cry is to just pick up and play. As it’s cut into chapters, each of which lasts no longer than an hour, it’s incredibly enjoyable to just boot up the game and play through a couple of chapters. It’s this pick-up-and-play nature that also allows for a lot of experimentation in your playstyle, an aspect that would continue throughout the series.

Devil May Cry as a series would grow into something much bigger, and not always for the best (see Devil May Cry 2). Though the original game in the series still had outlandish set pieces and boss fights, there’s something incredibly satisfying and welcoming about the simple setting and focused nature of your mission. At times, it’s an incredibly cheesy game, but it adds to the overall charm of the experience.

The DMC franchise had a lot of ups and downs. With DmC: Devil May Cry, Capcom outsourced the title to Ninja Theory. It’s a game that definitely has its fans, but many in the community find it to be one of the largest misfires in the franchise. Because of that misstep, however, it made Hideaki Itsuno’s return all the more exciting. At Xbox’s 2018 E3 press conference, Devil May Cry 5 was revealed, as the series came back to its Japanese roots with Itsuno at the helm once again. He had previously tried to save the sinking ship that was Devil May Cry 2, and since then was responsible for the well-received third and fourth entries in the series.

On its 20th anniversary, Devil May Cry seems to be at the best place it’s ever been. With its latest installment easily becoming the highest-selling title in the series, Itsuno’s rallying call of “DMC is back!” seems more true now than it ever has been. There’s a reason the series is one that’s remained relevant for years, and a large part of that is Dante himself.

Though it’s not Capcom’s biggest franchise, its characters are still widely known, especially Dante. He’s made appearances in countless Capcom games over the years, even crossing over with an Atlus title, as he appeared as a boss fight and usable demon in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. To the happiness of fans as well, he’d also reprise his role in that game’s remaster that was released this year.

As fans lament the fact that Dante has now made it into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as only a Mii costume, let’s instead celebrate 20 years of one of the most stylish video game characters out there. The first Devil May Cry is still a game that holds up today. Capcom has made sure it remains relevant, as its inclusion in the Devil May Cry: HD Collection is still readily available. It’s a game that stands as a great example of the character-action game genre, as Dante, even all these years later, remains as cool as ever.

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