I must confess, I forced myself to keep an open mind about the Devil May Cry reboot going into the expo. I for one would have preferred this game to be a brand new IP instead of rebooting an already well-loved and established series. Slapping on the DMC name will obviously sell, but is Ninja Theory’s take on the beloved franchise any good? Well, yes… Very.

The demo started out with Dante and Kat walking around Limbo City, quickly establishing Dante as a bit of a douche. Even quicker is the way everything goes wrong and Dante ends up forced into Limbo itself and has to fight a bunch of demons which acts as the tutorial mode for shooting, jumping and melee attacks. Unlike previous Devil May Cry games you do not have to hold a button to target enemies. It is done automatically, similar to Bayonetta. It’s set apart from being too similar though because of the demon and angel attacks and abilities.

As for combat — this new Dante has the old Rebellion sword and Ebony & Ivory pistols and work in very much the same way they always did. The twist being the aforementioned demon and angel attacks which are done by holding the corresponding shoulder button. To give the game some balance the Osiris scythe attacks are quick and not as powerful while the Arbiter axe is much slower but a lot more powerful. Rebellion sits somewhere between these two. It takes some getting used to having to hold a different shoulder button but after a while I much preferred this setup as it eliminates switching. It’s a good thing that Ninja Theory have put some thought into some strategy for fighting. The angel and demon abilities have other uses though as you can use angel to pull Dante towards a target while the demon can pull targets towards Dante. There are lots of possibilities for massive combos. Something which has always been important to the series.

Devil Trigger also makes a return, showing off a lot of aerial attacks. This time Devil Trigger has the ability to launch all enemies into the air to allow you to attack all of them defencelessly. Juggling enemies seems to happen a lot even without Devil Trigger.

Earlier I mentioned Limbo. This really impressed me in its aesthetics. You can still see the “real” world in flashes as you walk but in Limbo you will see words scrawled on the walls that threaten and taunt Dante and act as a sort of “go this way” marker, I mean you’re Dante! You aren’t going to let some writing on the walls telling you you’re going to die scare you away are you? The way the buildings and ground shift is also incredibly impressive. At the end of the demo you have to grapple along ledges as the back wall of the church you are in moves further away with every jump. Moments like this really stuck in my mind and I can’t wait to see more of these cool set pieces in the full game. Unfortunately, while the game is set for 2013 so there is time left, this demo looked VERY rough. For a moment I just thought it was the artistic direction but no. Jagged edges on everything, everywhere. It didn’t look particularly pretty at times.

Monster designs though are very well done. Flying cherub looking creatures, armoured demons, they are all here and they look fantastic. Definitely a highlight of the game. Defeating them does require the usual Devil May Cry trickery of hacking and slashing the weak points while dodging. Grappling also works against flying enemies whether it’s you going to them or pulling them to you. Like I said, there is a lot of diversity in the combo system here.
Check out gameplay footage of the game in action which we recorded at the expo:

I was sceptical about DmC, I’m not a fan of reboots. Especially when I didn’t feel like Devil May Cry really needed it. But I was seriously impressed with the demo of the new game. It all flowed together nicely (albeit locked at 30fps), and played just like a DMC game. I understand why long time fans are on the fence with it, I know because I was on the same fence. But having experienced it myself, it is still rough around the edges but from what I played the game is off to an amazing start. I only hope the textures get the improvements they need, the game itself plays brilliantly.

Soon you wont have to take our word on how the new Devil May Cry game is shaping up because Capcom have confirmed a demo will be available on both PS3 and Xbox360, no release date for that has been announced but keep checking back for the news…