The HD collection for the original PS2 Devil May Cry and its two sequels; Devil May Cry 2 and Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening, came out a few months ago and as a huge fan of the series I picked it up. I can report that the collection is good; it was great then and now it’s good. What is great now though is DmC, the series reboot from Ninja Theory (Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Heavenly Sword) and Capcom. The demo plays better than I could have hoped and so I trust Ninja Theory implicitly gameplay-wise, but art-wise I respect and appreciate them. Their artistic vision of Dante’s worlds is humming, glorious and vital.
As ghostly figures phase in-and-out of Purgatory they lose their corporeal substance and, in-so-doing, become reminders of a parallel world whose inhabitants are blissfully unaware of our tortured, inconsistent version of their environment as the first level of the demo plays out. The walls are besmirched by an inky awfulness from which turgid polyps protrude and trapped, tortured souls stick. The air is thick and roused, tormented by gusts of uneasy wind as the contrasting vivid blues and sandy hues toy with one another. It’s a tangible, sickly-sweet, substantial world in constant motion; it’s beguiling and endearing.
The artists at Ninja Theory love contrast and implement it with flair. They have played with divergent subject matter and colour in the past to create juxtapositions that give presence to the greens and simultaneously lend the reds visual power. DmC (Demo) is no different – as well as the aforementioned palette that lends a strong Surrealist vibe that reminds me of Giorgio de Chirico, Dante himself is half Demon half Angel (Nephilim) and therefore has the best of both worlds; Demonic and Angelic abilities. Gameplay wise this is fantastic but artistically, aesthetically, we experience a constant conflict between the two with the sharp, decisive blues cutting through the heavy, brutal reds.
During a fight the blues and reds of Angel and Demon powers flash against the inky blacks on the walls and the saturated environment creating a truly stunning melange of charged chaos emphasised further by the detritus that is strewn around the surreal, timeless Purgatory. It’s like a Salvador Dali or Yves Tanguy fever dream brought bang-up-to-date with punky grime and attitude.
The world they have created really leaves the previous games in the starting blocks and cashes the cheque written by the very first Devil May Cry game. Visually it mixes Dali with H.R Giger via Hans Bellmer yet feels entirely relevant and on-point. There is quite a daring feel to their approach but it’s married with a real intoxicating Fuck You attitude. Basically they are saying “Get on Board or get out the way,” and I am definitely, definitely on board.