Ranking the Devil May Cry Series
So, with the recent release of the Capcom Humble Bundle and the 15 Year Anniversary having taken place on the 23rd of August, I figured it would be the perfect time to discuss one of my favourite series of all time, Devil May Cry.
Set within a power struggle between Hell and Earth that has been raging for 2,000 years, the series centers around a vigilante demon hunter named Dante; the most smooth talking, gunslinging, bona fide mercenary the world has ever seen. Dante himself is a demon and was created through the unity of an angel mother and demon father. Realizing his gifts, Dante opened up a shop entitled Devil May Cry, a shop in which he conducts private investigation and demon slaying all under one roof. Since then, Dante has been saving the world one demon at a time.
Devil May Cry is a stylized hack and slash combat game with a history for being notably difficult. This difficulty is what drew me to the series when I was younger and ever since then, I was hooked. The music, the environments, the enemy designs; all of it was amazing and I couldn’t get enough. So, with Capcom’s recent bundle and the aforementioned anniversary, I thought it would good time to take a look at the series:
#5 - DMC: Devil May Cry
The Ninja Theory reboot of the hit Capcom seller, DMC: Devil May Cry is probably the easiest (In my opinion) of the series, but is nonetheless enjoyable. The basic formula didn’t change a whole lot, combos were still easy to perform, upgrades are earned at a nice pace and overall, the game just flows really well. The biggest thing about the DMC reboot was Dante’s overall look. Ninja Theory would go about changing the Dante that gamers knew and loved, thus sparking major outrage throughout the community.
The game itself, being a reboot, doesn’t follow any of the previous storylines that were established beforehand, but does include a few popular characters from the series, the most notable being Vergil, Sparda and Mundus.
Speaking of storylines, DMC: Devil May Cry probably has the most basic one out of all the DMC games. After a night of partying, Dante is found by a freedom fighter named Kat and is asked to join ‘The Order’ to fight demons that have been taking over society. What follows is a nice string of boss fights, set pieces and an overall decent characterization. Just a shame about the ending.
#4 - Devil May Cry 2
The second game of the DMC universe and the most heavily criticized, Devil May Cry 2 is more of the same, with less of the punch. What it makes up for in design, it lacks in difficulty. Just to make things clear, I very much enjoyed Devil May Cry 2 and even replay it from time to time. However, that being said, I’m not blind to the lack of challenge that its predecessor had and to the change of Dante’s personality, switching out a more sarcastic Dante for a more silent and brooding one, sort of like Prince of Persia: Warriors Within.
Story wise, after the events of Devil May Cry, Dante joins up with another mercenary named Lucia to journey to Dumary Island. Whilst on the island, Dante learns from Lucia’s mother that an evil businessman named Arius is out to resurrect the demon Argosax and that Dante must stop him at any cost.
The gameplay is fairly decent. Not as free flowing as DMC: Devil May Cry, but it definitely feels like there’s a lot more weight to your attacks. Juggling and combos I found were a lot more difficult, but felt very satisfying when done correctly. All in all, Devil May Cry 2 is a good game, if a little rough around the edges.
#3 - Devil May Cry 4
With the major success of Devil May Cry 3 a few years back, Devil May Cry 4 was looking to make the same impact. Upon release, boasting both beautiful CG cutscenes and a well-crafted fight system, Devil May Cry 4 had become another hit for the series. The biggest change for Devil May Cry 4 from the rest of the series was the inclusion of two playable characters in the same story, Nero and Dante.
In terms of story, the game is based around Nero hunting down Dante while learning the secrets behind The Order he serves. Now, there’s always been a heavy emphasis on family with the Devil May Cry series, what with Dante and Vergil always after each other, but I feel like this game really takes the cake in that department. I would even go so far to say that this is probably the most emotional game of the series.
In terms of a sequel, Devil May Cry 4 may not be as strong as 3, but it hits all the right notes. Keeping the player engaged, all while crafting a beautiful story.
#2 - Devil May Cry
The game that started it all, Devil May Cry is one of the purest forms of the stylized hack and slasher and would go on to set the formula for future games of the same genre. Showing off abilities such as ‘Devil Trigger’ and having a wide range of unique bosses, Devil May Cry is truly one of a kind.
The story of Devil May Cry features Dante hunting down the Demon Emperor Mundus, originally for his own personal agenda, but ends up doing it for the safety of others. I believe this is probably the most straightforward storyline of the series, but that could be argued with DMC: Devil May Cry.
The only real complaint I could bring up is that the combat is unfortunately clunky for its time and it made fighting enemies a bit of a chore, but with time I managed to get a hang of the system and was having a blast. Just something to get used to, I suppose.
#1 - Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening
In my opinion, the best of the best in the DMC series. Devil May Cry 3 is an almost perfect mix of action and strategy. Widely seen as the most difficult game in the series, Devil May Cry 3 doesn’t shy away from its history, fixing the difficulty issues presented in Devil May Cry 2 and even going as far as to make things more challenging for fans.
The story is set as a prequel to the original Devil May Cry, establishing the rivalry between Dante and Vergil. The game also features a more detailed characterization of Dante’s brash and snarky personality, being more of a return to form for the anti-hero then in his portrayal in Devil May Cry 2.
The only real negative I could find in Devil May Cry 3 is the fixed camera angle reminiscent of all DMC games. It’s a real pain when trying to navigate the given area and it doesn’t make jumping across platforms any easier. However, these are but small issues in the large spectrum of engaging drive that only Devil May Cry 3 can bring.
To end on a high note, Devil May Cry may have its imperfections, but the series as a whole is incredibly well constructed and does a fantastic job with everything it brings to the table. In short, here’s hoping there’s another one just on the horizon.