Was rebooting such an iconic character as Dante a smart move? Can the gameplay match expectations?
I’ve never really got on well with Ninja Theory.
On paper, I should have loved absolutely everything about Enslaved: one on many combat, cinematic set pieces, traversal mechanics, beautiful graphics, post-apocalyptic world, and a badass lead character. To me, it should have been Prince of Persia meets Uncharted. When I saw previews of it I was excited as a boy can be. But try as I might, I simply couldn’t get into it. Why? There was simply no gameplay.
Enslaved was – at best – a tech demo, albeit one combined with an Andy Serkis vanity project. The combat was unresponsive and lacking in any challenge, the traversal was simply a case of smacking the jump button while wiggling the stick and the additional gameplay “variety” provided by partner commands, turret sections and 3rd person shooting were laughable. The game looks great, but I just felt like my participation in said experience was marginal. It just never felt like making an actual video game was high on the to-do list at Ninja Theory HQ.
So, even with subterranean expectations, I booted up the DmC demo last night waiting to be disappointed.
But goddam, Ninja Theory might have done it this time.
Okay, Dante is a complete tool. He feels like the love child of Nathan Drake and a contestant from the X-Factor. However, unlike the force-fed “character development” of Enslaved, I don’t get the impression that I am required to like him.
That aside, the gameplay in DmC is smooth as butter. The button mappings are excellent, the responsiveness is spot on and the aiming very rarely let me down. In a world of unresponsive modern action games such as Enslaved, DmC sits there, loud and proud, with controls as twitchy as Super Mario World. Yes. Honestly. It feels that sharp.
The presentation is also beautiful. From what I have seen in the demo, the character models are sharp, the motion capture is smooth and lifelike and the visual effects to display the dimension shifting is excellently executed.
It’s like a big dollop of modern icing and your grandma’s classic cake. Presentation and gameplay hand in hand. From one play of the demo I’ve gone from not giving a shit to gearing up for release day.
Bravo Ninja Theory. You’ve won me over. Although the line: “You can call me Dante, the demon slayer” can go die in a fire.