DmC Demo Impressions
General: Overall I would say I liked the demo. Didn't love it and didn't make me want to pre-order the console versions but I liked it enough to maybe rent it and try out the PC version when that comes. This is easily the best game NT has put out and if you are a fan of NT games then you should've pre-ordered this game already. This is also easily better than C/D tier action games like NG3, Dante's Inferno and DMC2. The game however on the basis of its core mechanics does not touch the top tier action games but it's a respectable entry in the genre. If someone held a gun up to my head and asked me to cough up a score for the demo I would give it a solid 8/10. But to be honest the more I played the game the less I thought of it where as with a good DMC game, the more I played it the more I enjoyed it.
Graphics: Very good at least on the 360 version. I am not what you would call a graphics whore, I think DMC4 is a very good looking game too. Game is very vibrant and dynamic in its visual it looks very good in person when you are playing it. The environments and art style are the highlight here. Some jaggies here and there with the occasional framerate hiccup but nothing too substantial... it looks very solid and fluid.
But let's get one thing straight... this game does NOT feel or look like a 60FPS game. We need to squash that right now so that other PR companies don't start repeating this garbage phrase of "feel of 60FPS". Also this game does not look as good as GOW3 either which was apparently a debate that went on in the previous few pages.
Sound: Not much to say here. Voice acting is decent, sound effects are alright, soundtrack is up to taste (you either hate it or you love it). The sound effects for sword slashing is still not that good IMO but whatever.
Game play: This is it right here. This is what it's all about. I will break it up into Pros, Neutral and Cons.
*Game is responsive enough for an action game. Is it as responsive as a top tier 60FPS? No and you can't really push it to that level of pace either. But it's more responsive than your average 30FPS games these days. I would compare its responsiveness to Darksiders 2. I guess Capcom polled the controller at 60FPS so that the game retains a higher level of responsiveness at 30FPS.
*I enjoyed playing around with Angel/Demon tools. It feels good and your tools complement each other well. Like for example when you do Aerial Flush -> Drop (shockwave hits at the exact distance that Flush left them) -> Drive it all naturally flows into each other. I always felt that no matter what move I ended with I could continue the combo uninterrupted.
*Osiris is a fun weapon and looks cool too. I like most of its moves. I want to see an Osiris type weapon in a future DMC game where we get a bad ass LVL4 Swordmaster move with it.
*I feel like in terms of just straight up "styling" on enemies DmC delivers. There is a ton you can do in terms of exploiting moves for stylish looking combos. I am not talking about efficiency here, that will be discussed later in the "balance" section but there are enough varied tools provided even in the demo to make respectable combo/style videos.
*The combat secret mission was a great addition to the demo because it allowed you to access a bootleg training mode. I spent a lot of time in it.
*Lots of extra content in the demo that I appreciated a lot. Secret stuff, collectibles and best of all multiple difficulties. This is one area where DmC obviously trumps the previous DMC demos and I feel all games should come with multiple difficulty settings. I also liked that in DMC traditions, enemy patterns change in the levels to keep you on your toes.
*The small touches in the game I liked. I admit that seeing a bunch of text pop up at the corner of your screen indicating your moves and respective style points is pretty hype. I like how weapons shine when you do their alternate combos or that you can transfer a combo among weapons by changing (Start string with weapon, pause, switch weapon and new weapon will now instantly do its combo II). I dug the overall presentation of the game too, like the loading screen has a silhouette of Dante comboing enemies. I like Inverse Rainstorm and the passive abilities added in the game.
*The Devil Trigger is not as overpowered as I imagined it to be. Mostly because they have cut down the time that you are actually in DT and they have greatly reduced DT gain. It takes a really long time to build up a DT gauge that can sustain for more than a few seconds. That being said it maybe short but it packs a tremendous amount of punch. The DT system is more akin to games like GoW/Darksiders where you don't get to access your alternate form that frequently but when you do... you are godlike. I don't really know if I can get behind this change to DT but it's not so powerful that it breaks the game so I can let it rock.
*The boss fight was OK. It did what it was supposed to I guess. It wasn't hard/challenging but it was at least entertaining. I don't know why it needed to be 3 tiered, that got repetitive real quick after I fought her more than a few times. I liked that she got a new move in SoS which gives me hope for other bosses/enemies too.
*Camera was generally hit or miss. On the ground in an open area it did its job well enough of following you while you comboed enemies. It got really hairy near corners/walls or if you launched the enemy too high. Camera basically goes to shit once you are comboing at the stratosphere but that's not going to happen often so its fine. Not a massive improvement over previous DMC games but not a downgrade either... pretty much par for the course. It's actually improved since the last time I saw it.
*Game has a ton of mobility options you can use. Normally this is a great thing to have in an action game... only all the mobility options are trumped by the regular dodge in the game. It's quick, has near completely invulnerability during its animation and barely has any recovery. The Demon dodge is the same as the normal dodge only if you time it you get unbelievable buffs that I cover in the next section. Not only that but the regular enemies don't really push you hard enough for you to make full use of the range of your evasive/mobility options. I feel this was an opportunity wasted for DmC.
*I talked about this before but it warrants discussion here. Style ranking system as it is in the demo is broken. By that I mean the whole point of the style system is to deter you from repeating moves and reward for you creative/aggressive play. As it turns out, the most efficient way to play DmC is to wait for an enemy to attack you, dodge using Demon Dodge with proper timing (not that hard to do) and then go ham with Osiris as it has the most range on its attack. Demon dodge for those that don't know not only powers up your attacks for a short duration of time but also greatly boosts your style rank increase per hit. This yields you the most style points for the least amount of effort and in the least amount of time. Once initiate this set up, you can use whatever move you want indefinitely and the style meter will retain a high style rank... so long as you keep hitting. The style meter does not decay enough for repeated moves especially for higher levels.
*Lock on was sorely missed and problems were apparent without it. There was a lack of precision in the combat which was to be expected. Targets sometimes randomly swapped and this was most common when you are comboing an enemy and then chose to use a charge move but during the charge move enemies might move around and the lock on switches to a closer target. I don't like double tapping forward for Stinger/Streak, I feel like it's an unneeded extra motion on the stick that could've been avoided if there was an option for hard lock on. No lock on has clearly limited the range of moves that can be possible on the combat system. This is something that I cannot support going forward with the series, a hard lock has to AT LEAST be an option feature in a DMC game.
*Difficulty in the demo was entirely TOO EASY. I didn't even bother playing anything below Nephilim/SoS and even those two were very easy. The damage you take from enemies is miniscule, the margin of error is much higher than from previous DMC games. Because your dodging is much better than previous DMC games it is very hard to actually get hit in the game. Enemies were not aggressive enough and while its good that enemies telegraph their moves (otherwise they would be cheap) the damage they do isn't balanced around this. Like an example posted earlier in the thread, Dante faces off against a chainsaw enemy that has like a 1-2 second telegraph animation for you to react to with an instantaneous button press to avoid it safely... even if you get hit by this obvious move it will take like 3/4th of a bar. In a game like RE4 with vastly inferior movement/evasive options, a similar move kills you outright.
NT needs to scrap current Human difficulty mode and "upgrade" every difficulty up one minimum. DMD mode needs to significantly harder than whatever it is currently, current DMD mode should be SoS, SoS should be Nephilim (but balanced so that colored enemies come after you receive weapons) and so on.
*Balance of moves and weapons is all over the place. Of course balance isn't something you normally look for in a DMC game but it is still an important aspect of the combat engine and it leads into how much depth the game ends up having. Because there are so many moves that keep you afloat in the air longer than ever before, there is much less need to actually perform enemy step. Enemy step was used to keep enemies in the air for very long times but now it's not a requirement. I already talked about the mobility options and how Demon dodge breaks the style system by rewarding you too much for a relatively simple action. Moves like the Rake are too good... gravity nullification, ridiculous posterior hit box allow you to safely pick up multiple enemies from far up. Arbiter is the defacto boss/heavy enemy killer, there is very little reason to use any other weapon to deal brute damage... it takes very long to build up the damage on Osiris and it still sucks as a boss killer.
*The enemy design presented in the demo was extremely underwhelming and easily worse than what is offered in a standard DMC game (which the current standard isn't that high to begin with). Enemies have obvious gimmicks to them where you usually have to disarm them using your pulls or worse the higher up ones are colored coated so that you are forced to use a particular type of weapon to dispatch them. This combined with the shoddy lock on system creates situations where you are trying to take down a red enemy with a demon weapon but the lock on messes up and you end up hitting a blue enemy initiating a parry and usually a good amount of life lost. This is an example of difficulty that is completely artificial and frustrating. What's even more frustrating is you are forced to use a slow weapon with very few moves/variation (Arbiter) to take down an enemy. This limits creative and stylish play... to me this is the anti-thesis of what DMC is about. Even in DMC1, there were enemies that were strong/weak against particular weapons (like Plasma strong against Alastor, Frosts weak against Ifrit) but you could still use any weapon to take them out... you just had to deal with less efficiency. DmC has created a system of enemies where you either use the weapon that you are required to use... or you don't progress.
*Animation and physics are still very janky on a lot of moves. Jumping/landing still doesn't feel crispy, a lot of moves are slower than they need to be, moves have more hit stop animation than they need to. It's not as bad as it used to be but its still there. Some aspects of the combat just don't have a very clean feel to them.
*Platforming is as boring as it looks. No challenge, no feeling of intensity, no ingenuity.. no nothing. At least this is where DmC retains its DMC DNA.. the game is still the most fun when you are in an enclosed areas fighting and comboing enemies.