DmC: Devil May Cry is a fresh take on the Devil May Cry series--some have vocally opposed the changes, but I have always been open to them--mixing familiar mechanics with a new story and some new looks. I have never been the biggest DMC fan--I really enjoyed the first game, never played the second, had fun with what I played of the third and was pretty indifferent regarding the fourth--but I was excited the second I heard Ninja Theory was the studio behind the DmC: Devil May Cry, increasing my expectation tenfold.
For those who don't know anything about Ninja Theory, they are the studio behind Heavenly Sword and the incredibly underrated Enslave: Odyssey to the West--one of my favorite games on this generation. The defining characteristic of Ninja Theory games are fantastic animations and wonderfully told and delivered stories. DmC follows suit with a story that surprised me, making me care about the characters more than I expected out of a DMC game. Is Dante a douche bag? Yes, but only for the first few missions, then he grows into someone who may be a tad cocky (or a lot cocky), but he has a good heart. If you play the entire game and believe Dante is a douche bag throughout; congratulations on living a life without experiencing true douche bags. But there's more to DmC's story than just Dante.
The story is a batshit crazy take on the masses versus "the man," with some truly insane levels and boss fights. The story itself isn't that engrossing, but the characters make it worth watching and it is the perfect excuse for some very creative level design. If I could steal only one aspect of DmC, it would be the level design--it's creative and incorporates the story in ways that seem ridiculous but work so well (I don't want to spoil anything). The creativity found in the level design bleeds into boss fights, filling the game with some of the best boss fights in recent memory, one of which I will remember forever. But all of this would be worthless if the game wasn't fun to play.
I have never been an aficionado when it comes to combo-heavy action games, but I found the system in place in DmC simple enough to enjoy with little thought and easy to dive into when I felt like attempting long combos. I never felt like the combat was overwhelming and new weapons were obtained at a fairly decent pace, making the combat feel fresh for a good chunk of the game. The combat may not be deep enough for some, but I really enjoyed it and never got bored. And I know some people have complained about the removal of lock-on, but I didn't find its absence problematic or even noticeable.
The visuals and animations are fantastic, but that's to be expected from Ninja Theory and they didn't disappoint. It's not the most colorful and the enemy design doesn't get too crazy, but the overall art design fits the story and the characters within it. The hard, electronic music isn't something I'd listen to in my personal life, but it fits the game's personality and I can't imagine something else in its place. That's a common trait with DmC; some aspects are expected and some are surprises, but everything just feels right.
I went into DmC: Devil May Cry with high expectations, but I still had reservations regarding the story and game as a whole--even coming from Ninja Theory, I didn't see how any studio could make me care about a Devil May Cry story. From the moment I started to the moment I finished, my expectations were met if not exceeded and I didn't want the game to end. If you go into DmC with an open mind, you'll be rewarded with a great game that just might surprise you too.