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60FPS gameplay is back but is this enough to silence the controversy? Digital Foundry investigates.
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This seems like a straightforward proposition, but what is Devil May Cry? It's a third-person fighting game that more or less invented a genre, then with Devil May Cry 3 raised the bar once more and, with Devil May Cry 4, had its biggest-selling entry (2.9 million). In 2008 the series did not seem in bad shape - and then the next Devil May Cry was DmC, a reboot developed by the Cambridge studio Ninja Theory. This switch was much-maligned by series fans, persistently and often unfairly.
We've already established that the PlayStation 4 version of DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition offers a palpable upgrade over both Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game, with 60fps gameplay moving Ninja Theory's last-gen reboot more closely into line with Capcom Japan's origin titles. In addition to the faster, smoother gameplay, native 1080p visuals also deliver the welcome boost in sharpness expected from a title running on a current-gen console.
However, despite the undeniable upgrades, we also came away a just little disappointed that the PS4 version doesn't quite manage to deliver the solid 60fps gameplay easily achievable on the PC - something we expected from the level of hardware on offer inside Sony's console. So the question is, can the Xbox One version iron out the kinks found in the PS4 game and hand in the 'definitive' experience we are looking for from a current-gen remaster? Or will its less capable GPU hand in a less stable experience?
From a visual perspective, we're mostly looking at parity between PS4 and Xbox One - with just a few caveats. Anti-aliasing coverage is a little better on Microsoft's system, although the difference is largely academic, visible only when zooming in on still screenshots. The same post-process algorithm is used across both consoles (creating a sharper image than the PC game) and in motion it's basically impossible to spot the difference.
Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot courted much controversy back in the day, when the Unreal Engine 3-powered release traded the series' signature 60fps gameplay for a more detail-rich 30fps experience. Only the PC version could power uncompromised full frame-rate gameplay - and in our tests, it made a world of difference.
DmC Devil May Cry developer Ninja Theory has removed a snippet of sexually suggestive dialogue from the action adventure's Definitive Edition release.
DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition has detailed the new Vergil's Bloody Palace addition to this remastered version of Ninja Theory's hack-and-slash spectacular.
Fans of the series will recall that Bloody Palace is a lengthy multi-wave combat arena. This Vergil-themed version allows you to play as Dante's blue-clad brother, but there's been another alteration to the formula: Vergil's Bloody Palace will start out notably more difficult than its Dante-based brethren.
As detailed by Ninja Theory communications manager Dominic Matthews on the PlayStation Blog, Vergil's Bloody Palace will begin on Nephilim difficulty - the middle of five difficulty tiers - and only get harder from there. Dante's, by comparison, began at the very easy Human level.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has announced the free games heading to PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Enslaved developer Ninja Theory has confirmed it will stick with console development after reports published today suggested it planned to switch fully to mobile.
Ninja Theory boss Tameem Antoniades was reported to have told an audience at the recent Slush business conference in Helsinki that the developer "is heading entirely for mobile".
"The AAA games console model is a little bit broken," reads a direct quote on Edge.
Capcom is preparing to slash its European operation by more than half, according to the UK trade magazine MCV. "More than half of the European arm faces redundancy, with a number of jobs set to merge," reads the report.
Capcom's annual financial results are in, and everything the company predicted in its April forecast pretty much came true.
Capcom has once again revised down sales of its big games for the last financial year - and blamed the decision in part on "excessive outsourcing".
Spare a thought for the video game brother, forever cast in the shadows. Nintendo's placing the spotlight on the lesser sibling of its star duo this year, so DmC's first substantial DLC that puts Dante's brother Vergil on centre stage feels like it's part of a curious trend. Vergil's Downfall is a substantial if not entirely satisfying single-player add-on, retaining so much that made Ninja Theory's reboot a success while never really building on it in an engaging way.
Set immediately after the events of DmC (you'd be well advised to complete the main campaign before heading in to the DLC, and likewise you'd be well advised to not read much further on in this review if you'd rather the story remained unspoiled), Vergil's Downfall follows Dante's brother as he's cast into the underworld, and as he works his way through the twisting landscapes of hell.
It's a more surreal backdrop than that of Dante's tale, the link to reality cut loose as levels are constructed of floating walkways and gothic architecture hanging free in the purple skies. Vergil's tale - which is as engaging as that of the main campaign, as in not very at all, with the series' camp theatrics clashing with some straight-faced mugging - is told through scruffy animations that book-end each of the six new chapters.
DmC Devil May Cry's first piece of story DLC, Vergil's Downfall, will be out on 6th March in Europe on XBLA, PSN and PC where it will cost £7.29 / €8.99 / 720 Microsoft Points.
DmC: Devil May Cry's Bloody Palace add-on - which adds over 100 waves of increasingly challenging demon-slaying action - will be available on 20th February on Xbox Live and PSN, Capcom announced over Twitter.
Capcom has reduced its sales target for Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot.
It had hoped to ship two million copies of the action game by the end of its financial year. It now expects to ship 1.2 million copies - 800,000 short of the initial target.
As of January 2013, one million copies had been shipped.
DmC: Devil May Cry didn't upset the chart for long: Black Ops 2 is back on top this week followed by FIFA 13 in second and Far Cry 3 in third.
With DmC Devil May Cry, Ninja Theory proved that it was possible to preserve the fast-paced signature gameplay of the Devil May Cry games while adopting a reduced 30FPS update, thus allowing for a significant leap in graphical quality, bringing features such as dynamic environments, object blur and higher precision lighting to the table. In effect, the developer managed to balance out pure visual spectacle with rewarding gameplay mechanics while giving the series a fresh new beginning. But for some of the hardcore Devil May Cry fanbase, this is not enough. For them, its 60FPS frame-rate and the associated low-latency controls are two fundamental pillars of the series that have defined the gameplay across four previous titles.
While we hope and expect the series to re-establish a full-on 60FPS experience on next-gen consoles, in the here and now the PC platform represents the only way for series die-hards to play DmC at that level without any compromise on overall graphical quality. As we've seen over the past few years it is commonplace to find mid-range gaming computers powering past the current batch of consoles to deliver smoother and more immersive gameplay - something we proved conclusively with our own £300 Digital Foundry PC. In this respect DmC is no exception to the rule, and similar to many console conversions, Ninja Theory's work scales nicely across a range of hardware. The question is, away from resolution and frame-rate, does the transition to PC bring with it any actual enhancements over the console games?
On first inspection the PC version of DmC features a number of interesting graphics options, consisting of HD textures, HD shadows, and HD anti-aliasing. In addition there are four overall presets to choose from: low, medium, high and ultra, allowing users to tailor the visual experience to get the best performance from their own particular hardware. The inclusion of the high-end sounding ultra preset hints at a significant upgrade over the console releases, but ultimately that doesn't appear to be the case. Instead, the level of visual quality doesn't so much scale up but scale down, with the core look of the game being very close to that of the consoles when run at its highest level. Presets below ultra begin to reduce various components - such as lighting, textures, and shadows - while the HD options only really provide a mild boost over the PS3 and 360 releases in some areas. Let's have a head-to-head look at the game, complete with a now-updated, triple-format comparison gallery.
DmC Devil May Cry has sold less than half of what its predecessor, DMC4, did upon its launch week in Japan five years ago. While a critical success, DmC marks the first time a western developer - in this case Ninja Theory - has taken the reins on the blockbuster action series.
Despite not living up to its predecessor sales-wise, DmC still topped this week's sales chart in Japan.
According to Media Create, Ninja Theory's reboot shifted 110,429 copies on PS3, while its 360 version didn't even crack the top 20, so it must have sold less than Pokemon Black & White 2's 5,724. Comparatively, DMC4 sold 205,390 on PS3 and 40,023 on Xbox 360 in its debut week for a grand total of 245, 513.
Update: The new DmC skins will be released in Europe on 30th January and in North America the previous day on PSN and Xbox Live. The pack containing, "Classic Dante," "Dark Dante," and "Neo Dante" will be priced at £3.19 / €3.99 / $4.00 / 320 Microsoft points.
Launch week sales for DmC Devil May Cry were just a third of the amount that previous entry Devil May Cry 4 sold during its launch week in 2008.
That's despite DmC having an extra three days on sale - it launched last Tuesday, compared to Devil May Cry 4's Friday launch, the traditional day that new video games hit shop shelves in the UK.
DmC still made the top spot, however - the first time Capcom has gained pole position since the launch of Resident Evil 5, almost four years ago.
Ever wonder what Hideki Kamiya, director of Devil May Cry and Okami, thinks of the new western developed reboot of his beloved hack-and-shoot series? Well, as it turns out, he likes it.
Capcom has reassured gamers that troubled retailer HMV will stock its latest release, DmC Devil May Cry, which launched in shops today.
It's the first big boxed game release of 2013, and it's a goodun! DmC Devil May Cry has been the subject of much scorn and scepticism pre-release, but if you read Rich Stanton's review yesterday then you'll know he feels it not only revitalises the series bit "is almost a classic in its own right".
There are extremes, and then there's DmC. This reinvention of Devil May Cry is capable of leaving you open-mouthed in amazement, gazing in wonder while clutching the joypad so hard it creaks - but it also easily segues into boredom and, occasionally, frustration. When DmC gets going it is sensational and when it slows down it's barely average. It's the 10/10 game that won't stop forgetting itself.
Dante's new look is a mix of hard-edged and drop-dead gorgeous, every stance filled with arrogance. Even more irresistible is the way he moves. A wiry powerhouse that runs on flair, every arc and sweep of this Dante's blade oozes over-confidence to the extent that it sometimes leaves him stumbling. But only for an instant. The animation throughout DmC is exquisite and Dante is the showcase, his hundreds of potential moves stitched together into the most incredible extended sequences. With attitude in spades and a clutch of killer lines, there have been few better reinventions of a classic character than this.
Then there's the combat system, the thing everyone was concerned about, which turns out to be DmC's trump card. With Ninja Theory on development duties you can take fluidity and style for granted, but the sheer range and utility of Dante's moveset is what's most impressive.
Devil May Cry will get the Bloody Palace mode with a post-launch title update, Capcom has announced.
The title update will be released very shortly after the game comes out next week, Capcom said.
Bloody Palace mode, which DmC fans will know from previous games in the action series, is a survival gauntlet with over 100 levels and five hard as nails bosses. To access it and compete on the global leaderboards you need to download the update and complete the game once.
Our new YouTube man Ian Higton (check out his Games of 2012 piece on Minecraft 360 if you missed his introduction) has been busy since he got back from his Christmas hols. Busy slaying demons.
Yep, Ian's been playing a near-complete version of DmC: Devil May Cry, which is due out on PS3 and Xbox 360 on 15th January. You can check out several of his videos over on the Eurogamer YouTube channel and we will have more over the next couple of weeks, including a live stream. Here are some highlights, starting with the preview he put together before we broke up for the holidays:
Ian's also put together some videos showing specific missions. Here's one of Mission 8, where Dante gets stuck in a Limbo-world version of a subway system, complete with demonic trains for juggling enemies into.
Pre-ordering Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot on Steam just got more enticing as Capcom has added the option to pre-purchase the DmC Complete Pack that includes DMC3: Special Edition and DMC4. This collection costs £39.99, only £10 more than just buying the reboot.
The PC version of Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot is due on 25th January in Europe, Capcom has announced. This follows the PS3 and Xbox 360 version by a scant 10 days.
Capcom has revealed that its hotly anticipated Devil May Cry reboot will be getting a demo on Xbox Live and PSN on Wednesday 21st November - or the previous day for US PSN accounts.
Capcom has announced that it will release post launch DLC for Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot that allows you to play as Dante's twin brother Vergil.
Priced at 720 MS Points / £7.29 / €8.99, the DLC entitled Vergil's Downfall will contain hours of new gameplay, four difficulty levels and an all new storyline with unique enemies, locations, weapons and combos.
Those familiar with the Devil May Cry franchise will recall that Vergil was one of the series' main antagonists. Early trailers have suggested an alliance between the brothers, so ostensibly this DLC will cover their falling out.
During the development of open world fantasy action role-playing game Dragon's Dogma Capcom learnt new tricks that give Devil May Cry the feel of 60 frames per second, the publisher has claimed.
The new Dante - Ninja Theory's Dante - is an arsehole.
When the new Devil May Cry game was announced in 2010 fans of the series were united in their criticism.
Want to run Devil May Cry at 60 frames per second on PC? You'll have to wait until after the console versions are released.
Dante look nice?
Capcom's annual report is out, and one of the big ideas for the future is to shorten development cycles and pump out sequels more often.
Capcom president and COO Haruhiro Tsujimoto put it best:
We're filling out even more of the Eurogamer Expo developer sessions schedule today with the news that both DmC: Devil May Cry and Remember Me will be presented to attendees by their respective creators.
New footage has emerged of Ninja Theory's upcoming Devil May Cry reboot, portraying Dante infiltrating a news station parodying "one particular American outlet that shall go unnamed" according to producer Alex Jones.
Vergil and Dante.
Capcom's announced that Vergil, Dante's twin brother, will be making an appearance in Ninja Theory's reboot of the action series.
Vergil first made an appearance in Devil May Cry 3, and was a playable character in the Special Edition. There's no news yet on whether he'll be playable in the forthcoming game.
The announcement headed up a striking showing for DMC, which climaxed with an extended hands-off session that had Dante heading into a stylized news studio and then fighting a thinly disguised take on notorious US anchor Bill O'Reilly.
Western games developers start a project by focusing on its visual design, Capcom has claimed, while Japanese developers prioritise gameplay systems.
It's getting realer! (It's that a thing, actually? 'Realer'? Well, whatever.) Today we're announcing that Resident Evil 6, DmC: Devil May Cry and Lost Planet 3 will all be playable at this year's Eurogamer Expo, taking place at London's Earls Court from 27th-30th September.
"Dante's not gay, but I wish he was" says Ninja Theory creative director Tameem Antoniades. "That would teach all those homophobes out there."
I wish he was gay, too. Aside from being a bigot repellent, it would have been more fitting for Ninja Theory's reimagining of the Devil May Cry series. "The theme of the story is about rebellion," Antoniades states. Everything ties into that notion from Dante's brash attitude, to the street art aesthetic, drastic character redesigns, the name of his sword, and the peculiar abbreviation that keeps that 'm' lowercase for no particular reason.
This sticking-it-to-the-man attitude is apparent from the start of Ninja Theory's presentation, wherein Dante knocks out a bouncer in order to infiltrate a nightclub run by a demon named Lilith. In the world of DmC, demons manipulate aspects of society, and she uses this club to convert members of the upper classes into demon collaborators. "Lilith is like the queen of entertainment," Antoniades notes. "She's like the Simon Cowell of limbo."
DmC Devil May Cry launches in both Europe and the US on 15th January next year for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, publisher Capcom has announced.
A PC version of the game will then arrive "later in 2013".
As revealed earlier this month, Capcom is hoping that the Ninja Theory-developed effort will sell around two million copies worldwide.
There's an awful lot riding on Resident Evil 6 - Capcom expects the upcoming survival horror to ship a whopping 7 million copies.
Trailer trashing combat.
Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed the introduction of tax credits for the UK video game industry.
In his Budget 2012 speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said tax credits will "support our brilliant video games and animations industries". The Government is yet to announce details of the relief, however, but we do know the plan is to have it begin from April 2013.
UK lobby groups such as Tiga have long called for tax breaks to help boost the industry on these shores. The lack of tax credits have been blamed for an "exodus" of game development talent abroad.
Capcom has released a batch of new artwork and screens from forthcoming Devil May Cry spin-off DmC.
Tom's already offered you a rundown of this year's Actual New Games - the ones that are offering, in their own ways, something unique - and now here's the slightly less glamorous look at the other side of the coin.
They're big business, these blockbuster sequels, and for all that we lament the lack of innovation it's these big-budget series that inevitably garner the most attention and inspire the most devotion from the majority. That's nothing to be scorned - iteration's an important thing in games development and indeed the development of games - and a composite of evolved features designed to fulfil a particular desire, be that the needs of a sports fan or those wanting a fresh shooter fix, can be just as important to the progression of the medium as the advent of a new game mechanic or control concept.
Sequels take many forms and capture our attention for many reasons. Some build their features up year by year, like FIFA and Call of Duty, and will continue to be brilliant when we encounter them later in 2012. Others build on the storytelling or world-building of games a few years past, like Gearbox's brilliant-looking Borderlands 2 or the sure-to-be-spectacular finale to the Shepard's tale in Mass Effect 3. And some are interesting because of their circumstances - Halo 4, for example, is another big-budget sequel on the near horizon, and with a new and as-yet unproven developer filling Bungie's big boots, we're just interested in that out of morbid curiosity as devotion to the series.
Capcom and developer Ninja Theory have outlined the difference between the upcoming Devil May Cry reboot and Bayonetta - but admitted in some areas the games are "squarely competing".
DmC developer Ninja Theory has invited some of the world's top Devil May Cry players to its studio to try the game and offer some constructive feedback.
Ninja Theory shows more Dante.
DmC: Devil May Cry plays out in a parallel dimension to past entries in Capcom's action franchise.
White-haired Dante glimpsed.
The business of making multi-million pound, triple-A, blockbuster video games is "not healthy" and are "crushing innovation", reckons Ninja Theory (DMC, Enslaved, Heavenly Sword).
Who knew a dodgy haircut could provoke such an outcry? We now know Capcom itself insisted on Dante's extreme makeover, expecting a reaction. Nevertheless, his newly recruited hairdresser seems shocked by the ferocity of it.
Capcom and Ninja Theory have presented a united front and promised that, in the wake of a fan backlash, the upcoming Devil May Cry reboot will still "feel" and "work" like old Devil May Cry games.
A Devil May Cry HD Collection will launch in Europe on the PlayStation 3 on 30th November, according to a Spanish shop.
DMC rebirth's E3 showing dissected.
Capcom has high hopes for its upcoming games.
It's projected big sales for Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City, Street Fighter x Tekken, Dragon's Dogma and Dead Rising 2 Off the Record.
Third-person co-op and competitive shooter Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City will shift 2.5 million units worldwide, Capcom reckons.
The company behind the Resident Evil films has bought the movie rights to Capcom's stylish action game Devil May Cry.
Capcom has admitted to deliberately courting controversy with Dante's much-maligned new look in its recently announced Devil May Cry prequel.
Japanese game company Capcom told Devil May Cry developer Ninja Theory to "go crazy" with the design of the rebooted Dante.
Capcom's controversial reboot of action series Devil May Cry was inspired by actor Daniel Craig's "rougher" James Bond, the producer of the game has revealed.
The news that Devil May Cry was to get a renovation was probably the most controversial announcement of this year's Tokyo Game Show. The words 'series reboot' are enough to jangle any fan's nerves, and the trailer proved divisive.
Capcom easily won the unofficial award for the publisher of the show in Tokyo this year. Not content to sit back and watch people come flooding in to see Monster Hunter Portable 3rd - which they did, of course, in their thousands - the publisher made three major new announcements. At Capcom's pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference, Keiji Inafune told the world that as long as Capcom's around, the Japanese games industry is alive and kicking.
The outspoken Capcom head honcho Keiji Inafune has once again slammed the Japanese game industry, this time saying it's lagging years behind the West.
Time to run?
Capcom's formally announced the rumoured Ninja Theory-developed Devil May Cry game, titled DmC, at the Tokyo Game Show.
DmC is in development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Capcom head honcho Keiji Inafune said it was too early to talk about a release date.
"From its debut on PlayStation 2 in 2001, the Devil May Cry series has been synonymous with stylish action, rewarding combat and a brash, smart-talking protagonist," reads the official blurb.