This past weekend I got my first chance to try out DMC, the upcoming refresh of Capcom's popular slash-and-shoot series, and I am pretty sure I enjoyed myself immensely. I'm just not certain how much of that enjoyment stemmed from an extremely unfortunate mixed drink snafu.
Evan and I stopped by the Microsoft event on Thursday night of the San Diego Comic-Con with the intention of getting in, playing some games, and then getting back to the hotel in time to write up some fresh impressions. It was midnight back home when the party started, and after walking the floor of the convention centre and the streets of San Diego all day long, neither of us was long for consciousness.
The first game I came across was DMC, Ninja Theory's take on a franchise I've always enjoyed for its swarmy style and fast action. I'd not yet had the pleasure of giving the controversial dark-haired Dante a go, so I planted myself down on a bench and stared at the person occupying the demo station until they got uncomfortable and left.
Meanwhile, Evan grabbed me a drink.
Now I am not a big drinker. During my first year or so working for Kotaku I would overindulge at every party, but I've since realised that I don't like the taste of alcohol and would much rather sip a coke naked than ruined with rum. The one exception to this rule is the amaretto sour, a delicious mixture of sweet and tangy that's pretty weak in the grand scheme of things. I have an incredibly low tolerance for a man my size, so it's really the ideal poison for my person.
Unfortunately the bar was out of amaretto, so Evan got me a whisky sour instead.
Seasoned drinkers are laughing already. For one, as my friends like to remind me, drinking an amaretto sour makes me a lesbian. And second, substituting whiskey for amaretto is like substituting a pinch for a gunshot.
The drink arrived as I was familiarising myself with Dante's controls. He's got guns, he's got melee weapons. He's got demonic and angelic attacks that work different murderous magic on different enemies. He dodges, he pulls himself into airborne enemies. He gets completely lost on a very small level that involved shooting a trio of evil devices to open up a new path.
That last bit, to be fair to Ninja Theory, didn't get really bad until I had sipped the entire whiskey sour through a tiny straw in under 30 seconds. It did not taste good, so the faster it was gone the better. Or so I thought.
While there were enemies on screen I reveled in battle. It was fast and reactive, at least to my increasingly sluggish reflexes. Moves chained together with sexy style, and despite his strange appearance, Dante was every bit as sly and witty as his white-haired predecessor, who made a special appearance each time I activated the Devil Trigger mode. "He's from the future!" I exclaimed to no one in particular, grinning stupidly at my own comment.
Aside from a general lack of direction, I often found the camera going places the camera should not go, with emo Dante disappearing from view entirely. It didn't happen often, but the plague of the fast-paced third-person action platformer can never be fully escaped.
My platforming skills and hand-eye coordination where then put to the test as I raced through the crumbling cathedral we've already seen in several trailers for the game. I only died four times. Only three of those times were my fault, give or take one.
By the end of the first part of my Dante demo I was feeling no pain. Don't worry, I made up for it during the second half.
Evan warned me that the boss in the demo was tough, and I scoffed at him. This was not due to confidence, but rather the sheer fun of scoffing. Try it. Turn to the person next to you and scoff. Fun, isn't it?
The boss was a massive multi-armed beast suspended from a pit by cables, possibly demonic cables. This bulbous freak spit curses at me, dropping the F-bomb at first sparingly and then cutting loose when he realised the answer to "Who the f**k are you!?" was the Son of Sparda. I bet Dante gets that a lot.
What followed was a blur. There were multiple platforms to swing between, the boss would randomly cover each one with acidic vomit, requiring our hero stay on the move. I was pounded by giant claws, crushed beneath their bulk, a puked on with alarming regularity. Every now and then the boss' fleshing head mass would open to reveal a glowing red weak spot, the bane of bosses everywhere.
Did I take him down? Oh yes, I took him down. Evan walked over, and I told him it was easy. I only used about 15 continues.
What? Pressing continue is easy.
Despite the intoxicated nature of the demo, several aspects of DMC were crystal clear. The action was fast and slick. The characters were attractive and filled with the sort of life I've come to expect from the makers of Heavenly Sword and Enslaved.
And I will never, ever drink and game again, unless DMC comes out and it's not as good as I remember it.