Close to three years ago, prior to the reveal of God of War: Ascension, I experienced one of the more shameful moments of a mostly shame-free career writing about video games. And Devil May Cry's Dante was the cause.
As I sat with some peers at an event, we wondered aloud what Kratos' redesign would look like for the upcoming prequel—yes, these are the kinds of exciting conversations happening in our industry every day. Amid the mumbling, someone piped up: "I don't care, as long as they don't make him all girly like the new Dante."
Cue laughter. And keep in mind no one involved in this conversation (especially me) could be called a paragon of masculinity.
Even in the press, the scandal caused by Dante's DmC redesign drowned out all discussion of the actual game. Developer Ninja Theory eventually caved to fan feedback by altering Dante's design a bit to address criticism of his "metrosexuality," but the damage had already been done. Seemingly, no discussion of DmC could happen without an inevitable reference to the dreamy vampire Edward Cullen of Twilight fame.
But why? Had no one been playing the same series I had for the last ten years, which essentially starred a silver-haired peacock strutting around a red trenchcoat, mugging, posing, and spouting one-liners that would make Steven Segal blush? Dante was always part Japanese pretty boy, part Neo from The Matrix, with all the grace and dignity of a circa 2000 tribal bicep tattoo. He existed for 10 years as tackiness incarnate, and no one seemed to mind—still, Ninja Theory's redesign managed to provoke some serious outrage.
And that's a real shame, because DmC is a fantastic take on the "character action" genre, a clumsily classified group of games pioneered by Capcom which focus on mechanically complex fighting in highly exaggerated scenarios (with Bayonetta and God of War being two of the more notable examples). Despite failing to meet Capcom's sales expectations, DmC has essentially proven itself by this point: During its initial release, the majority of outlets gave it extremely high marks, and heaped heavy praise on its visuals, which make uniquely garish colors bleed from every pixel. Now that we've had two years to heal, the upcoming DmC: Definitive Edition—due for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 10—can finally thrive in a world divorced from its former scandal.
At first glance, the changes to DmC's Definitive Edition don't seem all that involved: As expected from a rerelease of this type, it collects all of the DLC to date (while adding a horde mode for Virgil and skins for he and Dante that incorporate their original designs), and brings the framerate and resolution to the same standard as the PC version—though DmC ran at a pretty steady clip, even on last-gen hardware. And some of the changes may not be too apparent unless you have some familiarity with the original release: At my hands-on session with, a Capcom rep told me the Definitive Edition includes a host of minor tweaks borrowed directly from DmC's modding community, which up the challenge a bit with minor refinements—like making it a little tougher to parry attacks, for instance.
DmC's focus on giving fans an altered experience extends to some of the added (and optional) modes, which offer new challenges to those who've already mastered the original. Turbo Mode ups the game's speed by 30%, and if that doesn't make the experience spicy enough, you can play a variant where Dante and all enemies die in a single hit, or an even more formidable mode where only Dante is subjected to this rule. And if you miss certain aspects about the older, Japanese Devil May Crys, "Hardcore Mode" can be toggled on to make DmC play a lot more like Dante's past adventures. If you're looking for an alternative way to take on DmC—or simply up its challenge to meet your aptitude—the Definitive Edition offers no shortage of options.
Based on DmC's underperforming retail presence, it's clear a lot of people missed its original release—despite landing in one of the sleepiest months for video games, it managed to elude me as well. Thankfully, this rerelease provides a great way to catch up, and without digging up old hardware. Ninja Theory definitely made a name for themselves with the last console generation's Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, and DmC remains a great example of how far they've come as a developer. If you happened to neglect it back in 2013, this Definitive Edition makes for a great excuse to experience one of the best action games of its generation.