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DMC Old Dante DLC is a contradiction, not middle ground

on 22 January 2013

 The Devil May Cry series dried up for me when Nero showed up. The fourth game turned into DMC2-2, especially when I was abruptly thrown into Dante's complex combat system after spending most of the game with Nero. Thanks to Ninja Theory, the DMC franchise is now in good hands, but the latest move to alleviate tension with old, faithful fans by including downloadable content of Old Dante skins is leaving the new fans wondering, "Why make the cool new Dante look like a poser version of the old one?" 

It's been a long time coming where a gaming series such as Devil May Cry should receive a hefty reboot, and Ninja Theory took it upon itself to reestablish the title in a more modern, Western vision. The initial announcement trailer shocked me in an incredibly negative way, portraying the teeny-bopping angst of a cliche under-twenty-year-old guy trying to prove something. What took place through the rest of the trailers leading up to launch was an opinion shift from rage to empathy, empathy to appreciation, and appreciation to excitement. The final push was the playable demo, which showcased the perfect blend of former titles from NT with the camera style featured in Enslaved and a weapon system greatly influenced by Heavenly Sword and the original DMC series, that left me with a strong desire to own this reboot. 

The story depicted references to the original content in honorable fashion throughout, which is more than enough for any fan without being given the same thing over and over. This respectable middle ground should be good enough, because the rest of the game is great, featuring a superb combat system and a story that, in the context of action games, delivers in a big way. However, NT is now bringing out playable skins of old Dante. This is a major contradiction of terms, considering the developer recently stood its ground on the new direction it has intended to take all along; NT has even received death threats on the matter.

In light of all this, why would NT take the time to develop a false representation of the original protagonist when the game itself pays enough homage to it already? Sales could be an answer. Certainly, there are many fans who would be willing to purchase both the game and the DLC in order to emulate an experience similar to the old ways, but this brings up the modern-day issue with DLC: if it launches so quickly after launch, why not include it in the retail version? This DLC is purely for aesthetics, where even the first DLC for Mass Effect 3 was for adding gameplay.

The need for sales is not validation by tricking gamers into buying this reboot. Even if this game is a slow burner, it'll come around. The new content is great, NT, and the stubborn fans will come around, simply because this DMC has been so well constructed in the elongated shadow of its former self. This title deserves its limelight and the old games should be left where they lie: next to the other great HD collections.