Dani revisits the world of DmC because Capcom won’t
Reboots can be wonderful things. Take Tomb Raider in 2013, for example: It let Lara Croft become a serious protagonist away from the voyeuristic, Playboy trappings she went through in the ‘90s. Reboots give old games a chance for beloved characters and worlds to become relevant once more. Unfortunately, Ninja Theory’s
Devil May Cry reboot, DmC, didn’t fare as well. Capcom trusted it with its nichebut-stylish action series in an attempt to revitalize it. Focusing on a young, punkish Dante as he fights demons, it was critically very well received. Series fans, however, weren’t as pleased.
This new, brunette take on Dante was too different from the white-haired original, so received a backlash because of it. The game also suffered because it came out right near the end of the last generation of consoles when people were already looking to the Xbox One, so it didn’t sell as well as expected. Capcom has now dropped this rebooted world, completely sweeping it under the rug in favor of Devil May Cry V— a continuation of the original story. I haven’t forgotten this unappreciated gem however, so I’ve decided to return to its world to see what gamers are losing out on.
Limbo City, the place where the majority of the game is set, has a New York-like feel to it thanks to the architecture, but it’s even more dank and run down. The streets are covered in graffiti, and you’re continuously watched by CCTV cameras. It’s got the airs of a formally grand place that has fallen into disrepute, which is fitting considering the game is about dealing with the demons who have overrun the joint.
There are areas of brightness and frivolity such as Bellview Pier which houses the Funland Carnival, but there’s a gaudiness to it. Again, that brash sense of taste fits the world perfectly
“Food ads become messages that extol the virtues of gluttony”
even if it isn’t pleasant—this is a place of excess and sin. The new Dante fits right in with his arrogant attitude and cheeky, punkish swagger. Instead of the original’s ancient castles, this is a modern city for a modern hero full of modern evils like consumerism. It makes for a more grounded, realistic experience compared to the older games, as the environment is so relatable even if it is a fantastical farce.
But where the game shines brightest is in its Limbo sections, where you’re pulled into an alternate dimension that sits just alongside the human one. Full of demons, it’s a twisted place where buildings jut out at odd, broken angles, and adverts show their true colors—food ads become messages that extol the virtues of gluttony, for example. It’s a neat shift that showcases the depths of manipulation of the masses by the demons in control. The whole place can change unexpectedly around you as it’s completely under big bad Mundus’ full control. That constant shifting of the environment demonstrates just how strong the grip that demons have over Limbo and Limbo City really is.
Being the son of a demon and an angel, Dante gets to see the city from a unique perspective, unlike its ordinary citizens, who mill around a bit brainlessly, subconsciously broken by their surroundings. Again, this feels very much like it’s on purpose as most of the city’s occupants are under demon control, be that through pop drinks made from monster secretions or just the daily grind of constantly being watched by the unblinking eyes of the CCTV network.
It’s a shame we’ll probably never revisit Limbo City and its young Dante again, now that Capcom has returned to its older timeline. The city feels far more in keeping with the world and new lore that DmC was creating—it’s a brilliantly designed location that deserved better than the hand it was dealt. It’s an important slice of gaming history, and well worth visiting before it vanishes from people’s memories forever. You can see more of Dani’s gaming travels on Instagram: @daniellamlucas.