The Devil May Cry but Not as Much as Devil May Cry Fans
I'm a little bit late on this one I feel, but there's something that has been bothering me recently. (Yes folks this is another video game post so if you're not a fan you might want to click away now)
Last year a reboot to the much loved Devil May Cry franchise was released and it led to an interesting reaction from a lot of people. Most people tended to agree that the gameplay was at least pretty decent and in most places it was thought of as great, but did a lot of these same people like the game? No. Why? Because they changed the main character...okay.
The original protagonist of Devil May Cry was Dante, a half demon, half human devil hunter who was pretty flippant with most of his enemies. Basically Dante was an undeniable bad-ass who has a penchant for showing off, being arrogant and eating junk food (I hasten to point out for the hardened fans that yes Dante was a bit more serious in Devil May Cry 2, that's not really that important to what I'm talking about here because it's the bad ass who you all love so much and as far as I know Devil May Cry 2 was thought of as the worst of the original three games) and as such it's pretty easy to see why the character would be loved in video game circles.
This that pretty basic analysis of the original Dante (and I mean REEEEEALLY basic) I feel I've done enough preamble to begin talking about the new Dante. Firstly the main problem seem to have with new Dante (just gonna call him Dante from here on out. Also when I say main problem this is the one I heard the most and is by no means the only argument people have leveled at the character) is his hair. His old mop was pure white in keeping with his direct family, but now he sports a somewhat shorter hair cut with black hair, leading to a lot of fans calling him (brace yourself for this one)...emo.
For anyone who might have been in a coma for the past decade or so the whole 'emo' thing was style of clothing, music and life outlook that was characterized by darkness and self-deprecation. A decent amount of teenagers went through an 'emo' phase (myself included) usually through high-school where they grew their hair long, dyed it black and started straightening it.
The new Dante does have straight black hair, this is true, but why does this make him emo? He spends most of his time cracking wise and being overconfident, something which is completely at odds with what is classically thought of as 'emo', and I don't think that having any particular haircut should throw up red flags about someones character.
Okay so rant about the hair hate is over, now to actually examine everything else that actually makes the character a character. Firstly the other main argument against him as that he lost his bad ass edge in the latest installment, partially due to the new visual design of his icon red coat over a grotty looking wife beater.
Firstly I want to examine the fact that his personality doesn't seem that different for the most part. As with old Dante he treats many of his enemies very flippantly cracking wise and acting like they're nothing to him. So far it sounds pretty standard and for a while I couldn't really understand the complaint, he was powerful, he was arrogant and he sounded like he didn't give a shit, but then it occurred to me that the problem was that last part.
It harks back to the whole 'emo' point. As much as old Dante was a bad ass who treated his enemies like crap he actually cared about stuff, he is often sited as taking demon-hunting jobs for people without accepting payment because he knows the client is poor (occasionally leading to him being taken advantage of by people when they send him bills for damages he caused while on his free missions) meaning it's clear to tell that he cares about people and the world around him.
Modern Dante however? Well he acts like he doesn't give a crap about himself or the world around him, this is easily seen in the opening by the fact that he clearly drinks heavily, enjoys mindless/meaningless sex and doesn't seem to care about his appearance or surroundings. So this sounds a lot like an emo character, someone who cares little for themselves or the world around them and dresses in dark colors (you know, to match their SOOOOOUL)
So why do I still disagree with the whole 'emo' thing? Surely what I just said totally backs up the point that he's an emo character right? Well it might just do that, if it persisted beyond the first few missions. Examining Dante's life and what we know about it from the story it's easy to see why he wouldn't care for much in his life. He has never known his parents, he has lived alone and entirely for himself for most of his life because he has never had a family and this would almost certainly lead someone into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, drugs and meaningless sex.
However, when Dante is presented with the chance to learn about his past and his family he jumps at the chance (Like seriously for someone who didn't care about much as soon as it was claimed Virgil was his brother he went along waaaay too easily) and from that point on he actually starts to have emotional depth and cares about the people he meets along the way. Yes it's true that the female character is almost certainly there just to be a token love interest but it's not her that I'm looking at here, the fact is that token or not she is the person that Dante starts to care about and wants to protect.
From that point on in the game he still acts arrogant, he still makes wise ass remarks to his enemies and still manages to kick a whole heaping helping of ass, but it is shown that now he has started on the path he is willing to go out of his way to help people. Even if the character tries to pretend he doesn't care or that he's only helping because there's something in it for him, by the end of the story (something I have no plan to ruin for you) it is clear that he does have morals, and does want to help and protect people.
As I've said many times before this is all my own opinion and there are probably a lot of people out there who will disagree with me about the reboot and the characters created therein but for the most point I think I've conveyed the reasons that I find the new character of Dante just as good as the old one and why I feel that the older fans are attempting to cling a little too hard to an older version of Dante who wouldn't have fit into the game that Ninja Theory where trying to make.
Post Post Rambling Follows:
I feel like I should really talk about a few things that I didn't really mention previously because I know that not all people who will be interested in the rest of the post will want to hear this.
I am mainly talking about the mop/wig joke.
During the first level of DmC a mop head blows towards Dante and it lands on his head as he looks into a mirror that happens to be in front of him. With a cocky grin he quips "not in a million year" and promptly turns towards his giant enemy to shoot him in the face a little.
A lot of people where annoyed by this joke, perhaps because they felt like the new developers were poking fun or taking the piss out of the old Dante and the old Devil May Cry series as a whole. Personally I don't think this is true, if anything it's a sly nod to the fact that Ninja Theory realized some people were going to hate the new design and where trying to show that they have a sense of humor about it. Also come on the jokes funny, seriously.
One more thing: (If you read that in the voice of Jackie Chan's Uncle from the animated series we are best friends now. Just saying)
Okay so I need to mention that I feel bad for Ninja Theory. Their first major game was 'Enslaved: Odyssey to the West' which I personally would rate in my top 10 life experiences. Not my top 10 video games, but it was genuinely a game that when I was done with it I sat there and thought about it for at least half an hour. For anyone who doesn't play video games that doesn't happen very often and I feel like that is a major shame.
Not only did that game bomb so they had to take reboot work, but now they've made a genuinely great gameplay based video game they've had huge backlash from butthurt Dante fans who hate the new look. -_- Seriously hoping that they catch a break soon.