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'DmC: Devil May Cry’: A wild ride, born of heaven and hell

The fate of humanity is in the hands of a surly half-breed in “DmC: Devil May Cry,” and tight controls are our savior.

The fate of humanity is in the hands of a surly half-breed in “DmC: Devil May Cry.”

Dante’s mother was an angel, his father was a demon and he can call on powers from both sides. Fortunately for humanity, he definitely has a grudge against demons.

The M-rated reboot of the hack-and-shoot action franchise was developed by Ninja Theory for Capcom. Fans of the series will notice a few changes. Dante’s heritage is now half-angelic instead of half-human. His hair is now dark and he definitely gives off a punk vibe. However, the most significant change involves his arsenal. He still wields a sword named “Rebellion,” but it now can morph into an assortment of deadly tools.

Dante’s time is split between the real world and limbo, were demonic forces work unseen to enslave humankind. Once the demons notice Dante, he becomes a magnet for their attacks. This drives him into the camp of The Order, a group working to undermine the demons, who are led by a nasty character known as Mundus.

It’s a wild ride as Dante discovers his heritage, interacts with a newfound friend and a long-lost brother and, of course, fights Mungus and his minions. It results in a story that’s engaging, though not particularly deep. Missions are well-designed, with a good variety of challenges and battles.

The gameplay is very good, primarily because of the cool — and effective — selection of weapons. As in the past, Dante’s basic armament is his sword “Rebellion” and his twin handguns “Ebony and Ivory.” These seem to be very satisfying until he gets his hands on some show-stealing upgrades.

Dante can draw on his angelic powers to transform his sword into “Osiris,” an impressive scythe that can cut through enemies. He can also call on the dark side to form “Arbiter,” a fearsome axe that’s great for smashing foes. By the end of the game, Dante also gains access to a powerful shotgun, grappling hooks, super-sized ninja throwing stars and bruising gauntlets. The effects of these weapons on the demonic hordes are very satisfying, usually ending with various parts flying in every direction.

The wide variety of weapons is essential to defeating the wide variety of enemies that Dante encounters. Each demon is resistant to a different weapon. Since you’ll often be attacked by several kinds of foes at once, you’ll need to switch among the weapon on the fly. In many games, that would be impossible in the heat of combat. However, “DmC” has a very well designed control system. A combination of trigger pulls and D-pad presses allows you to dispatch foes with your entire arsenal in a matter of seconds. Many other games stumble when delivering much less.

On the other hand, the graphics aren’t what they could be, though they’re not bad. They’re neither stylized enough to be cool nor realistic enough to be breath-taking. Many of the characters seem rather routine in their renderings and animations.

The game earns its mature rating because of violence and a heavy dose of crude language and behavior.

Bottom line: “DmC Devil May Cry” is an incredibly fun game that brings some interesting changes to the franchise.

Platforms: Xbox 360 (tested), PlayStation 3, PC

Online: www.devilmaycry.com

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