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Dante’s Mashup

DmC Devil May Cry has a whole lot of angel and demon stuff in it. It’s is not explicitly Judeo-Christian, but it hews close enough that it might as well be. I mean, where else does the term “Nephilim” come up? Well, a lot of places, actually, but it all seems to stem from the Biblical sort though not exactly in the context of some blasphemous congregation of angels and demons.

Let’s, however, leave religious veracity out of this. I’m not of any sort of faith, but I find most religions to be utterly fascinating. They are so steeped in history and weave a narrative both historically and fictitiously that is just drenched with culture. In fact, of any belief I do hold dear, near the top would be that everyone should be well-versed in most world religions simply for the purpose of better understanding the world. Educational and culture never hurt nobody.

It might be, though, that I’m just a sucker for that. I find DmC to be a fantastic game. The meat of it, which is to say the combat, is simply sublime. It handles like a god damn Ferrari decked out with swords and guns and coated in a sheen of delectably awful puns. But I also found the story to be just topnotch. More than that, outside of the characters and their arcs, I found the premise fascinating.

There was just so much more I wanted to know. Sparda, for instance, has a lot more legs to him this time around than with earlier Devil May Cry titles. Kat’s past has so much potential, and this as a springboard for the rest of Dante and Vergil’s relationship is outstanding. But it’s also just the intrinsic set of reappropriated Christian influences. It’s very obvious that DmC simply continues where one through four left off, but it also takes its own slant on that set of heaven and hell and everything in between.

That, I guess, is where my real obsession lies: the remix. That’s the same reason why I like Supernatural and Buffy and Angel; it’s because they took what is an established fiction (remember: we’re leaving veracity out of this) thousands of years old and making it their own. When someone says, “listen to this Adele song,” my eyes immediately glaze over as my insides attempt to quell the fire that just erupted in my soul. But when the request is capped off with “get remixed with Sonic the Hedgehog,” I perk up again because what was old is new again.

I am just one person and my interpretations of anything—music, movies, angelic wars—are limited to what I know and what I’ve experienced in life, which is to say not much. I’ve probably seen less than .0000001% of everything the world has to offer. The same goes for everyone else, but all those other people have seen a different .0000001% from me, so when they take something we both know and turn it into something personal to them, I’m suddenly exposed to their subset of knowledge.

That’s where Supernatural excels; angels are weak and malleable, God is corrupt, and “Satan” is nothing more than a job title that’s always up for grabs for the greediest and least scrupulous of the far, far, far south bunch. Buffy and Angel set up shop within the same universe and still manage to diverge in to almost completely different directions to the point where the words are familiar but the concepts are altogether foreign.

That’s where DmC additionally works. On top of the stellar combat and characterizations and whatnot, the reimagining of what the Heaven vs. Hell conflict looks like is once again new. Just enough is familiar so you know from where it hails but it’s all just the rockets on the shuttle that take you to another planet. It’s a dark look made darker with the absence but not exclusion of the holy and divine. It takes a tapestry that I’m already familiar with, glues on some new coat of arms, straps on a few more murals, and rips off the fluff. It’s fascinating in the process and it’s fascinating in the result.

So maybe that’s why I found DmC Devil May Cry‘s story to be so good. Objectively, characters have good development and interpersonal story beats, but the use of the Hebrew/Christian framework also spoke so clearly and distinctly to me. Everything that Ninja Theory kept or altered or removed was like peeking into the collective mind of the studio. I know the spawning literature because I studied it, and it’s clear they did, too. I’ve thought about what would be interesting to change and fun to tweak, as have they. Now we’re comparing notes and talking it out through DmC. The remix is the artisanal craft of creating conversation over what is trite and hackneyed, and this one is all the way crunk.

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