Faithful dynamic combat, but definitely not ‘Peak of Combat’ | Review - Devil May Cry Peak of Combat

Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat is a mobile hack-and-slash ARPG game released globally on January 10, 2024, attempts to capture the essence of the renowned Devil May Cry franchise, but on-the-go, available for Android and iOS.
+Faithful to its hack and slash roots, gameplay wise +Streamlined controls for mobile +Seamless character switching added to its combo system +DMC4 like impressive visuals for a mobile game +Optimized performance 🟥Cons
-Fans of DMC may not appreciate the switch to the grindy gacha gaming formula -No Automatic Mode or Idle Mechanics -Forgettable narrative -Minor camera control issues ⭐️Score: 6/10
📖Story and Premise
Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat attempts to retell elements from Devil May Cry 3 and draws from various mainline games. The collaboration of iconic characters - Dante, Vergil, Lady, and Nero will be very familiar to fans of the series, although it’s not a strict requirement to have played any of the games. The game occupies a unique narrative space. Similar to the largely forgotten DmC: Devil May Cry, it exists within its own continuity while revisiting familiar grounds. Basically, just forget about the story of the other mainline games and just treat this as its own little pocket of alternate reality. 🎨Visuals and Art
Graphically, the game is impressive, it lands closer to the visual fidelity of Devil May Cry 4 than aiming for the more modern DMC5 visuals, although it sometimes looks that way in the character menus. Character models are actually impressive, not only in menus,and cutscenes but also in combat, and the atmospheric environments and rockstar soundtrack successfully capture the series' essence. As far as looks, they pretty much nailed it as a DMC game. The game incorporates full voice acting for pre-rendered cutscenes, capturing the atmospheric essence of the series. However, many in-game cutscenes lack voiced dialogue, I initially thought this was just a CBT thing, but even with the global release, it’s still the same way for the most part. 🎮Gameplay
The game features the classic hack-and-slash gameplay style that the series is known for, but with the addition of mobile game mechanics such as gacha systems, upgrading heroes, story chapter missions, grindy progression, and live service elements. The seamless character switching is probably its most unique feature mechanically — a current mobile ARPG staple adapted into DMC form, allowing players to switch between characters like Dante, Vergil, Lady, and Nero during combat. In an ironic twist of events, on the mobile platform known for its idle game mechanics, Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat doesn't have an Automatic Mode that was featured in the mainline series to make it accessible for more people. It's a shame because the gacha and farming-oriented progression system would have benefitted from idle mechanics. ⚔️Combat
The controls are responsive, enabling precise movement, powerful attacks, and stylish combos. You can dash, launch into the air, perform quick or powerful attacks, as well as one ability and ultimate ability. While the attack system is simplified for mobile — including Dante’s moveset which now incorporates both sword fighting and gunslinging into one moveset. it retains enough variety to create enjoyable and visually impressive combos, especially when the seamless character switching feature is used to combine characters. Overall, the combat system maintains its fast-paced, combo-driven nature. Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat introduces a rating system that grades player combos up to SSS, a familiar measure of stylishness. Despite these positive aspects, I wouldn't go as far as to say it has lived up to its rather demanding name, 'Peak of Combat.' It’s certainly not the pinnacle of the series. Targeting issues, especially against airborne units, and challenging camera control during combat detract from achieving the true apex of the series' combat experience. ⏫Progression
To advance through the campaign, players must raise their overall rank by accumulating experience points from all sorts of activities; such as open-ended missions. This progression system intertwines with upgrading weapons, characters, and stats using materials garnered from missions.  However, I find the game too grindy as a free-to-play experience. There is just too much grinding to progress even in the early chapters, and it hurts the combat of the game due to how challenging the enemies become unless you grind more or spend money. There is a gacha system that allows players to roll for character cosmetics, weapon skins, and coveted legendary movesets. Since the characters are very limited and DMC doesn’t have a bajillion characters in its roster, we instead get different variants of the four characters. 💵Monetization
Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat introduces a gacha system and incorporates a live service element into its progression mechanics. While the gacha system adds an element of excitement and collectibility, it introduces a potential drawback — the game's reliance on grinding and the temptation to spend real money for desirable items. This may pose a challenge for its apparent target audience: fans accustomed to the traditional Devil May Cry progression. However, there is a more real target audience for this title, particularly DMC fans who are also okay with mobile gacha games. 📊Technical Performance
While the game suffers from issues like targeting and camera control during combat, the optimization for has been improved alot since the testing days and my Snapdragon 888 device was able to run it on max settings without much slowdowns, with a target of 60fps. With how impressive the game looks, it’s a commendable feat to have it run the way it is on my phone. ⚖️Conclusion
Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat ushers the Devil May Cry franchise into the mobile gacha gaming space. It encapsulates the series' essence through faithful art design and dynamic combat, now with seamless character switching. However, the experience is marred by its rather forgettable narrative, combat control issues, and the grind-heavy progression system. As a DMC-themed mobile gacha game, it earns a 6/10 from me.
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