Devil May Cry’s Dante Will Always Be A Lovable Loser

Devil May Cry celebrates its 20th birthday this week, and it remains an iconic action series that has gone down in history as one of the medium’s most beloved. What began as an experimental take on Resident Evil evolved into its own demonic take on cheesy heroes, chaotic combat, and a sense of attitude that was both biting and campy in its execution. Hideki Kamiya has always been cringe in human form, but this excess of leather jackets and sunglasses translated into a game that was the coolest of cool back in 2001.

We wouldn’t have the likes of Bayonetta, The Wonderful 101, or perhaps even Okami if it wasn’t for the legacy that began with Devil May Cry – a game which established the blueprint for character action titles that remains unchanged to this day. Tight, responsive combat encounters, overzealous cutscenes and melodramatic storytelling, and levels that grade you on your performance are all hallmarks of Dante’s debut adventure, and how they’ve aged like a fine wine is a testament to how innovative Devil May Cry was at the time. It is and remains an absolute banger, and none of it would be possible without Dante himself.

Related: Rebuild Of Evangelion Has Given Me The Ending I've Always Wanted

Dante is a bit of a loser, and if I’m perfectly honest he always has been. The Son of Sparda is a demon hunter who loves to kill demons, both for monetary gain and to protect the world from inevitable ruin. He’s saved the world countless times over, and the human realm is arguably oblivious to how instrumental his existence is to saving the planet. This is a man who adores eating pizza, flirting with babes, and swinging his massive sword around like he’s desperately trying to compensate for something. In the real world he’d be one of those dudes who wears a backwards cap and brings an acoustic guitar to house parties.

When I was a kid, I viewed Dante as the epitome of cool. He wore a sick red leather trench coat, murdered demons, and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and go after whatever he wanted. He was both so cool and somehow lame, like Capcom was aware of the protagonist’s excess and wanted to paint him as someone to admire, but also someone you would never actually want to be in a million years. Devil May Cry painted him as a cool hero, while its sequel transformed him into a brooding goth kid with severe family issues. Devil May Cry 3 seeked to course correct, throwing us into a prequel where Dante was brash and provocative in a way that previous games simply weren’t. I mean, it opens with him eating pizza while using demons as skateboards amidst his dilapidated storefront. He then goes on to fight his brother to the death amidst a demonic tower in the rain as operatic music bellows out in the background. It’s silly, gothic, and fully aware of how dumb everything is, and that’s when Devil May Cry is at its best.

Like people in the real world, Dante grew older with each new game – partly to accommodate the arrival of Nero as a younger, wiser, yet more relatable lead character. I honestly prefer Nero, a hero that many players have come to paint as whiny and unnecessary, existing only to get in the way of Dante and his overwhelming amount of coolness. I felt relegating Dante to the background was required as he grew older, taking on the role of an obnoxious uncle in Devil May Cry 4 and 5 and becoming playable only when the narrative deems it necessary. When he’s on the scene he steals it.

Ninja Theory hoped to reboot the character with DmC: Devil May Cry in 2013, a game I still think was unfairly lambasted, but it leaned too heavily into the edgy nature of Dante’s character while needlessly poking fun at what came before it. This wasn’t a competition, you can exist alongside different versions of the same personality and each have worthwhile merits, but this was during a time when gaming was still a juvenile culture war when any major change was viewed as an act of hostility. Heck, that is still often the case nowadays, which is why Dante returned to his abrasive old self with a few wrinkles and some added trauma to help move things along.

Devil May Cry 5 depicts an older, more nuanced version of Dante who is still up to his old tricks, but it feels like his outlook on life has matured. Supporting characters like Trish and Lady are still a major part of his life all of these years later, with their own perspective on the world changing alongside Dante’s into something that is infinitely more mature. They’re still a bunch of idiots running a demon hunting agency and eating pizza all of the time, but they’re willing to care for Nero, V, and all of the other characters that have followed in their juvenile footsteps. He’s a lovable loser, and perhaps this is why the character of Dante has such staying power. He’s a wholesome representation of good that isn’t willing to engage with his inner sin, whether it be swearing, pizza, debauchery, or just being a big ol’ ball of cringe.

As the series enters its third decade on this planet, it’s worth revisiting and remembering why Dante is one of the best protagonists the medium has ever seen. Oh, and he’s also a himbo.

Next: Netflix Is Becoming The Perfect Home For Gaming Adaptations

Original Article

Spread the love
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button