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The new Devil May Cry mobile game is good fun, for 15 minutes

Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat is a sad imitation of a character action game
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Remember that initial promise of modern mobile gaming? All the joys of triple-A console and PC games, squeezed down onto your phone. Industry analysts quickly concluded that PlayStation and Xbox were done, Nintendo was history, and mobile was the definitive future of gaming. Well, that was the story over a decade ago, and that apocalyptic future where Angry Birds is more important than Mario never came to pass, but some publishers are still trying their best to make triple-A mobile gaming a reality.

Capcom is the best example, of course, as Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Village both recently made their way to the iPhone 15, and now we have Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat available on a wide array of Apple and Android devices. One of those games isn’t like the others. While the two Resident Evil titles are fully-fledged triple-A experiences, Peak of Combat is far more similar to other mobile game adaptations – but wait, you can use a controller!

This is officially what made me feel like I needed to give Peak of Combat a go. You can absolutely enjoy a game while using touch-screen controls, but for fast-paced shooters and action games, it’s far from ideal. I have to admit, it got me again, more than a decade later. Here I was, loading up a game on my phone, praying that it would feel like a real Devil May Cry game. And it does! For about fifteen minutes.

Relentless payment options!

Relentless payment options!

Syncing up my DualSense controller to my phone was nice and easy, the game booted up quickly, and before I knew it I was patrolling the streets as Dante, hunting for demons. Peak of Combat is even more linear than mainline DMC games, as your crew of up to three demon hunters are scuttled from combat encounter to combat encounter, with a few cutscenes to punctuate the action. The cutscenes are at least voiced in the introduction, but after that point your party falls silent and just nods along in every scene. That’s strike one.

Devil May Cry is incredibly goofy – Dante doing the moonwalk in DMC5 has become iconic at this point – but when the entire cast falls silent in every cutscene, it loses such a huge part of what makes this series beloved. Dante is such a beloved goofball, and from this game, you would have absolutely no idea why. But hey, the mobile game can lose some personality, as long as the core of the character action combat is intact, right?

That’s strike two. I actually love playing as Lady, as dodging towards foes while aerial will turn into a sweeping lunge and launching kick, where you can just keep stringing combos together to keep foes off the floor – it feels good – but when compared to any actual Devil May Cry game, the combat here is practically gutted. One attack button, a special move that has a recharge which is frankly far too long, and you’ll charge your super up too. That’s why Lady’s dodge turns into an attack: you can’t squeeze that many buttons onto a touch screen without looking ridiculous.

Nice artwork at least.

Nice artwork at least.

It’s a free-to-play game, it’s on mobile, it’s not being touted as a mainline sequel to the series or anything, so for me, all of those points are actually pretty forgivable. All I need is some dumb fun for when I’m sitting on a train or waiting for an Uber. And that’s when, in the middle of mission two, Peak of Combat hit me with a screen saying that my characters were too underdeveloped.

Strike three is where people are out, right? So, mid-mission, I begrudgingly upgraded all of their weapons and spent EXP items to level up the team. A couple of fights later, still on mission two, the same screen appeared again. Usually, free-to-play games wait to get you invested first, and then decide to bombard you with the arcane knowledge that all mobile experiences are the equivalent of placing a blood-sucking leech onto your neck and prodding it periodically to see if it stings just right. But no, no holding off here: from mission two you will be very aware that you need to upgrade and develop a bunch of nonsense stats constantly, otherwise you just won’t be able to continue playing the game.

So that’s that then; Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat is another vapid game which takes the aesthetics and surface-level mechanics of something you enjoy, and gates even the most meager sensations of joy behind a wall that either requires hours of your time, or your money. A better alternative to this is playing Devil May Cry 5 or buttering 100 slices of bread for a buffet.