It's been almost an entire console generation since the last Devil May Cry game, DMC4, was released by Capcom. Since that time, the series was handed over to developer Ninja Theory, known for Enslaved and Heavenly Sword, who subsequently attracted the mire of Dante fans everywhere when they unveiled a younger, more angst-y looking version of the popular character. No one seemed to care about how the game was going to play, or what the story would entail. They only cared that this new Dante was not the Dante they grew to love over the last four games. Ninja Theory stuck their guns, though, and now we have DmC.
DmC is a complete retelling of the origin story between Dante and his brother, Virgil. They are now known as Nephilim, meaning they are the sons of a Demon father and Angel mother. Separated at birth, the two reunite over the course of the game to combat the increasingly powerful Mundus, who plans on wiping out the two Nephilim. It's a much simpler plot than it sounds, but it works to tell the story that's needed in order for subsequent games to expand on this new universe. It's aided by the fantastic characters of Dante, Virgil, and Kat, while Mundus isn't nearly as interested as he should be. The voice acting is top notch, though the script writing manages to make you squirm with a few awkward lines of dialogue here and there. On the flip side, Dante is a great, smart-mouthed character who is increasingly entertaining to watch, though he never reaches the over-the-top awesomeness as his previous iterations. Overall, the story is compelling enough that you'll enjoy your first playthrough, though you'll skip most of it on your many subsequent runs through the game.
Story has never been a strong point in the series, though. Instead, it's the combat that kept people coming back to the games long after they've finished the short campaigns. Based purely on the combat system, DmC is quite possibly the best game in the series. Dante earns a total of five primary weapons and three guns, which are easy to switch on the fly once you unlock them all. By holding down the shoulder buttons (one for the Demon weapons, and the other for Angel weapons) Dante immediately switches which primary weapon he is attacking with. You'll need to master this switching, as certain enemies can only be damaged by certain weapons. Towards the last third of your first run-through, you'll be swapping weapons and guns like a pro, and things will look and feel amazing. Quite simply: it's fun to play DmC and a large part of that fun comes from the easy to use/difficult to master combat system. This alone will keep you playing long after you've finished the game.
The difficulty of past games is another reason the series has so many fans. To help combat Dante's God-like abilities, the games have often been extremely difficult. This is, unfortunately, not the case with DmC on the basic difficulty levels, but there are plenty of unlockable modes that promise to challenge even the best players. There are also challenge rooms scattered about the levels, some of which can prove to be the equivalent of a brick wall with how difficult they are. In short, beating the game once is not difficult, though truly mastering the game and earning an SSS rating on all stages will require many hours of patience and practice, something that fans of the series will appreciate.
DmC is not the unmitigated disaster that the most vocal detractors would have you believe. Sure, the characters and world are different, and this may not be for the better, but Ninja Theory is clearly committed to what they've created here. The result is an outstanding game with one of the best combat systems ever seen in the industry, and a perfectly serviceable story and cast of characters that help support the amazing gameplay. If you haven't picked it up yet, you are doing yourself a disservice by avoiding DmC.