It feels like it was yesterday when Yunchang Game announced it would be making a Devil May Cry-based mobile game, but Devil May Cry Peak of Combat, or Pinnacle of Combat was actually announced back in 2017, so it took nearly 6 years for the game to finally be playable globally as the game held a few closed beta tests.
And boy was it worth the wait. Devil May Cry Peak of Combat is a simplified version of DMC’s core gameplay with the balancing mechanics a gacha game has. The game’s fairly friendly to free-to-play players and has a lot of modes to enjoy, and while the story’s nothing too exciting, the way it presents the story mode as a continuous sequence makes it feel more closely to a console title than a mobile game.
Devil May Cry: Peak of Combat is a lot of fun, and for fans of the Devil May Cry series it’s a great novelty to have in your phone to enjoy the series’ action and modes wherever you are, and if you’ve never played the mainline titles, this is a fun introduction to the series and an engaging character action game in its own right.
*All footage and screenshots were captured from the game’s 2nd Closed Beta test and are subject to change on release.
▍The Sons of Sparda Return
Devil May Cry Peak of Combat takes place after the events of Devil May Cry 3 in an alternate universe. It isn’t canon so the developers took a lot of liberties when it came to its story, but it also means there are a few new things that you usually don’t see in the mainline games, like a lot of human NPC.
A demonic invasion is happening on Earth due to the appearance of “The King of Demons”, not to be confused with Mundus, Urizon, or Argosax. This new threat brings an invasion of thousands of demons, and it’s up to Dante and Lady to put a stop to it, while also trying to find out where Vergil is amidst this chaos.
Devil May Cry Peak of Combat’s story mode is presented through a continuous sequence similar to how it would look in its original entries. You start off with the game’s basic tutorial and fight as Dante and Lady across rooms of enemies, facing off against new foes and learning their patterns while raising your style meter.
This game doesn’t really have a main menu, rather the game’s default state is actually in its story mode when you’ll either be loaded right back into your current story level, or hanging out at Dante’s new Devil Hunting Office. Aside from that there are also a plethora of challenge modes and farming levels you can take part in, but more on that later.
Since Peak of Combat’s story isn’t canon to the series, it’s mostly just a fun-filled romp through new locations while fighting enemies. This is also one of the only times the DMC series has introduced NPCs that Dante can talk to, as for the most part in the DMC series it usually just the Devil Hunters, and very rarely do you get to see them talking to actual humans seeing how they live, let alone interact with them. as part of the game. Plenty of enemies, new and old make an appearance here, all with their old gimmicks
The game looks pretty good for a mobile game and also ran very well. I was running this on an iPhone 12 so while it wasn’t exactly the oldest device, the game was telling me that at maximum settings it didn’t even use 30% of my phone’s device load, and maintained a pretty smooth 60fps throughout while not draining my device’ battery, unlike something like Genshin Impact. The game still will run into the occasional frame dips, and that seems to be more of a problem with extended fights, suggesting some sort of memory leak in the system or issue with removing old particle effects, though this happened less and less as the beta continued receiving fixes.
While the moves in Peak of Combat don’t share the same name as their original counterparts, Dante’s Stringer, Nero’s High Roller, Vergil’s, Lunar Phase, and so many more moves look, feel, and sound exactly as it should during combat, feeling just as satisfying to use as it does in the original games, especially with the original voice files added in, with a few ommissions. Oddly enough though the game’s story wasn’t voiced most of the time in cutscenes making it pretty awkward to watch, though with how bizarre the game’s translation is, that’s not really a surprise.
The game also uses songs from the previous games, with tracks like Taste the Blood, Assault, and more playing during combat. Peak of Combat also holds no reservations in bringing in characters from different timelines and games, like having Nero and DMC5 Vergil into the game, along with variants of the base characters using specific weapons.
It’s about as close to looking like DMC as you can get for a mobile game, and while some of the new designs may look a little wacky and out of place, it’s nothing too out there for the series, at least for now.
▍The Peak of Combat on Mobile
Peak of Combat also plays pretty faithfully to the original series, adapting Devil May Cry’s core combat mechanics, while simplifying it with a couple of tweaks and additions of its own to make it more manageable on a phone
Peak of Combat’s control scheme is a simplified version of Devil May Cry. There’s an attack, jump, and dodge button, along with a skill and super attack button. This means the game gets rid of Style Switching, Weapon Switching, the style button, and unfortunately even the taunt button, and also means no lock-on or directional input shenanigans.
That might sound like a lot of things being cut, but Devil May Cry Peak of Combat has a few new additions to add to the system to make up for that. Instead of weapon switching you have multiple versions of a character each wielding a different weapon, and movesets. So rather than switching between weapons and styles, you’re switching characters, and since each character has multiple forms, you can also just bring three of them into a team. For certain characters, the different versions of them will have unique gimmicks, like how Imperial Guard Dante uses Beowulf, and his dodge has been turned into Royal Guard, with his skill being Royal Release.
The game also adds a QTE mechanic, that lets you jump during certain attacks, narrowly evading them and then giving you time to perform a devastating counterattack. The character swapping mechanic also has a use in combat, as if you can fulfill certain conditions like using a character’s skill or their entire combo, you can swap to another character to instantly use their skill for free, dealing big damage and continuing your combo.
Some characters even have unique combo executions like how Lady can chain together three normal attacks into the dodge button to do a flurry of bullets while spinning, or how Nero can chain an attack after any dodge to perform a Streak at any time. Even Vergil with his Yamato keeps his signature Judgement Cut ability, complete with timed inputs. Having multiple characters behave in such different ways makes them sort of a shoo-in for the style system, and being able to combo attacks into each other is always something cool to watch, especially if it leads to your opponent never hitting the floor, just like in the main games.
So while the game is fundamentally pretty different from the console games, it plays just well enough to be a pretty good adaption of that genre to mobile without needing you to break your fingers to get the most out of it. It’s simple to pick up with a lot of room for players new to the series, and for veterans to get a decent amount of fun out of just experiencing the mechanics and dunking on enemies.
The game also has a huge variety of game modes, including a training mode, currency farming, and “Cards” farming, which lets you slot in cards with different set bonuses, and random stats similar to artifacts in Genshin Impact. These modes all play slightly differently, requiring you to fulfill a different objective, so certain teams can excel better in these stages, and you can sweep most of them which is a nice touch.
If you want to get a little competitive with your style, the game has Bloody Palace, which has been reworked into a mode where you fight enemies from a smaller set of floors, starting off at floors 1-23, with each set of floors being harder and harder. The goal is to clear these stages as fast as possible, and as stylishly as possible to get a higher score, with player rankings tallied every week to hand out gems, and is a good place to test your skills and show off a little.
There is also a PvP mode, but as you’d expect from Devil May Cry’s combat system, it’s not exactly that well fleshed out and is pretty unbalanced, with certain characters like Vergil and his Judgement cut being incredibly powerful in this mode, and you’ll just be at a disadvantage without him. Aside from that though Devil May Cry Peak of Combat is boatloads of fun to play, and while it might not satisfy hardcore DMC fans, it’s good enough to satisfy more casual players, and just to kind of scratch that itch for character action.
If you wanted to, you can even connect a controller to your phone, to emulate the experience even more closer to its console counterparts.
▍Several Features Dedicated to F2P
While there are a ton of ways you can pay to get gems and other goodies in this game, Peak of Combat seems to have even more ways dedicated to helping out its free-to-play players, though since this is still a beta these are still subject to change.
For starters, the game had a ton of beginner missions available. For progressing through the story you’ll get shards of the starting characters, making it easy to S-Rank them and have them at a pretty comfortable power level.
The game even has a system that lets you get pull rebates, the more you pull with a certain type of currency, the more extra pulls you get in return, which isn’t a system you often see in other games. Aside from that, the game does have a pity system of 70 pulls, with a 1% chance to pick up an S-Rank hunter, and a 50/50 chance to grab the featured hunter or weapon.
It’s a system that’s becoming more and more common, especially within games made by Chinese developers, but with how many rewards the game is spewing out (supposedly up to 270 free draws from regular play), this means you’ll get around at least 4 Legendary Hunters, and are guaranteed the featured one when in the early parts of the game, if the game maintains this level of rewards on launch.
Aside from that, there are ways to enhance your characters with duplicates, and you can pick up shards for them in certain game modes, with shards for characters you haven’t even unlocked showing up weekly. The only problem is how much you’ll be willing to play DMC Peak of Combat, as while many of the game’s progression is free, certain things like picking up cards and character shards don’t have a sweep function, and when it gets to a point where you can clear these stages without much effort, it’s a shame to not have it.
Either way during my time in the beta I didn’t feel any kind of urge to pay for the title, and because the game’s also generous enough to let you try out any of its characters before you pull for them, it helps with letting you decide if you really want to go for them or not.
▍Peak of Combat Looks Very Promising
As someone who’s been a big fan of the DMC series after DMC3, I was pretty skeptical at the prospect of a new Devil May Cry experience brought to mobile, but the game has done enough to alleviate those woes, while even adding a lot of great features and things for F2P players to make the experience quite enjoyable.
Great graphics smooth performance, and a gameplay loop that’s fairly faithful to the original series, while also having a lot of nice additions and things to account for your time make Devil May Cry Peak of Combat a pretty exciting action game to look forward to, especially for fans of the DMC series looking for some more DMC content after DMC5 was released in 2019. The game really is just “DMC on mobile”, and that’s about as much as you can wish for.
Its story content might now be that fulfilling and the translation is rough, but the foundations are definitely there, and if the game was released exactly as it is now, I doubt many players would have an issue too many issues with the game as a whole.