At the beginning of "DmC: Devil May Cry" (Capcom, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $59.99), demons run amok through a seaside amusement park. Arcades are yanked from their foundations, rides spin out of control and a Ferris wheel breaks loose and rolls down the boardwalk.
It's practically a mission statement from "DmC" developer Ninja Theory: You want a funhouse? We'll show you a funhouse.
The U.K.-based studio, best known for 2010's superb "Enslaved: Odyssey to the West," has been under a lot of scrutiny since Japanese publisher Capcom awarded it the "Devil May Cry" franchise. Could European designers deliver the same kind of flamboyant mayhem fans loved about the series?
A few minutes under the blood-red skies of "DmC" should put all those concerns to rest.
It's a reboot of the entire "Devil" mythology, reintroducing hero Dante as a surly, brown-haired punk rather than the white-haired emo boy of the previous four games. Dante is a nephilim, the offspring of an angel and a devil, and a demon with dreams of global domination wants him dead.
Dante has a few tools: his sword, Rebellion and his pistols, Ebony and Ivory. Holding down the left and right trigger buttons switches weapons between Angel and Devil modes; the angelic weapons deliver light damage from a distance, while the devilish ones cause deep hurting up close. Dante also has a grappling hook that he can use to bring down flying foes or hurl his own body across chasms.
It's the combination of all those devices that makes the combat in "DmC" so lively. You can soften up a monster with a few bullets, pull it toward you with the hook and finish it off with a huge ax blow. You're awarded style points for mixing up your attacks, and the enemies are so diverse that you can't just settle on one technique. And you're frequently rewarded with weapon upgrades that provide new ways to take the demons down.