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[Video Games] The reboot that got rebooted: The rise and fall of DmC: Devil May Cry
What is Devil May Cry?Devil May Cry is an action series developed and published by Japanese company Capcom, beginning with Devil May Cry 1 in 2001 for the Playstation 2 (Here's an advert showing it as part of Sony's holiday lineup that included landmark gaming titles such as Final Fantasy X, Grand Theft Auto 3, Metal Gear Solid 2 and... Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance). The game series began as a prototype build for Resident Evil 4 that had more of an overt action focus than the acclaimed horror franchise was known for. Rather than scrap the build, Capcom saw potential in the idea of a stylish action game, and gave director Hideki Kamiya permission to make it a full title.
Kamiya would involuntarily leave the series after DMC 1 as Capcom didn't ask him to work on DMC 2. Instead, a still-to-this-day unknown phantom director was put in charge of the game and he ran it into the ground. With less than half a year before DMC 2's 2003 release, Capcom brought in a new director to course-correct and get the game out for release: Hideaki Itsuno. In less than six months, Itsuno would rally the team, basically make the entire game, and create several features that would go on to become series staples, and while DMC 2 sold well, it was critically panned for being a very boring game. Itsuno, not wanting his reputation to be sullied, came back in 2005 with Devil May Cry 3, generally considered one of the greatest action games of all time. From here several core traits are instilled: chief among which being style meters that track the player's skill with combos and Dante having a style system that lets him use different movesets.
And it's in 2008 with the release of Devil May Cry 4, marking the series going multiplatform for the first time as it came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360, that this story really begins:
The build up to 2010With DMC 4's release in 2008, Capcom set the sales expectation that the game would sell 1.8 million units by the end of the fiscal year. DMC 4 would sell two million units in under a month, but Capcom were a bit unimpressed. They were hoping that now that DMC was on a wider range of platforms that the sales would correspondingly go up, but instead the game just saw a modest increase over DMC 3. The cost of game development had also shot up in the new console generation, making Capcom more concerned about DMC4's sales just being fine, especially coming off of huge sales juggarnauts from 2007 such as Halo 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Bioshock. (It doesn't help that DMC 4 had a very rushed development leading to the now infamous case of Dante's playable chapters just being Nero's but backwards)
Japan at the time was also in a weird place when it came to gaming. The mobile phone gaming market was about to take off, and the playerbase in Japan was already smaller than the worldwide market for obvious reasons. In the home regions, it was safer to look into handheld gaming, and while Capcom had dallied with the idea of a DMC game on the Playstation Portable (at one point considering a remake of the first game that reached in-game screenshots and box art that was quietly shelved for unknown reasons, alongside a prequel focusing on Dante's father Sparda), these ideas never left the ground. Seeing how Western markets were more traditionally concerned with console gaming at this time (and the success of the God of War franchise proved Action was a genre people wanted), Capcom's idea was simple:
Give their IPs to Western studios and let them take a crack at it, with the idea being their knowledge of what the West wants would let the games sell better. The results were mixed. The Bionic Commando reboot is nowadays more known for the twist of YOUR WIFE IS THE ROBOT ARM and only sold 27,000 units in a month, but Dead Rising did fairly well under a Capcom Vancouver branch until Dead Rising 4 happened and uh... kinda killed the series because it was awful.
Capcom eventually set their sights on giving the West a crack at DMC, leading to them eyeballing several studios. This worked out well for them in that Itsuno was also burnt out. After having spent five straight years on DMC and having redeemed its image after DMC 2, Itsuno was ready to take a break and make his dream game: Dragon's Dogma, a dark fantasy game that is very fun. It got a Netflix anime adaptation recently that is... not as fun. But while Itsuno was making Dragon's Dogma, Capcom had some time to spitball handing the series off. They eventually settled on Ninja Theory, an up and coming British team best known for Heavenly Sword (a very pretty game with mediocre action combat and a priority on storytelling), and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (a modernisation of Journey to the West that was very pretty but priotizied story over gameplay). Rumors began to circulate in early 2010 that Ninja Theory had acquired the license and would be making a prequel focusing on Dante's early days, but it would only become clear at Tokyo Games Show that year when DmC: Devil May Cry* was formally announced.
And the fanbase collectively hated it.
(* Yes that does technically mean this reboot's name is Devil may Cry: Devil May Cry. I'm going to call it DmC from here to differentiate it from the core series)
The TGS TrailerFor those unaware of DMC, I should stress that by 2010, it had a reputation for a certain flair and theatics. Dante was known to be a goofball in cutscenes, taunting enemy demons and making a mockery of them. He has an entire cutscene in DMC 4 where he acts like he's on the stage of a theatre with how grandious he is. People liked Dante for this reason, he was a breath of fresh air in a time when most protagonists were stotic, gritty jerks who only talked in curse words and gravelly shouts. And his flowing white hair was also certainly iconic.
So here comes the new take on Dante, the West giving him a go and oh... hoo boy. There's no charisma, there's no panache. The trailer has no gameplay. Dante doesn't look like a trash talker, he looks like a meth addict. He's smoking, something the DMC 1 design documents said Dante would never do as (per Kamiya) smoking is uncool. His hair isn't even white!
Now let me be clear: I am not opposed to a new take on Dante. Certainly, the idea presented in the reveal trailer that Dante is imaging the demons he fights as an acute case of psychosis is an interesting idea, as it raises the question of whether or not the demons are real or if he's senselessly killing random people. But the execution would have had to be perfect, and opening with just a fancy trailer that had no signs of gameplay for an action franchise was not the right foot to start on.
What doesn't help was that the entire Western Capcom initiative was one pushed by a very controversial figure in gaming called Keiji Inafune, who would leave Capcom right after DmC's announcement in 2010. Inafune was the one most strongly advocating for the western development approach (Something Capcom were quick to stress in 2010 after his departure), but with his departure the movement had less steam. Inafune would go on to make Mighty Number 9, a Kickstarter that went miserably wrong on every turn and is usually seen as one of the most disappointing games of the 2010s.
I should also point out here: Dante's radically different design from the norm of the series was a mandate imposed by Capcom. Ninja Theory's original concept art for Dante was much more closer to his traditional design- white hair, red coat and all. But Capcom, and Itsuno especially, were adament that if Ninja Theory were going to be doing something new with the franchise, that they needed to go off the cuff- in Capcom's own words, "Go crazy."
The developmentSo Dante got a new color palette, a darker jacket and black hair. But at the time (this news only came out two years after the redesign was revealed), people didn't know about Capcom explicitly telling NT to go off the rails, and what they saw... was Ninja Theory going off the rails in the wrong way.
So from the word go, fans aren't happy. Fans are usually never happy but I mean they were unhappy. Chief Creative director for Ninja Theory Tameen Antionades said after the reveal: “The vitriol was immediate, aggressive and relentless for the next two years. Without a second of gameplay being shown, it had been written off as a disaster in the making.” Tameen would become the ball and chain around DmC's marketing, which is quite apparent in how Ninja Theory would dial back on his appearances as we get closer to the game's release. The backlash to the launch clearly surprised Ninja Theory and caught them off guard, with Tameen publically lashing out at the original fanbase for writing the game off or being unhappy at Dante's visual redesign. This would go on to dominiate the discussions about DmC for its pre-release cycle, as it became less about the game and more about the community and whether or not the response was justified (alongside in typical internet fashion, a few death threats being tossed around which apparently included a full metal song). No matter which side of it you lean on though, Tameen had habit of putting his foot in his mouth in regards to PR:
- When asked by Venturebeat how he felt about the fan reaction to the TGS trailer, Tameen (and I am quoting them word for word here) “took a drag of his cigarette and without blinking or pausing to exhale the smoke from his mouth, said: ‘I don’t care.’”
- Tameen went on to insult Dante's original costume in a later interview when saying that what was and wasn’t cool had changed in the years since DMC1: “If Dante, dressed as he was, walked into any bar outside of Tokyo, he’d get laughed out.”
- Finally, he disparaged the original series for its depiction of women, particularly the demon hunters Trish and Lady, saying: "I've nothing against big tits - I'd rather have my head resting on a pair right now - but if you're going to try and stimulate someone on different levels, there's better ways to do it... We did that in Enslaved with Trip. People loved her, not because she had big breasts and high heels, but because she felt like someone who could be your girlfriend. That to me is more attractive than a prostitute walking around with a big gun." The idea that Tameen was dismissing Lady and Trish (Lady especially has basically the largest character arc in DMC3 and it's as much her story as Dante's) irked the fanbase.
While Capcom Japan kept a close eye on Ninja Theory’s work on DmC’s characters, story and world, its greatest focus was, naturally, on the game’s combat. Itsuno and other key personnel would visit the studio in Cambridge every few months to check in on its progress, Ninja Theory staff would often make the trip out to Japan, and in between those times there would be regular video conferences and daily email updates. All that communication helped to unify the two companies, despite a fundamental split between their approaches to game development: Ninja Theory liked to start with the visual design, and Capcom with the mechanics. Modestly, Itsuno admits he learned a lot from the collaboration; Tucker believes she picked up an awful lot more. “I learnt so much,” she says. “Itsuno would speak philosophically about how he approaches combat and enemy design. They build most of the player’s set of actions first, and then think about the things they can build to allow players to exploit particular elements of the system they’ve designed. They really put the emphasis of the baddie design back onto the player’s actions. It’s kind of obvious, but just the way that he spoke about it was inspiring, and it made a lot of sense to me.”The damage however, was long done. Even with the post-TGS revisions, DmC was facing an uphill battle from the community, with a minority waiting to give it a try themselves before casting judgement, but the majority either being apathetic or downright hostile to the game, not helped by Tameen's attitude creating the idea that Ninja Theory inherently hated what made Devil May Cry good (again, keep in mind most players wouldn't learn that Capcom were pushing for the radical Dante changes until years post-release). Ultimately though, Capcom themselves are to blame for the choices that impacted DmC: Ninja Theory were only doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and for the most part many of the staff clearly loved getting to work on such a popular franchise and boosting their studio's name. It came down an unfortunate blend of Capcom misreading what people wanted from future projects, an attempt to appeal to a Western market that fell on its face, and a director unprepared for the mass backlash his product got.
Either way, the game finally came out in early 2013.
The game itselfEh, it was OK.
DmC launched in March 2013 and got decent reviews on all platforms, getting a consistent 8/10 on all platforms on Metacritic. The PC port was especially praised for its sheer variety of features including an uncapped framerate. Critics quite liked it, praising the story and art direction, feeling it was a necessary step for the series to make the games somewhat easier to let newcomers in without facing as daunting a challenge as the games could be (I'm pretty sure learning how to fly a plane is easier than mastering Dante in Devil May Cry 4). Old Dante's most famous voice actor, Reuben Langdon, spoke on a podcast about the game and admitted that while he wasn't fond of the new Dante's characterisation, he applauded Ninja Theory's craftsmenship.
The fanbase were colder, even with the pre-release biases set aside (this wasn't helped by Platinum, helmed by several ex-DMC 1 developers including Kamiya, releasing Metal Gear Rising Revengeance also in 2013. Metal Gear Rising is a very good game that involves flipping giant robots and fighting a very actractive Brazillian man with a gun-sheath sword). The game's framerate on consoles was capped at 30FPS for technical reasons when all prior games ran at 60FPS. Dante had lost a lot of his mechanical complexity (including DMC 3 and 4's style system which offered Dante special abilities he could switch between such as more sword and gun combos, blocking and dodging) in favour of a more universal moveset. The Devil Trigger super mode was pretty lame and automatically knocked all enemies into the air, which people didn't like as it made most encounters too easy. Building up style was too easy and the game had no systems to stop you spamming the same combos over and over. The game's weapon system of angel/demon themed weapons included color-coded enemies that forced you to use the right gear or you'd be punished. There was no Turbo Mode, a feature in most games that automatically boosted the game's speed by 20% on average.
Ninja Theory still made a good action game, albeit one that needed a bit more refinement to reach its true potential. But the lack of several core features (or worse, poorly implemented iterations of said features) led to the fanbase adopting a term:
"It's a good game, but it's not a good Devil May Cry."The fanbase were willing to concede to the good aspects of the game- especially in audiovisual aspects. Enemies now got a subtitle during their first appearance, weapons getting a slight glint when the player pauses to let them know they can launch a pause combo attack, the soundtrack was now dynamic and evolved up the higher your style rank got, alongside the killing blow at the end of a fight getting a cinematic camera angle. Ninja Theory's sense of style itself was something that impressed the Capcom team, as all of these aspects were modified and adopted into the mainline games come 2019. The game was also very beautiful in places, leaving the Gothic archetecture of the main games for a more European feel in Limbo City. Madrid in Spain and Genoa in Italy are clear influences on the archetecture, and the design team adapt them well in making Limbo a city that is itself a weapon trying to kill Dante through compressing alleyways, closing off paths or mocking him through writing on the walls, Splinter Cell Conviction style. Combichrist and Noisia's collaberations for the soundtrack were also praised between their licensed work and new music composed just for the game, especially the songs Never Surrender and Throat Full of Glass.
But for all the praise, reluctant or otherwise, that game got mechanically, the story that the critics had acclaimed as mature and a right step forward had few supporters among the playerbase. There's been a lot written and said about DmC's story so I'll cap off the highlights here:
- Dante, even after the TGS revisions, was still far too crass and unlikeable. A scene early on in the game was also seen as a potshot at fans of the old games as a response to the TGS backlash where a mop falls on Dante's head, making him look like his older self, before he snarks "Not in a million years" and throws the mop aside. Fans quickly took to several creative nicknames to refer to this new iteration of the character, with the most popular being DINO (Dante In Name Only) or Donte. Fans hated Donte's personality so much that they began unironically championing the Spanish dub of the game due to his dub actor having more fun in the role, leading to people making mods to highlight the misadventures of Donté, el exterminador de demonios. Dante being changed from a half-human half-demon to half-angel half-demon also led to mocking jokes comparing Dante to the Adam Sandler film Little Nicky.
- The game relied far too heavily on swearing, with the exchange between Dante and Succubus becoming infamous for the lines "Fuck you!" "Fuck you!" "FUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUU." A scene with Dante and Vergil where the two engage in brotherly banter only for Vergil to end the argument with "And I've got a bigger dick" also went viral for all the wrong reasons.
- Dante's brother Vergil in the core series is a man of MOTIVATION who would sooner cut his throat than admit to anything being stronger than him, alongside someone who hates firearms. Entire essays have been written about how amazing Vergil is in Devil May Cry 3 and in some communities, his name has become synonymous with the rival archetype. Here, he's presented as a thinly veiled analogue to the Anonymous movement (you can carbon date this game to early 2010s in general with the Anonymous analouges and WAKE UP SHEEPLE energy), openly admits to Dante that "I'm powerless to stop you" from just leaving his goal to stop the demons, and in the most infamous scene of the game, uses a sniper rifle to shoot a pregnant woman in the chest, blowing out her entire stomach, before headshotting her. To make things even worse for the reputation of this version of Vergil (who had been mockingly named Vergin), the launch version of DmC had him wearing a fedora. In 2013. I don't think I need to add anything to that if you remember what became of the fedora around 2013.
- Despite Tameen's comments about women in video games and "prostitutes with guns," DmC was reviled for how deeply mysoginistic the game truly was. Kat (the one heroic female character in the game and the only female character to survive the game), had several far more revealing costumes planned in concept art (Alongside the idea that Kat fought with a violin weapon pre-Lindsay Sterling which was pretty cool). Here's one of the better pieces of art where Kat was planned to be a biker chick with platinum blonde hair. Kat is ultimately a vehicle for Dante's character development as he softens up around her, only for her to be kidnapped and brutalized by the police. Dante and Vergil then kidnap the mistress of Mundus (the main antagonist) who is pregnant with his child, and trade the two women off like Pokemon cards (the camera in the trade scene, linked above in the Vergin section includes several disturbing shots that linger on Kat trying to get up after being shoved to the ground), leading back to the Sniper Rifle Abortion. The fanbase got very creative with memes relating to that part of the game. Kat's main involvement in the final act of the game is just to give Dante a map of the building she was tortured in, then hide behind a dumpster when Dante and Vergil come to blows over whether or not they should rule humanity. And in the re-release of the game, the final cutscene is modfied so the last shot of the game is Dante copping a feel of Kat's ass.
Some post-launch support would follow, including DLC costumes based on concept art for Dante and several alt skins based on his DMC 1 and 3 appearances, Bloody Palace (basically a time trial gauntlet run) and a campaign focusing on Vergil that sets up a sequel hook which never gets followed up on.
Some Ninja Theory staffers didn't take the news well, especially as they knew that their reputation was going to take a large hit after DmC. Art director Alessandro Taini gave a GDC talk where he went on a weird rant involving editing DMC 4 Dante into stills from... Brokeback Mountain and Batman and Robin, while also saying reboot Dante was based on... Tyler Durden from Fight Club (for those who don't know Fight Club, you're not meant to agree with Tyler or find him a role model). Keep in mind that this is Taini basically shit-talking character designs he had no hand in making. In a hilaripus twist of irony, Dante would later in the series get a cowboy hat as a weapon. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Capcom up to this point had been going back and forth on what DmC even was- was it a prequel, a reboot, an alternate universe? They seemed to change the answer every month. But after the game's failure to meet expectations commercially, they quietly settled on it being based on an alternate universe, as was confirmed in of all things, Donte appearing as a DLC alt skin for Dante in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.
(While I'm on the topic of weird fighting game trivia, Donte actually also got a full fighting game appearance in the "classic," Playstation All Stars Battle Royale as an attempt to market DmC ahead of its release. Yes, Donte technically didn't even debut in his own game. This story is so weird to me! In the trailer he even fights the protagonist of previous Ninja Theory game Heavenly Sword)In 2015, Capcom re-released the game for the new consoles as DmC: Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition. This was largely helmed by the Capcom team in Japan who modified the game to make it more in line with DMC's series standards of gameplay. And you know what? It's really good! Genuinely, it actually makes the game and takes it from "A good attempt" to "one of the best Western attempts at action games period." 60FPS on consoles, all DLC included, Turbo Mode was back, a new mode called Must Style where you have to get an S Rank in combos before your attacks do damage, all alongside an insanely detailed changelog penned by Rahni Tucker. The one downside? It never got released on PC for unsaid reasons, presumably that most of the new gameplay additions... were based on mods made by the PC fanbase. Mods you can no longer find as the site storing them has gone down.
However even with this, DmC would get sand in its eye one more time. In the same year, Capcom released a similar re-release of DMC 4 called Special Edition. It was far more bare bones than DmC: DE, only adding three new playable characters in Lady, Trish and MOTIVATION Man himself, Vergil. Despite the game only getting a physical release in Japan and being digital only here in the West (whereas DmC: DE got a full release), Capcom eventually said that DMC 4 SE obliterated the DE in sales, with Capcom specifically saying that 4SE's digital sales led to a better quarter in 2015 than they were anticipating. As of 2020 (due to Capcom counting their re-releases of games separately than the original release when it comes to sales), we know that DMC4SE has sold 1.5 million units, while DmC: DE sold 1.1 million.
However, ultimately, I'm very joyful to admit that everyone got a happy ending! No, literally, everyone came out of this for the better. Ninja Theory in 2017 would release Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, a critical and commerical darling made on a self-styled "AA" budget that was praised for its handling of mental health through the lens of its MC Senua. It made its budget back easily, they're now owned by Microsoft and they're currently working on a sequel called Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. Capcom would bounce back from their slump in the Early 2010s, beginning in 2017 with the releases of Resident Evil 7, Monster Hunter World and a certain title I'll mention in a minute. They've been releasing hit after hit for the last four years and they have more on the horizon. And Itsuno, now having made Dragon's Dogma, came back raring to go with more Devil May Cry. Though there are some rumors by Dante's voice actor that he had to threaten to leave Capcom to get it, at E3 2018 as part of the Microsoft panel, Itsuno took to the stage and announced:
"DMC IS BACK!!!"
(Watching people react to this trailer and freaking out when they see it's DMC gives me so much serotonin)
Thanks for reading this... long disaster of a post. Have a good one, and remember to keep this party crazy. Let's rock. :)
Additional reading if you'd like more words on this reboot:
HTC Cosmos vs Oculus Quest 2
Review: HTC Cosmos vs Oculus Quest 2So, frustrated with the tracking on the inside-out tracking HTC Cosmos, I decided to purchase the Oculus Quest 2. Originally I had intended to get an index, but the quest 2 was there, cheap, and had a good no questions return policy if it sucked. So I thought, hey, just for lols, why don't I see if a $300 HMD can beat HTC's $700 Cosmos.
TL;DR I'm not buying an Index anymore and I'm yeeting the Cosmos to the trash whence it belongs (and never buying HTC again). The Quest 2 is less than half the price and all around better than the Cosmos.
Here are my observations after 2 weeks of daily play.
CostBear this in mind as you read my review.
The Cosmos cost $700 for the wired base unit. A wireless adapter would add another $300-$400 making a wireless Cosmos (with inside-out tracking) cost over $1000
The Quest 2 costs $300 BUT in reality you will want to get virtual desktop for $20 (devs gotta get paid for doing the Lord's work), and some comfort mods like a new strap and fit kit for $50-$100. So, in practical terms, butget $420 for the Quest 2. If you have an OG vive, then you can transfer the strap easily with a bit of ghetto work and have a much more comfortable experience. You will NOT need to get the expanded storage version of the Quest 2
TrackingHoly hot dicks from hellm, Batman. The difference is night and day.
With the Cosmos, the (idiotic) use of visible light tracking meant that I could only play during certain times of day when it wasn't too bright or too dark outside and, even when the Cosmos was happy about the ambient light levels, 50% of the time I'd end up quitting games like Beatsaber out of sheer frustration with the Cosmos' controller tracking stuttering, drifting, or just totally freaking out - the latter especially during fast songs that involved right-left crossovers or hitting high up targets.
With the Quest I have only lost tracking ONCE when I forgot that I was using inside out tracking and tried to pull a manuver with one hand behind my back. Still not as good as outside in tracking, but DAMN it actually feels good. Expert level songs on beatsaber that were impossible on the Cosmos I can now reliably get through with an A grade (and even gort my first expert S-grade!) - really the handicap of the cosmos was absurd! And gun games like AZ Sunshine are actually playable! I suspect my accuracy would still be better on the Index, but dang, playable vs not makes a difference!
DisplayThis depends on whether you prefer crispness & clarity (quest) or color depth & vibrance (cosmos). For me, the Quest's wider sweet spot (unless you have really non-standard IPC) combined with the higher resolution makes a big difference, although that comes at the cost of the Cosmos' deeper blacks and better low-light contrast. The Quest's higher resolution, however, makes reading text and even using the virtual desktop MUCH nicer. It's still not good enough to be used as a monitor replacement (honestly, no HMD is close to that right now), but it is like a breath of fresh air for my eyes overall.
Of note is that the Quest 2 does have more light leakage. I'm pretty sure Oculus is selling the HMD at close to coset and expecting to make up the revenue by selling things like their $40 fit kit, which is a bit annoying. It's not too bad, however, and I'm content to wait for a third party to make a $15 alternative.
Battery LifeThis is honestly a bit of a wash but a slight edge to the Quest. Where the Cosmos' 2 controller batteries will be flat after 2 hours (and performance dipping after 60-90 minutes), the Quest's single controller batteries are still showing 100-freaking-percent after 2 weeks. To me this underscores how stupidly the engineering team at HTC were managed. Worse tracking and massivelly worse battery life than simple IR yet they pushed ahead with it anyway? Ack.
Now, obviously the flipside is that the Quest's HMD has it's own 2 hour battery life to contend with, but charging one thing rather than 4 AA batteries inbetween usages is a quality of life benefit to me.
Pick up and playHuge win for the Quest here. With the Cosmos I had to bring out the cable, take the 4 AA batteries out of the charger and put them in controllers, then turn it on and close out HTC's bloatware that always seemed to want to take the spotlight from Steam VR. With the Quest 2, I just unplug the USB charger and put it on. Heck, if I'm playing a game that's on the HMD itself, I don't even need to turn my computer on.
Latency (i.e. wireless virtual desktop)I've mentioned virtual desktop, thje $20 app that IMO you will need to buy to really get the most of the Quest 2. Obviously, playing wirelessly introduces some latency, however the good news is that with a good-enough 5Ghz AC or AX router, it's not actually all that noticable in fast games like Beatsaber (where the better tracking MORE than makes up for it) and in normal paced games I can't notice it at all! I haven't used HTC's expensive wireless adapter, so can't really compare, however I suspect HTC's solution should give less lag (especially since it costs as much as a Quest 2!).
Where lag does happen, it tends to be when it's hot (I live in socal) and my AC (not AX) router is possible thermally throttling? It's usually minor, like a split second stutter but this is far less frequent that the Cosmos' tracking issues and tends to be less intrusive than seeing your left hand drift off into the distance while everything else is still coming at you.
Wifi-6?Out of curiosity I tried running an access point using Huawei's $70 wifi 6 router. TBH while average latency was lower, the variance was higher causing more stutters. I returned the router and just run it from a 5Ghz chanel on my existing router and that works fine. I suspect a decent AC router simply has better processing power than a cheap AX router does. I'm not sure how Virtual desktop would run on a cheap AC router. Do you need to buy a new router? Possibly if you have some ISP-provided junker or a 2.4ghz router, so factor that into the cost of the Quest. Of course, getting a better router will give you other benefits outside of VR, so even a $300 Quest 2 + a better $200 router would be a much better package than a Cosmos alone. I plan to get a good wifi 6 router on black friday if there is a good deal. If not, eh, I'll just stick with my current one which is working fine.
The Oculus storeThis one is interesting. Unlike HTC's store, which I never used because Steam seemed to always have better prices and more convienient content management, I have acutally used the Oculus store since is obviously not as good as Steam, but you can use both - get games that you want to have max graphica like AZ Sunshine on Steam and play via virtual desktop. Games with low graphical requirements that you want minimum latency and maximum portablility (e.g. Pistolwhip) on the Oculus store. Sure it sucks that you can't sideload your Steam library, but for obvious reasons a fully loaded x86 game wouldn't exactly play will on the Quest 2 even if you could!
That being said, Quest native games have much loser graphics than games you can play over virtual desktop and they don't seem to offer cross play between consoles, so I plan to have a few games on the Quest 2 and play everything else via virtual desktop.
PortabilityWireless Quest 2 that can (optionally) house its game library independent of a computer or a wired HMD that needs to be connected to a powerful PC. Need I say more?
ComfortThis is where the stock Cosmos beats the stock Quest 2. The Quest 2's stock strap is functional, and a nice option for portability (I mean, you can put the whole kit in a small backpack!) but for daily and extended plays it's worrth either inesting in a "franken quest" setup or getting one of the enhances straps for $40-$50 (there are now third party ones on Amazon).
Without the Frankenquest mod It's say the lighter weight and wirelessness of the Quest makes up for the dainty strap, so it's a bit of a wash.
With the Frankenquest mod The Quest 2's lightness and lack of a cable make it far more comfortable, even with the stock fit kit.
One lingering thing, though is that for sharing the Quest 2's cushon material is prone to asorb all of you face juices, so, if you intend to share it around, get a $10 silicone cover from Amazon.
Zuckerberg's Voyueristic Tendencies.Perhaps it's no surprise that after getting brought by Facebook, Oculus' tracking technology got eerily good. Having to connect to your facebook account (or jailbreak the bastard) is a downer, and you'll need to consider if you're okay with some Facebook analyst watching you fap to VR porno if that's your thing. Personally, I'm not so bothered, and with GDPR you can always go Karen mode and demand that they delete all of your data when you're ready to move on. Note that doing so will remove your purchases in the Oculus store, so, again, virtual desktop is the way to go. And, hey, if VR porn is your thing, I'm pretty sure the HP Reverb's higher resolution + lack of a Facebook worker watching you from the corner of the room should be a consideration for you.
For sharability, there is some screwy stuff with Quest's account schenanegans but remember, if you want to have a VR party you could just buy two Quest 2 units for the price of a single Cosmos. If you want to go wireless, you could get three!