Devil May Cry 4 Review

The Devil May Cry series makes it first next-gen outing.

Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 19th February 2008

Devil May Cry 4

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: 8th February 2008

When the original Devil May Cry was released on the PlayStation 2 back in 2001 it quickly became an instant hit, obviously in the years to come it was followed by two sequels yet, for me these never left the same impression as the original. Now the series makes its next generation debut, and thankfully the game has made a similar impression as the original.

Devil May Cry 4 is set in the coastal town of Fortuna, where a sect named the Order of the Sword worships the devil knight Sparda, he who turned against the dark emperor and saved mankind.

During a ceremony being conducted by the sect, legendary demon hunter Dante bursts in and kills the sects holy leader and then begins to indiscriminately kill members of the sect. A young knight of the order, named Nero fearing for the safety of his childhood sweetheart Kyrie steps up to stop Dante. While you may be thinking Dante has flipped and turned evil, don’t worry as the games story unravels things aren’t as they first appear.

You begin the game playing as Nero, who himself hides a secret from those around him as he actually posses demonic powers in his right arm called the Devil Bringer. This enables him to perform a number of powerful attacks on enemies and traverse the games environment.

Nero can use his arm to grab demons and throw them around the games environments or pound them into the floor. He can also snatch demons out of the air before inflicting massive damage on them. One thing that I really liked about this ability was that depending on what enemy you were grabbing, the move performed changed. This includes moves such as lifting enemies into the air and Nero swinging them around his head whilst hitting other enemies, to performing a suplex on another enemy before he smashes them in the face with his foot, it’s all extremely satisfying and entertaining.

As you would expect from any Devil May Cry game Nero is also armed with a gun and sword, Nero’s sword the Red Queen also features an exceed system which Nero charges up by revving the handle similar to how you would the throttle of a motorcycle. The exceed system allows Nero to perform harder and faster attacks using the Red Queen.

About half way through the game you get to take up the role of Dante, who himself has a set of unique abilities. Dante can switch fighting styles on the fly which is useful for fighting different types of enemy. He can switch between a Sword Master, Gunslinger, Royal Guard and Trickster. Sword Master allows Dante to excel in using swords while Gunslinger makes him an expert marksman and keep enemies at a distance. Royal Guard is a defensive fighting style that allows you to use enemy attacks against them and finally Trickster is Dante’s speed fighting style, allowing him to pull off dodges and generally toy with an opponent.

Dante is also able to transform into a demon thanks to his Devil Trigger, when he transforms he his able to pull off faster and more powerful attacks. Dante will stay a demon just as long as his Devil Trigger gauge has energy remaining in it.

Both characters are able to pull off impressive combo attacks using their unique abilities and weapons, the games combat system is very fast paced and allows you to inflict damage on the ground and in the air. Just like in the previous games each combo you pull of is rated and encourages you to pull off more complex moves in order to get a better rating. This may seem like a gimmick to those new to the series, but there is actually a point behind it. At the end of each mission you are awarded Proud Souls based on your performance, you are rated on time taken to complete the mission, combat style and orbs found and then awarded a number of Proud Souls that reflects how you performed, however using items and continues gives a penalty resulting in a decrease in the number given.

Proud Souls allow your current character to Skill Up, you can spend souls on new abilities that enable you to dodge attacks, or souls can be used to unlock new attacks and combos for your guns or sword. Nero can also unlock new abilities for his Devil Bringer allowing him to snatch enemies from further away.

Playing the game with each character is fairly similar, although it does seem to up the challenge when playing as Dante, as progression through the game whilst playing as Nero seemed faster. I also personally found playing as Nero more rewarding, maybe it was the new abilities of Nero’s Devil Bringer, but it just seemed to me you are able to pull off better combo’s and generally have more fun.

While playing the game, I only found two things annoying, constantly having to back track the same parts of levels over and over, and even more so you will have to traverse old ground once again when you switch characters. Gameplay while it is addictive and absorbing does tend to get a little repetitive and you will often find yourself simply button mashing instead of trying to pull of impressive looking combos.

As the series is making its next generation debut it was important for Capcom to utilise the power of the latest console and I’m pleased to say they’ve done a good job. Character models feature an excellent amount of detail and the games cut scenes have been done especially well. Environments on the large part are excellent although some seem a little empty and bland in comparison to others in the game, which is a little disappointing. For the most part human characters in the game look realistic, although there is one that seems to look a little like a Disney character and out of proportion to everyone else with chunky hands and feet?

The games sound design has been done well, although things do get a little repetitive. The same upbeat rock track is used over to signify the presence of enemies, while characters repeat the same phrases over and over during combat. The games taunt system does a good job of portraying the characters attitude with an air of cockiness.

Voice acting during the cut-scenes is top notch and very convincing, with only one character spoiling things! Yes you’ve guessed it Mr Disney look-a-like returns to spoil things, whether this character was added for comic relief sake I simply don’t know, but enjoy giving him a good beating when you get the chance.

Any established series making it’s debut on the new systems needed to make a successful one and for the most part Devil May Cry 4 has lived up to the challenge, its strengths far out weigh its weaknesses, and you should be stuck in front of your screen for quite sometime trying to pull of even more powerful attacks. Overall this game is a great addition to the Devil May Cry series.

Review Score: 8.4/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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