Sometimes when you’ve fallen in love with a franchise, it can be saddening to witness the quality drop with each subsequent installment. You saw it happen with Friday the 13th, NBA Live, and even Medal of Honor. Despite that, you’re still usually there on day one of release ready to watch or pickup that latest version, only to be disappointed and broke a little later. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case with Devil May Cry 4, as Capcom has delivered not only the goods but the gaming experience that users have been waiting for.
Capcom gave their followers the opportunity to see the world from an entirely new character’s eyes, Nero. Nero is just an arrogant young kid who knows he’s the man. Equipped with a double-barrel firearm of his own, pristine sword, and a demonic arm that adds an entirely new repertoire of moves, Nero is nothing less than a great addition to the franchise. Don’t worry though; the son of Sparda, Dante, plays a significant role as well.
This button-mashing masterpiece starts off with an incredibly beautiful cinematic scene filled with solid harmonic bliss and deep-rooted action. Straight out of the gates Dante confronts you after he’s done something horrible, having assassinated His Holiness. Nero, who just happens to be ignorant to the entire environment around him and what is really going on, is faced with the task of stalling Dante as more troops are gathered to fight.
During this episode, you’ll be given the opportunity to do a simple walkthrough tutorial that will prepare you for the new elements of the game. This is a great way to melt newcomers into the series without taking away anything from the action itself. After somewhat subduing Dante and watching him inevitably escape, Credo, the older brother of your love interest, bestows upon you the responsibility of chasing Dante down and bringing him to justice. You’ll then find yourself outside of the church and on your own with a slew of demons awaiting you ahead.
If you’ve never played Devil May Cry before you won’t have much to worry about. On top of the integrated tutorial, Capcom has added in an “Automatic” feature for you as well. When “on,” this feature will allow you to do tricky combos as well as other maneuvers that you may not have the time to memorize or perfect. This will give you the capability of enjoying the game to its fullest, without having to spend hours perfecting your button mashing.
You’ll spend the majority of the game in control of the newly introduced Nero. However, Dante fans do not need to fret for you’ll be given the opportunity to utilize the son of Sparda just as the game’s story hits the point of epic proportions. One issue that may arise from this is the fact that by the time you are finally able to utilize Dante, you’ll be so used to the button mapping of Nero that you may get confused at the start. This will quickly subside, as you’ll find yourself getting into the groove as you smash your way through the demons that are waiting in line.
The button mapping has been implemented perfectly. You’ll have no trouble pulling off some of the best combo moves known to the genre itself. Whether you’re looking to slam your demonic arm right into your opponent’s chest in order to throw him to the ground or just simply trying to carve your name into their already disfigured body, the ability to do so is a breeze. With each weapon mapped to a specific button, it makes moving from weapon to weapon an effortless task.
Followed by the easy to use mapping is the base mechanics at heart. The game controls just as great as it plays. Your movements will always be fluid and you’ll always be able to control what you’re trying to do perfectly. If you’re trying to attack to the right, you’ll surely do it. Unlike some button mashers where you’ll sometimes find your character attacking slightly off target, this isn’t the case for Devil May Cry 4. Capcom did a great job in making sure everything flowed together perfectly. DMC 4 also features a great lock-on system that is swiftly engaged by just holding down the R1 button.
Both Nero and Dante will find upgrades for their weaponry throughout the game. As you master and defeat each boss, you’ll be given different weapon’s upgrades ranging from controlling time around you or being able to control Pandora’s Box. Each of these additions to your arsenal will give you an advantage over your foes ahead.
Devil May Cry gives you access to a variety of fighting styles, especially for Dante. His styles include Gunslinger, Royal Guard, Trickster, and Swordmaster. Each of these styles offer a different approach to the game, while gunslinger is there for the firearm enthusiast at heart, Royal Guard will enable you to protect yourself more effectively from enemies.
Nero brings a unique fighting style to the table because he comes with a set of never before seen equipment in the franchise. Nero carries with him the Red Queen, which is a sword that has the ability to rev like an engine in order to execute devastating attacks. His trusty firearm is named Blue Rose and is a double barrel revolver. The most unique part to Nero is easily his Devil Bringer. Much like Dante, Nero has a demonic arm that allows for him to do some serious damage. Nero’s arm works like an extension of himself. The arm definitely adds a lot of possibilities in creating new combos for Nero to use in order to progress through the game.
One of the smaller downfalls for Devil May Cry 4 is the camera control. Though the control in general is smartly played with the right analog stick, the game sometimes places you in unusual, awkward, forced camera positioning. It causes an eclipsed field of vision that sometimes can cause you to take damage or miss a targeted jump because of it. Though these are few and far between throughout the game, they’re evidently there. Capcom could have given you full control regardless of where you’re standing or what situation you’re in.
As for the overall difficulty of the game, you’re probably going to find it too easy. Even with the difficulty mode set to Devil Hunter, you’ll find yourself being capable of breezing through without dying or possibly without even using a health star if you’re good enough. This is one of the biggest issues surrounding Devil May Cry 4. Even though it’s an issue, it also happens to be a blessing in disguise.
The biggest surprise we received from the title was the voice acting and cinematic events. The emotion and scripted dialogue could not have been any more perfect than it already was. The choice of arrogance for Nero was flawless and Dante’s humor always had us smirking while waiting for more. You could feel the emotion of each character’s outcry and they truly pulled you into their world as if it was all around you. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience throughout.
The most controversial issue surrounding Devil May Cry 4 was the install and following load times afterwards. We can confirm that the load times were almost non-existent throughout the majority of the game. You may be given a loading screen from time to time, but overall the game just blurs into the next room or into the next cinematic. So, in regards to the rumors circulating around the web that the PS3 version is hardly quicker than the Xbox 360, we can quite confidently label them as complete nonsense.
Despite the flaw in difficulty, Devil May Cry 4 never fails to immerse you in the city of Fortuna. With great innovation in regards to Nero’s weaponry the game still lacks any true change from its predecessor in terms of combat style; despite this, Capcom doesn’t come up short at all with delivering you one of the best experiences possible on the PlayStation 3.