Gaming Today Impressions of Devil May Cry 4
Devil May Cry 4
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
ESRB Rating: M for Mature (Blood, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence)
Release Date: February 5, 2008
The last time I thoroughly enjoyed Devil May Cry was when the first game was released in 2001. There were few things that could compare to the game’s trifecta of graphics, controls, and action. Both subsequent follow-ups, DMC2 and DMC3: Dante’s Awakening, while important to the backstory, didn’t do much to push the series forward. DMC2 felt like a rehash, and DMC3 was far too hard for its own good. Devil May Cry 4 is the series’ first shot on the current generation of platforms and it both succeeds and fails in many regards.
Most importantly, the game handles as well as ever. You’ll dance across the screen, slicing and dicing enemies while racking up combos with ease. Button mashing is a fairly viable tactic for the most part on the lower difficulty, but by doing so you’d be doing yourself a great disservice by not exploring the combat system. You’ll unlock more and more of your arsenal as you play through the game, earning points to spend on various attacks and abilities. Capcom does a tremendous job of making even the most brilliant moves accessible with the simple press of a few buttons, although you will need to get your timing down in order to get the most out of your weapons.
Another concern that DMC fans might have is how the difficulty holds up. It’s quite effective, I’m happy to say; newcomers to the series should be more than capable of making it through the game’s 20 main missions, while cranking up the difficulty will give vets a controller-smashingly good time.
Continuing to enhance the game are the game’s beautiful visuals. The game has a classic Resident Evil style approach to the camera during many segments, meaning you have a fixed view of the area you’re in, rather than a camera that follows you from behind the back. This is certainly the reason that the game is able to look so incredible, and at times it’s worth it – the first time you cross the bridge and get to completely soak in a view of a massive castle, it’s breathtaking. But for every instance where it lets you absorb the environment, there are five areas where you’ll scream at your inability to manually control the camera with the right analog stick.
And while the game is definitely gorgeous, it feels far too sparse. The entirety of the game world is connected, so that you could conceivably run through from one area to the next (and with virtually no load times on PS3!) if you wanted. But once you’ve cleared the demons out of a room (which oftentimes look like some sort of Gundam characters), what you’re left with is a shallow room that has objects you can smash to collect orbs, and possibly an item used to solve a puzzle. But the puzzles never really feel challenging – there isn’t enough substance to the environment where you wonder, “There are so many options, what am I going to do?” Instead, you’re in an area with a clearly visible A and B, and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to put them together.
One particular room (which shows up more than once, when one time would have been too many) where you have to move a statue of yourself ahead, board game style, by hitting a dice and having the faux Nero move the number of spaces the dice rolled. Depending on the spot you land on, you might be rewarded with orbs, met with enemies, or nothing. Capcom, please never ever do another room like this again. It’s a bad idea, it was executed poorly, and I’d really rather not play Candyland in the middle of my Devil May Cry. K?
Speaking of Nero, the new protagonist does a remarkably good job of filling Dante’s shoes. He’s not quite as full of himself and is a bit too emo for my taste, but his unique traits – like his demon-enchanted arm – allow for possibilities in combat that simply were not possible with Dante.
Unlike the graphics, where you have to take the good with the bad, there’s no good to be had in the audio department. The voice acting for many of the characters (such as Agnus) is painful, and the soundtrack is simultaneously annoying and repetitive. The rock tracks and the orchestral church music do a poor job of complimenting each other, as the transition from one to the other is too jarring for its own good.
The problems, as nagging as they are, don’t manage to drag down the game. The tight controls and intense action, clichéd as those phrases might sound, helped make the game enjoyable all the way through. I’m already set to start the game on a higher difficulty, but I might just shoot the TV when it comes time to roll that dice.
Read the official 1UP Network review of the game here.