The time has finally come. After all the YouTube videos, and playable demos, and show coverage it’s time to put Capcom’s latest devil hunting game through its paces. I must say that any fan of this series is not going to be disappointed, and to you new comers, you are in for one hell of a game too!!
Devil May Cry 4, (I will be calling it “DMC” from now on) is not the story of Dante, son of the legendary Dark Knight Sparda. Which I find a little odd because the name of Dante’s demon hunting business is “Devil May Cry” (Side note: if you are new to the franchise play DMC 3 to find out how it gets that name) but instead this story belongs to Nero. Who not only bears a strikingly similar resemblance to the series hero, but also uses a sword and gun just like him too. Nero is part of the Order of the Sword, a religious group that worships Dante’s father Sparda. The Order of the Sword pretty much runs the town of Fortuna, where the game takes place. That is until Dante interrupts one of their morning worships by in typical Dante fashion, that is to say “very smoothly” puts a bullet into the head of the high priest Sanctus. After a fight between Dante and Nero, (which also serves as the tutorial for new comers) Dante escapes, and the Order puts Nero in charge of tracking him down.
For the most part Nero does a great job filling in for Dante. Armed with a motorcycle throttle attached sword called “Red Queen” and a double-barreled gun named “Blue Rose” Nero can kill demons just as good as Dante ever could. Of course the Dev’s at Capcom couldn’t just give Nero a sword and a gun, but he had to have something special, and that is his “Devil Bringer.” Essentially his right arm is possessed by demonic energy and it enables him to stretch great distances and grab his foes, smash them into the ground, or just toss them around like they were nothing at all. The other nice thing is that it will also allow for you to grab power-ups that could be otherwise unattainable.
Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking that with all the swords, and guns, and “devil bringing” going on in this game that you are sure to get a little bit confused. Not so, the folks over at Capcom made the controls smooth as butter. In no time you will be able to knock demons into the air, slice them a few times, shoot them in the face, and then land back on the ground, use your devil bringer and for the final move introduce their face (or whatever demons have) to the pavement. Another great thing to point out about the controls is that Capcom did an excellent job making this for the Xbox 360. After changing just one button, (change the lock-on from the Right Bumper to the Right Trigger-trust me you will be grateful you did) the controls felt just as smooth as they did on the PS2.
DMC 4 is definitely not lacking in the graphics department. This game looks beautiful. From the underground labs, to the wonderfully detailed architecture, it looks to take full advantage of the graphics capabilities of both consoles. The games wonderfully written story is moved through some awe inspiring CGI cinematics, and while all of the other DMC games relied on darker settings, DMC 4 is very bright. From the streets of Fortuna, to the well lit temples this game definitely decided to go in a different direction.
So let’s see, we covered controls, and graphics, and story, and Nero-..what am I missing? Oh yeah-DANTE! That’s right Devil May Cry fans; you do indeed get to control the legendary Son of Sparda, Dante! If you played DMC 3 then you already know how to control Dante. His move set is pretty much the same as it was in the previous entries (which if you are fan can be confusing seeing as the 3rd DMC game was a prequel to the first, and DMC 4 takes place after the first game but before the 2nd one. Yeah-I know it will make your head hurt if you think about it too much, but I digress) Returning in this game is Dante’s style changes, Gun Slinger, Sword Master, Royal Guard, and of course Trickster.
All of these are mapped to the D-pad, which makes switching between them a breeze. Nothing like whacking a demon into the air with the Sword Master skill, and then switching to Gun Slinger and raining down bullets onto his demon buddies below all the while spinning in a circle. (Dante is so damn cool) That is not even the best part, with a new game comes new weapons. I am not going to spoil them all here, but the coolest weapon has to be Pandora’s Box. Sounds lame right, well this thing can change into different forms. There are rocket launchers, a giant laser beam gun, and the coolest is a moveable missile battery from which Dante is seated in the center, with 15 barrels surrounding him all armed with heat seeking missiles!
For all the good that this game has going for it, my real only complaint comes from the camera. You would think that by the 4th time out with this franchise the camera would no longer be an issue; alas that just isn’t the case. You are given a little bit of control over the camera, but after you spin it to the position that you want, the game takes over and puts it back in the default position. The problem with this is that some moves are dependent on how you tilt the left stick, and if the camera shifts, what once was a forward tilt, will now be a back tilt and totally screw up your combo. Another small thing that I have no problem with, but someone might is that you do a lot of hacking and shooting. I personally love it, coming up with new combos and moves to kill demons with are so much fun to me. But for those people that don’t like their thumbs to hurt after pushing so many buttons I am compelled to let them know that you will be killing what seems like the same demons over and over again.
A friend of mine asked me who I prefer playing as, Dante or Nero. I can’t really say who I like the best; they both bring so much to the table. I really enjoy Dante’s “coolness” He does everything with dramatic flair, and it is really awesome to see him pull off some of his moves. Nero, on the other hand has his devil bringer, which after you play as Dante you start to miss the ability to grab your foes from a great distance. But regardless of my choice, Devil May Cry 4 is a great game. I am happy to see Dante come to my Xbox 360, and I hope to see more of Nero (in his own game-Not DMC 5!) Devil May Cry 4 has definitely raised the bar on this type of action games, which means Ninja Gaiden has some work cut out for it. Take my advice don’t rent this one, just go out and buy it there is enough stuff to see and do after you finish the game to keep you playing for a long time afterwards.