Devil May Cry 4
Devil May Cry 4 Review
Review By Steve Farrelly @ 12:52pm 20/02/08
I’ll take a little from all columns actually.
For anyone paying attention to the series, in terms of story and overall narrative, DMC 4 is actually the sequel to the original title. The game begins with original hero, Dante, bursting into the religious group, The Order of the Sword, and killing their leader. Everyone is evacuated, but hip young newcomer Nero has other plans for the religious attacker.
It’s the aforementioned style in the action sense that ultimately drives this vehicle though, and once you get the hang of combos and gaining a rank through stylish play you’ll see the fruits of Capcom’s DMC labour. The system feels more balanced here thanks to Nero’s abilities and weapons.
The game uses a mix of exploration, puzzle-solving, action and boss battles to flesh itself out. Unfortunately the only meat comes in the form of battles. Exploration is a fairly confined experience and the shifting camera angles (which are not at all intuitive in the control sense) don’t help in this. Moreover, the same-old locked doors until the enemy threat is cleared gameplay style has maintained but now only feels archaic. Puzzles on the other hand are just plain insulting. There’s nothing cerebral about anything you need to do in DMC 4 as a majority of the time you simply need a new ability to move on, or bring this item here, push that one there and so on.
Boss battles are pretty epic though, and in typical Capcom style, are completely off the charts in terms of size and intensity. The first boss you come across is a hulking four-legged demon and from here on out the boss encounters never let up. They all have a part to play in the game’s overall story as well, which sees our young hero gradually realising there’s more to him than meets the eye. It’s a bit cheesy, but I won’t spoil it for the seasoned DMC fans out there – suffice to say this is 100% Capcom narrative, through and through.
Visually there’s very little difference between the PS3 version of the game and the 360. I felt the 360 looked better, but it’s really just a matter of preference. Obviously this is the best the series has ever looked, but that’s not saying too much still. The backgrounds and art direction are more than passable, but reek of early Capcom design. When you look at the visual progression they made in the Resident Evil series with Resident Evil 4, you can’t help but wish there was more to interact with here in Devil May Cry 4.
For the most part it’s fairly bland and the environments are all fairly barren with very little to do but run through them. It’s really only in the boss battle moments the environments become a part of the game, but these are few and far enough that it becomes a note of inconsistency.
Devil May Cry 4 is definitely worthy of its place in the series and is far better than the atrocious DMC 3, but it does very little to propel the idea further. Instead of reshaping the experience, Capcom have simply opted for a more broad approach in an attempt to invite newcomers into Dante and Nero’s world. It’s definitely a fun romp, but doesn’t change the genre in the same way God of War I&II did, and ultimately those are better games even now. Hopefully we’ll see a serious shift in the DMC design ethos in the future, but for now, Devil May Cry 4 stands as an enjoyable button masher for newcomers and a place-holder for fans of the franchise.