Devil May Cry 4 Review

This was due a long time ago. As the demo had already confirmed, DMC4 stays true to the formula in Devil May Cry 3, with numerous boss fights and focus on dealing boatloads of damage while not taking those same boatloads of damage yourself. Among the most popular (or notorious) features of Devil May Cry 4 is its difficulty, so I'll be covering that first. It goes without saying that Devil May Cry 4 is significantly easier than DMC3. I'm not sure if it's because the bosses are easier to kill, the bosses' attacks are easier to dodge, or because the controls in DMC4 are that much tighter. But, on Devil Hunter (Normal) difficulty, it goes without saying that it's a lot easier than DMC3's normal. The fact that four bosses repeat themselves along the way probably doesn't really help up the difficulty much.

As most reviews have said, the difficulty is kinda like a bell curve. It starts easy, and then gets really difficult (Dante is a b*tch to kill) and then it gets pretty easy again. Do bear in mind however, that part of this is actually attributed in an increase to the player's own skill and the player character's repertoire of moves (which you can purchase as well as mix and match along the way). For example, when you fight Berial, Echidna and Bael/Dagon for the last time, it's as if they became minibosses somewhere along the way. A quick jump back to the beginning of the game confirms that it's your skill and character that have gotten better, not that the bosses have gotten easier.

That being said, being able to play Devil May Cry 4 depends heavily on the growth of your own skill as well. While I was able to just run through the game without stopping (having played the previous 3 games before - yes, I forced myself to finish DMC2), it's likely a good number of people will get stuck somewhere. (for example, when the demo came out, a lot of people were whining about how they couldn't kill Berial)

The graphics look excellent, and it seems we've finally come to the point where cinematics of the past (think Final Fantasy VIII) are now completely executable in real-time graphics. Shadows are low quality however (it seems that the game developers and I see eye-to-eye on how shadows aren't quite that important) and can look rather weird. It's rarely a problem since you're usually too busy killing the enemies and watching the green meter on the top right side of the screen (the portion with the combos).

Most people will likely complain about the variety of weapons available to you. The main character, Nero, only uses one sword and one gun (and one arm - come on, you can't switch arms) throughout the entire game where he is the playable character. When you do get to play Dante, however, you only get a choice of 4 melee weapons and 3 ranged weapons. Not really much of a choice, if you ask me. (Although yes, Pandora is several weapons in one.) Of course, if you recall, this was roughly the kind of armament we saw in the first game - and considering this is kind of a reboot for the series, and the uniqueness of each of the weapons, I'm very very pleased.

While you don't get to choose which character to play for a given level, each level is designed to cater for the individual characters, and since a good amount of geographical locations are replicated between levels for the two characters, it's more like getting the choice, just that it's now compulsory to switch characters during the course of the game.

Since Dante can now switch between the five styles at will - things got a lot more interesting. Three unique weapons, five fighting styles. Dante deals significantly more damage than Nero. You'll find yourself taking down the four bosses a lot faster than you did with Nero. The downside? Style upgrades are expensive - and you'll find yourself usually short of Proud Souls to level up everything.

Talking about Proud Souls, I like the new system. It allows to you to reallocate your skills purchases at any time you come into contact with a divinity statue (I still like calling them God of Time statues, actually). If you need to switch out your loadout of skills - you can. Don't need that Charge Shot for this level? Buy something else. Need to get that Trigger Heart for the boss battle? Disable those unneeded Gather More Orbs and Speed upgrades before the boss battle so you have more Devil Trigger to kick ass with. Some people may dislike it, but I love the new system. (This is especially true for Dante, since you'll find yourself reallocating Souls between styles often. It's kinda a different way to force you to stick to more or less one style most of the time.)

While earning Proud Souls is no easy task - you are given the flexibility to grind. That's right - replay those easier levels to get those Proud Souls you need. When you start over in a new difficulty, your characters stay the same as they were before. Even if they aren't supposed to have Devil Trigger yet, they do - just like in DMC3. Having problem in a certain level? Get those few extra skills, health bars and DT gauge bars for the additional edge you need against that boss.

The game is now way more accessible to new players and is still filled with what you've come to expect of DMC - difficulty that keeps you on alert (although now much easier than DMC3), abilities you have to buy, Devil Trigger and full control of your character - even in the air (even the weak storyline is there XD). I'm extremely satisfied with the game, and it will likely keep me entertained for months to come.

I'd say it's a must buy if you own either an X360 or PS3. (Note that replay value may be greatly decreased if you do not enjoy repeating levels on higher difficulties or just to get a higher score - which I enjoy immensely. Now that my hands don't ache as much, off I am to finish off Son of Sparda mode.)

Note: As a hypothetical score, I suppose, with my bias, it deserves a 9.5 out of 10. Why not 10? DMC3's choice of weapons and characters way outclass this one - but there are very few games that are this addictive to me. If I were in Australia when this came out and it wasn't so close to Chinese New Year, I would've finished it the first day it came in one sitting. (I had to play in three sessions over 2 days due to the circumstances.) There isn't any other game out there on any of the three new consoles that I can say I would do the same. (Even Call of Duty 4, Halo 3 and Bioshock never reached that level for me.)