Devil May Cry 4 Review - 23/05/2008

Like so many games Devil May Cry makes the crossover to next gen platforms with a reputation to live up to and a lot expected of it. Does it deliver with its next gen outing? Or does it fall by the way side like some franchises already have when making the jump?

Devil May Cry 3 was one of the harder games, if not the hardest on the PS2 system. In fact it was so difficult that Capcom had to release a Special Edition so that less adept gamers could enjoy the game, and even that was hard as nails. With that as a benchmark people were worried that Devil May Cry 4 would follow suit and be rock hard. There were even reviews on release stating that this was in fact the case. However, to put things straight, this is not the truth. At the beginning of the game (after a 30-minute wait, more on that later) the player is asked whether they have played DMC before or not. Make note, this is not to offer you some rewards for doing so, don't fool yourself. This is indeed the difficulty setting option, so if you haven't played the series before be truthful and you'll be fine. If you aren't, you will likely find that you have bitten off more than you can chew.

Now to the 30-minute wait I mentioned earlier. DMC4 is a mammoth of a game and for that reason the developers have chosen to make you load a lot of the game onto the PS3's HD so that your playing experience will be smooth. 360 owners need not worry, but get slightly longer load times as a result. So as soon as PS3 owners load the game it will ask you to do this and then you must wait for approximately 30 minutes while the game is stored onto the hardrive (its around 4GBs in size). But instead of your usual static loading screen, DMC4 does something a little more useful. It runs you through the basic plot of all the DMCs so far and introduces all the characters to you. This is a good addition for players that may be new to the series so that they know the general story line. However the large loading time leads to this information being showed many times over, so the wait isn't really passed by reading it (unless you want to read it around 15 times).

Could you have any more firepower!

After the game has been loaded onto the HD you choose your difficulty setting (mentioned above) and your DMC4 experience begins. From the very first introductory pane you can see that the cut-scenes are top notch, graphically accomplished and enthralling. This is the way it is throughout the game and in fact some players may find themselves playing the game just to get to the next cut-scene, as the quality of these are just superb. Obviously for this to be the case, the story must also be very well scripted. This is true as the plot of the game itself is indeed highly interesting and submerges players with ease. The emotion alone in some of the cut scenes shows the depths to which the developers went to make DMC4 a full experience. But this is a videogame, not a CGI movie, so a good plot and quality cut-scenes would mean nothing without good game mechanics to back them up. Fret not, as the gaming itself is also top notch. The fighting system is simple enough for novices to understand and utilise to the best of their ability, yet in-depth enough for the DMC faithful to work their magic.

A big talking point when the game was announced was the change in character for the game. Yes, Nero may be no Dante but he can certainly hold his own (and Dante fans will get their share, more on that later too). It may be strange for veterans of the franchise to get to grips with the way Nero handles as his moves are completely different to Dante's, and the style you must play in also differs. The main difference is Nero's devil hand, the Devil Bringer. This can be used to grab foes and pull them towards you, latch on to foes and swing behind them, or to scale certain structures. This extendable demon arm adds a new dimension to the way the game is played and offers new possibilities for players to experiment with. Another difference between the two is the fact that Nero can rev up his sword. This is used to give it more damage power and causes flames to spew from the blade. Although this is a clever addition to Nero's fighting style it is barely required as one can cruise through the game without using it (until the later bosses that may require an extra oomph). Nero's other attacks include a six shooter pistol and, once you have progressed through the game sufficiently to acquire it, a type of devil form. This comes in the guise of a spectral demon of sorts, whose power Nero is infused with and can then unleash on his foes. In fact this new power comes from his Devil Bringer absorbing the Yamato sword that was once Vergil's (Dante's brother, who was a playable character in DMC3: SE).

The boss battles are really something to behold, but not as hard as some people have made out.

So with these skills to boot, and the ability to increase their power (this is done by finding a yellow statue in the levels where you can upgrade your skills and buy items) you begin ploughing your way through the game. The graphics are fairly accomplished and beat most of the next-gen games out there, especially some of the lighting effects in some levels and the draw distance in others. DMC4 is above all, a hack and slash game, so if you aren't into that sort then you more than likely wont enjoy this. Unless you're looking for a game with a particularly accomplished plot, that is.

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