Devil May Cry 4 Review
There are some game franchises that have managed to earn a reputation that puts them into a class by themselves. Each new release in the franchise generates so much attention and hype that by the time it is released gamers already know a lot about the game. Some of the franchises like this that come to mind include Halo, Super Mario, and, yes, Devil May Cry. Now Devil May Cry 4 has arrived and it is arguably the most anticipated game of the series yet as this iteration marks its debut on next-gen systems. Given that most of you are probably already pretty familiar with the game, I'm going to take a slightly different approach to this review. Rather than cover the game basics, background, and other touchstones of videogame reviews, I'm going to concentrate on what's fun about the game and what's disappointing. Hopefully when you get to the end of this review, you'll be able to see beyond the hype and have an idea of whether or not you'd have fun playing the game.
The first thing you'll find out about the game when you start to play is that you're not taking on the role of the series' star demon-slayer Dante. Instead, you play as Nero, a champion for a fighting religious order dedicated to the slaying of demons. I have to admit I was confused at first, because Nero is just about the spitting image of Dante, white locks and all. By the time the real Dante showed up to strike down the order's beloved leader my confusion grew, especially since I was doing my best as Nero to slay the Devil May Cry series' poster boy. Fear not, all will become clearer as you make your way through the game and you'll have opportunity to get Dante's sword wet with demon blood as well. The reward for your patience is the chance to put Nero's combat skills to the test, and he's quite the demon-slayer in his own right.
Nero likes to carry an enormous sword and wield side arms as much as Danta does, but he has another ace up his sleeve as well, literally. The Devil Bringer is Nero's glowing magical arm that can reach out and grab enemies from a distance and then pound them on the floor and walls. Nero's sword, guns, and arm can all be upgraded by purchasing new attacks and combos with "proud souls", the currency of sorts that you're rewarded with for your performance in the game. The game's combat and combo system work very well, both from visual and control standpoints. The combos make ample use of most of the controller's buttons and sticks, but rather than complicating things it all makes everything feel more intuitive. It won't be long before you instinctively push buttons and pull sticks during fights without the need to pause and think about arbitrary sequences of button presses or just breaking down and switching to a button mashing mindset. The battles are a treat to watch as the extensive combo system gives you a seemingly endless number of ways to vanquish demons and the smooth and fast animations make the attacks look fluid and dynamic.
It's a good thing that Devil May Cry 4 has such a well-implemented combat system, because without it the game would run the risk of quickly growing repetitive. Even with all of the great ways there are to slay demons, there are a lot of demons to slay and you'll become intimately familiar with some of the forms these demonic beasties take. It's repetitive enough that if you don't really enjoy the over-the-top brawling in the game then you're not really going to like this game at all.