Title: Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition
Platform: PC, PS4 (reviewed) and Xbox One
Release date: 23 June 2015
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Devil May Cry 4 first saw a release way back in 2008 and was the first game of the franchise to appear on then current-gen PS3 and Xbox 360. The game featured two playable characters, which was a first for the Devil May Cry franchise. In the Devil May Cry universe, this game actually takes place between the events of the first and second games. The game did pretty well by selling three million copies worldwide and became the series’ best selling title; which could be a reason to justify a remastered version of this game. Let’s take a look to see if Devil May Cry 4 still holds nearly seven years later.
Unlike other DMC iterations, this one features another white haired demon hunter called Nero. Nero works for The Order of the Sword that worships the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda (Dante’s father). As he arrives to the Opera House to watch his love, Kyrie, perform, he witnesses Dante murdering Sanctus, the Order’s high priest. Nero confronts Dante and (surprisingly) overwhelms him. Following the fight, Credo, Kyrie’s brother, orders Nero to hunt down Dante; who fled the scene after the fight, but not before leaving a bit of interesting information: The Holy Knights he had killed prior to Nero’s arrival were true demons.
This special edition lets players choose which adventure they’d like to tackle first: Nero/Dante, Trish/Lady or Vergil. The original game only featured the Nero/Dante story. Choosing the latter path will give you the chance to play as two visually similar characters, but whom have very different play styles. Nero is basically a younger version of a grey-bearded Dante. Same dickhead attitude and brash comments. He is, however, a bit faster and easier to use. His right arm has a few powers of its own as he can grab and throw enemies; he can also zip from predefined targets when pressing the shoulder button. Nero has his trusty sword and gun to help him rid the world of demons.
As with any other game in the franchise, one of the key aspects of the gameplay is how stylish the combos can be. This mechanic encourages players to learn and try new skills instead of simply button mashing or shooting away at your enemies. Buying new skills (more on that below) will be of a great help to reach that elusive high combo score.
Luckily, every playable character has a different feel. While Nero is a bit quicker, Dante is a bit more slow and feels a bit more powerful. As Nero or Dante, it’s still fun as hell to rip enemies to shreds in demon form. Vergil feels a bit more like Dante, however he has a completely different move set and is also gun-less. He has a similar skillset that he has in Ninja Theory’s DmC: Devil May Cry. Surprisingly, Lady feels like a tiny tank. Despite her small stature, her attacks are slow and brutal; quite logical seeing as her melee attacks are done with a huge bazooka but it’s also harder to reach a “S” combo style. Firing from said bazooka does a bit of damage and a small explosion. Finally, Trish has similar sword skills as Dante, but also mixes up melee attacks with kicks.
After each mission, you are graded on three aspects: Time, Red Orbs Collected and Style. You’re also penalized if you use items such as Green Star (to regain some health) or Gold Orbs (giving you the opportunity to continue after death). The faster you get through the level, the higher your score is. Without having the game tell you what to do next, besides simple hints, you’ll have to think quick in order to attain a “S” rank. Seeing as collecting Red Ords is vital in obtaining a high score, exploration is key. Running around levels, killing enemies and destroying destructible items will drop Red Orbs. Not only do they help your score, but they can be used to purchased usable items at Golden Statues peppered across the game’s levels or between missions. Pricing increases every time you buy items at the Statue meaning players need to scavenge thoroughly every level in order to find as many Red Orbs as possible to afford items.
Completing missions will also get you Souls which can be used to gain new skills for all characters and have variations and gain stronger attacks. Collected Souls and Red Orbs are spread across all characters. So if you purchased Green Stars (regenerates health) with Dante, you’ll be able to use them with Vergil or Lady. Obviously, the skills purchased aren’t sharable as they are unique to each character.
Another DMC staple returns: Secret Missions. Hidden throughout most of the game’s mission are Secret Missions which challenge players in order to obtain a Blue Orb fragment which will increase your character’s health after finding four of them. Missions can be as simple as killing every enemies in a given time frame or executing a specific combo a set number of time.
While some levels are pretty straightforward as you make your way from point A to point B, others are a huge pain in the ass. It’s either because the sometimes fixed camera can be confusing and lead you down the wrong path, or you’re tasked of solving an annoying puzzle in order to reach the boss or next chapter. Also some missions require some backtracking in order to progress. You’ll sometimes need a new weapon in order to complete a puzzle, but in order to get that item, you pass right in front of said puzzle and then have to come back in the following mission. Also, the fact that Dante’s part of the story features a lot of similar stuff you played as Nero is a huge bummer.
All 3 character path are available from the start. No need to unlock them. You can start off with Vergil; after a few chapters, go back to the chapter’s menu and you can start playing the Trish/Lady story and after a few chapters continue Vergil’s path or start Dante/Nero’s. This is quite interesting as it can let players experience everything from the start and alternate between stories if they get stuck (or bored). Which *would* be pretty awesome if all 3 paths weren’t the exact same missions.
The game’s cinematics could be put together to form an awesome action movie. With bits of dialogue and action scenes that could even make John Woo envious, you’ll be entertained. Unfortunately, while Capcom was busy adding in-game content like additional characters and a Legendary Difficulty, the game’s visuals aren’t a huge improvement from its last-gen counterparts. Even the added content looks good, but no “wow factor” like we’re getting used to during this current-gen. Sound-wise, it’s what you expect from an “old-school” Devil May Cry game: creepy, atmospheric theme when exploring the beautiful gothic environments and a bit more hard rock/metal tracks when the action kicks in. The game also features a semi fixed camera; in bigger areas, players can control the camera with the right joystick; whereas smaller corridor-like areas feature a fixed camera, which will cause the inevitable: confusion as to where to go next and cheap back attacks.
Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition is the perfect example of a double-edged sword as far as remasters go. Even in the PS3/Xbox 360 era, developers were still making old school games; There were no checkpoints and definitely no ‘save anywhere’ function. So although this type of remaster will most likely cater to the “older” generation of gamers, new gamers who were born with the Call of Duty games of this world might be a bit turned off by some archaic mechanics. Annoying backtracking and constant loading are annoying traits; the latter could’ve been addressed in order to make the experience more enjoyable. With the current-gen where loading is almost non-existent, playing Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition with its frequent loading is annoying.
Now, I’m not saying Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition is a bad game. Far from it. It’s a great action game filled with content up the wahoo which will challenge players over and over with new characters and a way harder difficulty setting. That being said, depending on the era of gaming you’re used to, your enjoyment of the game will vary. If you like games with more of an old school flair without the hand holding and constant saving, you will love this one. But if you’re a younger who appreciates games where you’re told where to go and what to do, you might get fed up with DMC4. However, for those up to the challenge will revel in it.
What Rocks! :)
- Great combat
- Kickass cutscenes
- A few awesome boss fights
- Each playable character feel different
- Lots of replay value….
What Sucks :(
- …except you’re playing the same game 3 times
- Oh dear god the loading
- Pain in the ass backtracking
- Some boring level/puzzle design
- Problematic fixed camera in smaller areas
Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition is rated M due to the presence of blood, foul language, sexual themes and violence. Might not be a good idea for the little ones in the family but a great game for adults of the house to play at night after a hard day of work.