Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Devil May Cry 4

Devil May Cry 4 was an excellent hack and slash, Ninja Gaiden-esque game. That is not to imply that the Devil May Cry series did not do the style of gameplay first. However, the reason I refer to Ninja Gaiden in this type of game is because I had very limited exposure to the Devil May Cry series and played boat loads of Ninja Gaiden. With that being said I begin my review.

Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay. This game definitely excelled at excellent gameplay mechanics that combine a skill-based combat system with good evasive maneuvers.

Nero contributes to the action in a new way with his Devil Arm. Mash the B Button for a variety of satisfying grabs and throw your enemies all around the place. Nero’s sword, the Red Queen, also has a new Exceed system. The Exceed system allows you to power up your sword with the left trigger up to three levels of power. Later in the game, you receive the ability, with a very perfectly timed swipe of the left trigger, to fully charge your exceed meter immediately after attacking. This adds a new timed mechanic to gameplay and enables your attacks to hit harder, hit faster, and to unlock more elaborate versions of the moves you previously had by utilizing the Exceed system. Nero’s pistol is somewhat disappointing to fans of the guns in the old Devil May Cry games, but fully upgraded, the double barreled revolver can pack a punch.

Dante is also back and better than ever. I had the pleasure of re-visiting Devil May Cry 3 to keep me reminded of the story. Dante has all his basic styles from the older games, Trickster, Swordmaster, Gunslinger, and Royal Guard. In addition to the four older styles, Dante receives Virgil’s style, Dark Slayer, when he receives his brother’s sword, Yamato. I would refer as to how he receives this sword, but that’s called a spoiler. Dark Slayer adds some nice variety to an excellent system already. In the older DMC’s, you had to get to a golden statue to switch between your styles, but now in DMC4, you are able to change through the styles on the fly with the direction pad. It’s always fun to chop them up and blast them back with Swordmaster, teleport to them with Trickster, activate Dreadnought with Royal Guard, perforate their body with bullets in Gunslinger, then release the final blow with Dark Slayer. The options are limitless in the ways you can chain between the advantages of the different play styles.

I wasn’t expecting much from the graphics. I have been skeptical about companies that did PS2 games and upgraded the graphics and some gameplay to make a next-gen title. Capcom blew my expectations away. Maybe DMC4 doesn’t look as nice as say, Mass Effect, but it sure does get better framerates. DMC4 runs smoother than most of the games I have experienced on 360 and PS3. The only time I ever received any slowdown was during the fire lord, Berial’s, fire blast wave of death. The cinematics were also very well done. Capcom apparently hired several extra people for the production of the many cinematics for DMC4. The effort definitely showed in the final product. The graphics were a very distinct Japanese style befitting of the older DMC games while keeping a smooth framerate and some stunning visuals.

The story was excellent. I will not reveal the basics of the storyline, but I was disappointed you never REALLY found out why Nero had his Devil Arm. If you were a fan of the older DMC games, then you know who Nero’s power imitates, and that’s some story in and of itself.

All in all, I give Devil May Cry 4 an 8.8/10.
The only negative points to this game are the skill required to fully beat it with all the achievements and the terrible shoddy camera system that is as old as the monolith.

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