Since the Ninja Theory reboot and the Definitive Edition that came out couple of weeks ago, one can’t really say that the Devil May Cry series has made the comeback it deserved. Sneaking by the back door, Capcom is back and decides to re-release one of its best known licenses with Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition.
For those who have never played it (including myself), you should know that it is a pretty special chapter of the franchise, completely away from the timeline established by the first three Devil May Cry. Set in a kingdom where religion seems to hold a crucial place, DMC recounts the adventures of Nero, a young man with a peculiar right arm. That arm is possessed, and allows it to trigger some special grab and bashes that feel good during fight. This hand is also at the center of gameplay throughout the first half of the game, since Nero is able to use it to multiply its combos or to reach inaccessible places like some sort of rappel gun.
It all starts with the choice of your hero: Dante or Nero. The main adventure spanning through twenty chapters, invites us to direct initially a fresh Demon Hunter which is Nero or leave his place to the veteran Dante. Excellent choice on this part of the developers as both demon hunter, one like the other, are pleasant to play with, and their fighting styles are as distinct as their age difference. While Nero, with its fashionista look and angelic face, relies mainly on his right arm called Devil Bringer to propel his opponents in the air, while Dante will rely once again on a bigger range of weapons, styles and associated movements. In the end, your accomplishment will be to manage to find a way to fight certain parts of the game by matching the personality and style of each hero.
Let’s do the honor to the oldest, our demon hunter with the big heart: Dante. As I said earlier, the Devil hunter appears from mission 12 but is rapidly catching up with style which he could have already obtained in Devil May Cry 3. We find with delight our Gunslinger, Swordmaster, Trickster and Royal Guard plus a new technique, called Dark Slayer. For newcomers, know that each style let’s you enjoy different movements related to the weapons you use. In this regard, in addition to Ebony & Ivory, one can enjoy the shotgun but especially Lucifer (a futuristic weapon that blast energy blades) and Pandora, a transformable briefcase (with explosive arrows) and more. More flexible to use, as long as you use a gamepad (which also seems totally indispensable even if you’re playing this on PC), styles can now be selected at the slightest touch of a button. The trick will be to change in action to extend combos and win more red orbs to buy items or demonic stars used to fill your gauge. This evolution of gameplay becomes synonymous with more explosive and fun games, which is not saying much since camera problems are fewer than previous episodes.
Anyway, you really will not feel the challenge during the 10 or 12 hours required to complete the main adventure; this applies also to Nero. Speaking of him, our first impression is to say that he seems far less equipped than the son of Sparda, in the sense that he can only use Blue Rose (a revolver), its high-tech Red Queen sword and the possessed right arm. Nevertheless his superhero array (which will include a little later the Yamato sword) is sufficient to defeat the great bestiary of the game and multiple bosses. First you must know that this famous arm has several functions. The first is that it will grab monsters towards you, which you can then combine Devil Bringer, sword and gun to improve your combo. The second value of is using it as a rappel gun to reach new areas.
Devil May Cry 4 as a game is more accessible to newcomers than the previous opus. This is largely due to the character customization system. As said earlier, the red orbs are synonymous to buying objects but the novelty here is related to proud souls. What is it? Well, those famous souls will allow you to buy special techniques to your weapons and skills. The plus is that if you realize that a technique is not used much, it will be up to you “sell” it to recover your souls that you can then re-inject into another skill.
Devil May Cry 4 simply fails when it comes to the story
Finally, at a gameplay standpoint, we feel a real improvement from Devil May Cry 3, combining greatly speed and power, but Devil May Cry 4 simply fails when it comes to the story. Despite the new characters and a more expressive universe, the Capcom saga seems doomed to never take off on this point. In short, it is once again staging hair-raising and hallucinated choreography that mask the poverty of a synopsis spreading unnecessarily to the end, with a lot of useless cutscenes returning at regular intervals on the trivial flirtation between Nero and a wench named Kyrie. If the relationship between Nero and Dante seen more of a father and sone reconciliation rather than fraternal, it does not lead to anything concrete except a kind of power transfer via Yamato. In short, apart from a few guest star like Trish and Lady, a couple of surprising revelations, this episode does not mark the series by its screenplay quality.
The Special Edition brings all the same and a bit of new features, not necessarily very fresh, but mainly to play through the game with the visual comfort of the current graphics standards. Specifically, the game displays a fixed 1080p and 60fps on all platforms (the base game was already on PC) and make some substantial changes to the gameplay as accelerated progression through increased number of orbs dropped by enemies. But the most noticeable new feature in addition to the new difficulty mode, is the addition of three new playable characters missing from the first version. Thus it is not surprising to find Vergil’s missions, which graced us in DMC3 Special Edition a few years, or even DmC Definitive Edition most recently.
Even more surprising is the presence of Lady, the young woman from DMC3 with its absurd bazooka, and Trish, Dante’s misfortune girlfriend from the first chapters. The first therefore uses its rocket gun to kill while Trish will use a variety of weapons without the player actually decides what to do with them. So this is two ways to bring a little more to the universe of Dante, but not as far as we want it to be. Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition is therefore aimed primarily at hardcore fans of the series or just to those who didn’t get the chance to grab on the previous generation of consoles.
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code of the game provided by Capcom. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC in both retail and online store releases. The original game was released back in 2008 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Those cutscenes can never get old
• Great upgrade to 1080p / 60fps
• The extensive character cast
• It gently tease the next game
• Some camera problems
• The boss rush of the last chapters
• Having to play the same levels twice with different characters is a boring use of a universe
• A bit shy on new game additions