Devil May Cry 4 Updated Hands-On

We romp through the first five levels of Devil May Cry 4 with new series hero Nero, as well as take control of old-school Dante in our latest play through.

In the past year, we've had plenty of hands-on time with Capcom's Devil May Cry 4, but most of that has been in non-linear chunks that haven't really allowed us to get to grips with the storyline and how newbie Nero gets to replace veteran Dante as the series hero. But we recently got an early Christmas present in the form of full review code for the PlayStation 3 version of Devil May Cry 4, and we can now report just exactly what goes down in first five levels of the game.

The opening cinematic of Devil May Cry 4 shows Nero--hiding his Devil Bringer arm in a sling--running through the streets whilst battling a group of demons. His destination is a large church where the Order of the Sword is having a meeting-cum-recital, with Nero's beloved Kyrie singing up an operatic storm. But just as Order leader Sanctus takes to the podium, Dante--the hero of the previous three Devil May Cry games--bursts in through a glass ceiling Batman-style and promptly pops a cap in Sanctus' face. This, of course, sends the Order into a frenzy, and it's at this point that you get to take control of Nero--apparently a member of the Order of the Sword himself--as he tries to take Dante down.

Frontal attacks are NOT cool with this opponent.

This opening one-on-one fight serves as a tutorial, where players are introduced to Nero's various moves, having to perform them properly before moving on (execute three jumps, roll-dodge successfully three times, and so forth). After you've dealt enough damage to Dante, the game cuts to another cinematic where Dante flees before reinforcements from the rest of the Order arrive to help Nero. It seems poor Sanctus is well and truly snuffed out, and the Order's second-in-charge Credo orders Nero to track down the assassin, who is apparently heading towards Fortuna Castle.

The end of the first level was also our first glimpse of Devil May Cry 4's level-up system. Just as in previous games in the series, red orbs collected throughout a level can be used to buy items such as health stars or even increases in Nero's life bar. Proud Souls--allocated at the end of each level--are what are used to upgrade abilities for Nero and his various weapons (the Devil Bringer arm, the Blue Rose revolver, and the Red Queen sword).

The second level of the game is the same one which has been demoed several times already in the previous year, and is the one which sees Nero traversing city streets, a wharf area, and finally ending up in a boss battle with a massive fiery boss named Berial. This boss battle is a great example of the effectiveness of Nero's Devil Bringer arm, particularly the Snatcher ability which allows him to grab enemies from afar as well as launch himself at distant targets. In general gameplay, the Snatcher worked best when staying away from mobs of enemies, grabbing one from a distance, and pummelling them before repeating the process with another hapless opponent. In the first boss battle, we found using the Devil Bringer arm to propel Nero to the back of Berial's head in order to avoid his sweeping, long range attacks an extremely useful tactic.

Glimpses of the third level have been seen previously, including the snowy mountainside where Nero takes on two ice wolf-like creatures and his first meeting with the butt-kicking (not to mention extremely anatomically enhanced) Gloria. After this, Nero heads inside Fortuna Castle itself, which serves as a hub area of sorts for the next few levels of the game. The interiors of Fortuna will be familiar to veterans of the Devil May Cry series, and features the same dark hallways, open cathedral-like spaces, and gothic look which has become a hallmark of the previous games. After dispatching a few enemies, players will run across the first "puzzle" of the game, a large torture chamber with spikes on the ceiling that Nero has to fly through using the Devil Bringer arm's Snatcher. The puzzle is more difficult than it initially looks--quick reflexes are needed in order to glide from one snatch point to the next, as even a second's hesitation will steepen the angle of Nero's approach to the next point and send him crashing into the ceiling spikes. At the end of the third level, Nero squares off against a large, armoured opponent with a wicked-looking shield and lance. This One Winged Knight is practically invulnerable to head-on attacks, so players will once again need to use the Devil Bringer arm to quickly propel themselves behind the enemy to do maximum damage.

Defeating the Knight will earn Nero the ability to move large statue-like objects called Gyro Blades around the castle. Most of the fourth level of the game requires players to find and move these Gyro Blades to a certain spot in order to open up the door into the next boss fight area. The blades--which are moved by punching them with Nero's Devil Bringer--can also be "charged up" with a few sword strikes, which then does greater damage to any foe that touches the blades. The boss that Nero squares off against in the open courtyard is a large toad creature named Bael.

After the intense Bael fight, the fifth level seems a little more sedate, and essentially has Nero exploring the castle further before uncovering a new ability which allows him to jump to high, out-of-reach places. Acquiring the Wing Talisman will activate special jump pads scattered throughout the castle, an ability Nero uses to jump to a high chandelier in the castle's main entrance, which he then swings into a wall to reveal a hidden area: a secret laboratory.

The Lucifer blades as modeled by Dante.

We'll leave Nero now and jump ahead a few levels in the game to instead focus on Dante. As stated in our previous coverage, players will switch from controlling Nero to Dante about halfway through the game. This particular level--the 13th in the game--sees Dante running around a strange forest, and fans of the series will be happy to know he controls and feels much as he has done in previous games. All of Dante's abilities seem to be intact, including his four attack styles of Trickster, Sword Master, Gunslinger, and Royal Guard (which can easily be switched around on the fly using the controller's d-pad). This forest level features one tricky puzzle which involves having to find the right path through a series of similar-looking intersections. At the end, Dante has to square off in yet another of Devil May Cry 4's big bosses--this time it's a gigantic creature which looks like a cross between a dragon and Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. This boss--as befits an opponent much later in the game--is more than a bit tough, but it gave us a chance to try out a new weapon for Dante: the Lucifer, a set of red blades which hang mysteriously in mid-air, only to strike all at once at Dante's bidding.

Devil May Cry looks set to deliver more of the same over-the-top action fans of the series expect. Our early play throughs have all been fairly positive, although we did find one annoying feature with the PS3 version. The game needs to install a large chunk of files on the PS3's drive, and it takes quite a lot of time (roughly 20-30 minutes by our count). This obviously only happens the first time you play the game, but it's still quite a jarring experience to be faced with a PC-like install process on a console game.

Devil May Cry 4 hits the US, the UK, and Australia in February 2008.

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RandolphRam

Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.
Devil May Cry 4

Devil May Cry 4

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509 comments
Jaywalker9876
Jaywalker9876

I agree with harmonica, playing the demo changed my view of this game completely its either this or wait for ninja gaiden 2

Gameboy2k
Gameboy2k

I second that sentiment, Knightmare. I loved it. I got beatup by those two ice demon things, though. And, to make matters worst... I got the 3 rings O death on Saturday... Not fair!!!! Waiting patiently for my 360's return.

Knightmare_King
Knightmare_King

The demo was pretty damn good... can't wait for the real game.

Glen0071
Glen0071

I played the demo and all i can say is "Kick Ass"! As Previous poster stated, one week, can't wait :)

harm0n1ca
harm0n1ca

I wasn't even going to buy this game (inexplicable seeing as I bought and played all the others...) but then played the demo and after battling 'Beriel' I have to say I'm hooked. I don't think anyone can do hack n' slash quite like Capcom. How do you squeeze so much satisfaction out of such a simple control layout 4 times in a row? And as for the epic boss fights... One week, can't wait :D

eric7233
eric7233

Man turok just got served .. i was definitely getting toruk until i found out this game releasing same day.

Shin_Dig
Shin_Dig

I haven't finished it yet but this game is AMAZING!!!!! Probably one of the best games I have ever played!!! I'm not sure how long it is but I hope its pretty long, I mean 3 years!!! IT HAS TO BE LONG!!! Apparently you get 20 missions with Nero, I'm not sure if you get to play Dante within some of the missions but I hope they gave Dante another 20 missions because that would kick so much ass!!!!! Many of you people might be annoyed that theres a new character for the game, but trust me Nero is not a disappointment., totally gave DMC a new fighting style.

truenextgen
truenextgen

I like the HD thing. I think all games need to do this to save drive use, and load times. I dont think games need to be fully downloads. But I think with BR and the future of games, We could go over 50GB. And HD plus Br really gives some massive options in 3 years or so. Either way sounds good. But as good as it seems, were still only seeing developers pushing less than half of the PS3. Hoping to see at least half or a tad more used threw 08. And then will get to the 70% and more latter. I mean we cant BS that this thing is a powerhouse thats not even close to being used. But it is a multi so? When will see at least half the power of this monster? Who knows, but if the games good ,Sub par last gen upgraded looking stuff will do I guess for a while longer.

NND1
NND1

Thank you Capcom for delivering this title to the X360.... Please give us RE 5 Soon!!!!

Bearcat10
Bearcat10

The demo is cool as hell. I was thinking about buying this, but after the demo its a must buy!! Go get it!

darthdominion
darthdominion

I recently just got done playing DMC4 on the X360 and I must say the controls are spot on, bro. I mean it's not complicated, everything is right there with ease. Attack is Y button, shooting is X button and lock on is RB button. No problems with me playing the game. And the graphics are the best ever. A serious must-have for me, can't wait to the release date.

majahret
majahret

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

KooerThnYu
KooerThnYu

why the lack of Dante and the abundance of Nero?

xSOCxNOTORIOUS
xSOCxNOTORIOUS

Can't wait until the 31st so I can play the demo on PSN/XBL.

Steel_Hazard
Steel_Hazard

that is awesome that they are making DMC 4 on xbox 360 is well

planetkyle
planetkyle

Its funny how people are already bashing the Xbox 360 control....chill, none of us have even played a demo much less the actual release. It was great on PS2, so I am sure it will rock on the 360/PS3!

Barry_RE
Barry_RE

I can't wait until February 8:e (I live in Europe) I freaking love this game!

majahret
majahret

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

IceDefenseGod
IceDefenseGod

wars45, you obviously play DMC for the wrong reason if you just finish it once or twice. The real fun is getting good at it and playing to the point where you have a signature style.

kerplop9
kerplop9

Can't wait looks awesome. Rijahs: Are you serious? Previous people who played the DMC while it was only on PS2 found it had different controls switching to the 360? Haha sorry it was so obvious I had to say something.

Barry_RE
Barry_RE

I have allready pre-orderd it! And the 8th februari am i going to plaaaaay it!

Snake-XT
Snake-XT

this game is gonna be awesome!!!!!

sEaNNY08
sEaNNY08

this game looks gd i have never played any dmc game but i fancy getting this 1 the graphics look gd and i like long games nt 1 il complete in a week so its all go 4 me

majahret
majahret

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

wars45
wars45

YES I WIIL GET IT ITS NOT THE SORT OF GAME U FINSE IN A DAY OR 2 LOL

Solid_Devil
Solid_Devil

True... DMC4 looks to be more of the same that we have been served before but with better graphics and a new Nero... Um i mean hero. However i still believe this game will be just as great as the other DMC games so i will definitely buy it for my PS3.

lamprey263
lamprey263

I wonder what kind of force feedback this game will deliver to rumble enabled controllers. I thought the first did it so much it'd break the PS2 controller, it was awesome. Though, I can't imagine it'd be wireless controller friendly as it'd probably eat up the battery, but I still got my wired X360 controller.

ldksparda21
ldksparda21

Previewer need to good back to training, yes you need to install on the ps3 version of the game but didn't mention that it eliminates all loading from the game.

spidermanc2k
spidermanc2k

rijahs: The whole controller thing is a matter of preference. Obviously, if you're used to playing Devil May Cry on a Sony controller, of course it will feel more comfortable to play on the PS3. Its pretty much the same controller as before. It makes sense for the 360 controller to feel weird then, as it will be a new experience. However, after a bit of time, it wouldn't really matter anymore. It just takes some getting used to. The 360 controller actually works really well for action games.

rijahs
rijahs

Good news for all PS3 DMC fans out there... The game look amazing in both the platforms as per the latest reports. It's the controls, however, where it was felt with the biggest difference. All the reports point that everybody was really accustomed to the feel of the PlayStation controller, be it Dual Shock 2 or Sixaxis, for the DMC experience. The gripe with the Xbox 360 is that the controls feel too directly ported over to Microsoft's controller, and it's not a good ergonomic fit..

makintami
makintami

To sam25eg,.. hey i knw wat am sayin... why should i hav to lie after all i played and finished the game. If yu want to talk abt it. jst go back and play it again. Man , i played dis game more than 20times jst to clear my doubt , maybe you're jst playin action and watchin style..you dnt get anything..Man, dnt judge me wrong..if you dnt trust me..PLs am begging you to play d game again..Peace..

RgvXavi
RgvXavi

i know some of you are saying " well at least there won't be any load time" ... how would any of us know that for a fact. What if: you have to do the initial install and STILL have load time while playing? Ouch!, now that would give ps3 owners cause to gripe.

Kongousou_ha
Kongousou_ha

I can't wait for this one... I don't usually do this but to "dave2thegrave" how can you call this game a button "basher?" This game is nothing but tactical action. You can't just run into a bunch of enemies and keep swinging the same combo. There are various weapons and combat styles to keep the action flowing and it will be the same in part 4. Don't knock the game simply because you don't know how to use each style or combat system. To reiterate what "petervaht" said there are style points for a reason.

ChrisThaBest
ChrisThaBest

chill out guys gamespot is just mentioning the fact that u have to do the installation, and i am pretty sure it was worth mentioning.

fluffers623
fluffers623

of course, find soemthing wrong gamespot...... u will spend less time waiting for stuff to load, so i dont care.

ZahrimThoth
ZahrimThoth

For god's sake Gamespot, find a flaw in every damn PS3 game...

sam25eg
sam25eg

to makintami wow you are so retarted to think that mission 9's door looks anything like the Door of Ka'aba,I bet you don't even know what both doors look like...you are just spreading this pos lie cause you hear it somewhere on gamefaqs.

gregdrapes
gregdrapes

Why are people complaining so much about having to install the game. Sony gave us hard drives for a reason. If it means no loading times during the game then it is fine by me. You watch, the PS3 version will get 0.5 score lower than the 360 version because of this, even though through the span of the game you will spend less time sitting around and waiting.

rijahs
rijahs

GamePro Germany has published a review on Devil May Cry 4 and has awarded it a decent score of 85/100. It was praised for its beautiful animations and effects, good mixture of music, good controls, non stop action, beautiful setting and many side missions. When the game starts for the first time, Devil May Cry 4 game data will be installed on the PLAYSTATION3 Hard Disk Drive (HDD). You must install the Devil May Cry 4 game data to play the game. Only one copy of the Devil May Cry 4 game data can be installed to the HDD and 4.8GB of free space is required to install the game data..

petervaht
petervaht

dave2thegrave, you didn't 'get' this game because its not a button masher, you were playing it wrong. There are style points for a reason.

Xlyger74
Xlyger74

To makintami - Wow, i never knew about that because i never played DMC3. That's seriously screwed up.

makintami
makintami

i hope they dont have anythin against one's Religion like DMC3 special edition stage 9 . i guess so where dey put the Door of Ka'aba ( Holy Door which is in Mekkah} and named it as Welcome to Hell.. Its was really bad and terrifyin wen i saw it...why must it be like dat..?

greyfon_12
greyfon_12

dave2thegrave! you are not grown up enough to play a game like this. UNDERSTAND KID!

dave2thegrave
dave2thegrave

i dont understand why people get excited over this game, i rented the others on ps2 and they were mediocre at best. i dont get off on button bashers though.

vengeance00
vengeance00

railroberto2007 "anyone notice they got the word cum in this report" yeah i did second paragraph, 4 line down. "having a meeting-cum-recital" lol, he said cum ^_^ anyway does anyone know when the demo is on xbox market or PSnetwork? they said they would release it but haven't stated a date to my knowledge.

majahret
majahret

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

djrivers
djrivers

i hope they dont have that crappy music and put something better this time around...