Devil May Cry 4 - Review (Playstation 3)
oceansandearth wrote this review on .
Developer: In House
Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Third person action
Release: 8th February, 2008 (EU)
Devil May Cry has a history. It is generally recalled as an exceedingly tough game, by most gamers and is not known to be a very casual-gamer friendly so much so that the previous instalment, DMC 3 had to be re-released in a Special Edition package with a toned down difficulty. It is however, a darling of the hardcore gamer crowd, who seem to worship the Devil May Cry series (barring DMC 2) for it's outstanding gameplay, style and overwhelming difficulty. That being said, what can we expect from DMC 4?Bad news first. DMC 4 no longer stars Dante as the protagonist. Instead, we see a young whippersnapper by the name of Nero at the helm of affairs. The game begins in the town of Fortuna, a place controlled by a group of knights called The Order Of The Sword who worship Sparda, the demon knight as the saviour of all. It is here that we find Dante suddenly breaking into the ceremony hall and kill the leader of the Order. Enraged by this act of villainy, Nero sets out after Dante to confront him and to avenge the death of his leader. This much is known and predictable. What is left for the player is to go through the the twenty odd missions and find out what exactly is going on and why.http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2315/2290596989_e2e69e862d_m.jpg
Controlling Nero is not very difficult. The first mission, which by the way is a fight with Dante serves as a tutorial. Nero as a character starts out with only two weapons, his sword, the Red Queen and his double barreled pistol, the Blue Rose. However, Nero is the possessor of a unique gift, a demon arm, which allows him to grab and bring close objects from afar (read enemies). This ability, known as the Devil Bringer (DB) along with another ability of Nero to charge up his sword (The Red Queen), called the Exceed forms the core of Nero's gameplay. The DB tends to be used extremely frequently either to pull enemies from mid-air or the ground to couple up with massive combos or throws.The Exceed system on the other hand is a method of boosting/charging the power of the Red Queen by continuously pressing the Trigger button. The charged up sword can be used to deal out heavier damage as compared to the normal attacks. In DMC killing the enemies will land you with Red Orbs which can be used as a currency to buy items. In continuation with the DMC tradition, you get more points/orbs for killing an enemy stylishly. The style ranks go from D, C, B, A, S, SS and SSS. You have to use a variety of different attacks to earn better style ranks. As you progress through the game you get to buy more and more skills and abilities, both for the weapons and Nero. Unlike previous games where abilities/skills could be bought with red orbs, in DMC 4 you cannot. Red orbs are only used to buy items. To buy abilities/skills you earn what is called as Proud Souls. Now Proud Souls are earned at the end of each mission and the amount of Proud Souls you earn depends upon a lot of factors such as time taken to clear the mission, amount of red orbs earned and style points earned.That being said, DMC 4 allows you to get back all the proud souls you have spent on an ability if you decide to drop the ability. Thus, all abilities need not be bought and brings about an element of flexibility in the game. Nero also has the Devil Trigger (DT) ability. Using DT enables Nero to unleash powerful attacks albeit for a limited time, the time being limited by the amount of Magic energy you possess.
So you must be wondering, what about Dante? Is he in the game at all? Yes, he is, although in a lesser role and for a lesser duration than Nero. Dante becomes playable after you have completed a certain number of missions with Nero. Now, Dante in DMC4 is very powerful. Unlike the previous game, you have all his styles - Trickster, Sword Master, Royal Guard and Gun Slinger right from the word go, the styles being selectable on the fly. This obviously translates to destructive and stylish combos. However, the moment you switch to Dante you will start missing Nero's Devil Bringer which starts becoming a part of the regular arsenal by then. Unfortunately, Dante's missions are back-treading of Nero's missions. This makes the whole process repetitive. The complaint with the previous DMC has actually been exacerbated to a high degree, that is back-tracking. The only solace you have in back-tracking at all is the fact that you get to play as Dante. Other than back-tracking, the game is plagued by design issues, though minor in nature. At times you will be clue-less as to where to go next, because of the fact that you can actually go back into previous areas and the new area you have to go to is not highlighted, you might be lost roaming around here and there. The other problem you might face is with the camera angles, especially when you exit areas. The camera will suddenly move around 360 degrees confusing you as to which direction you need to proceed in. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2203/2291391342_05f79be49d_m.jpgThe visuals in this game are in particularly outstanding. The locales, the detail and the lighting make you stop and take note of the beauty surrounding you. What is commendable is that all of this is achieved while maintaining a very healthy 60 frames per second (Fps) in-game. However, to achieve this end the game needs to be installed (mandatory). It takes 5 GB of your HDD and approximately 20 minutes of your time to do so.
The cut-scenes are very well directed and Yuji Shimomura, he of Versus fame, is responsible for bringing you the over-the-top action sequences. That is one thing DMC 4 has not sacrificed; style is plentiful, as well as cheesy dialogues and melodramatic theatricals. This is DMC after all. The sound is again very much DMC, a lot of techno-metal riffs all around that makes for a great mood to slay some demons. The orchestral score in the beginning is excellent and the theme has been given by the popular Japanese band, L'Arc-en-Ciel. The voice acting in the game is top notch, it takes a lot to pull off the Dante/Nero attitude and that has been achieved without feeling out of place.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2377/2291391548_335e6b8f25_m.jpgIn terms of replayability, DMC 4 is decent enough. It gives you six different difficulty modes though you start off with only two, Human (easy mode) and Devil Hunter (normal mode). In addition, to these there are plenty of secret missions in the game which though are not necessary to be completed; the rewards of beating it are worthwhile. The Accomplishment system and the online leaderboards are also built into the game, which provides an extra element of challenge to the gamer. The real challenge of DMC lies in the multiple difficulty modes and the need to master the game. This is the reason why DMC ranks highly in the eyes of the hardcore gamers. The steps taken by Capcom, in making the DMC4 newcomer friendly will only help in taking the game from cult/hardcore popularity to mass popularity without losing it's originality whilst keeping it's sanctity intact. All in all, this is an excellent game that deserves to be played by action game fans.