Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition Review

  • First Released Feb 5, 2008
  • PS4
  • PC
  • XONE

The devil you know.

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Devil May Cry 4 is excessive by design, from the mammoth swords to the boss battles rooted in elegant mayhem. The action can feel like a firework show that spurns a nuanced routine for a non-stop, thirty-minute finale, and there's a certain charm to this bravado. But the excessiveness takes away just as much as it gives. The structure of the extended campaign works against its own momentum, forcing you to retread recently explored locations and battle all-too-familiar enemies over and over again. While this Special Edition provides slight combat tweaks and additional characters to toy with, there's just not enough mechanical or architectural variation to justify the fluff. As a result, the endless combat rooms and recycled scenarios can be exhausting.

The re-progression is thematically justified by a character swap, giving you at least some reason to remain engaged during this slog. You spend the majority of Devil May Cry 4 with Nero, a silver-haired, sardonic punk whose emotions swing from caustic rage to lovesick sweetness at the drop of a sword. He's a suitable protagonist for the series, with enough emotional intrigue to carry the early portions of the story, but the eventual shift to Dante is welcomed. Collecting new weapons and experimenting with his unique combat stances spices up the action, and his comically blasé attitude toward towering demons hurling fire, ice, and everything in between adds an additional layer of absurdity to this ballet of angels and demons. It's just a shame that Dante is left with so little meat to pick off the bone, being relegated to retracing Nero's steps.

The Devil Bringer can transform even the toughest of foes into pretty blue explosions of light.
The Devil Bringer can transform even the toughest of foes into pretty blue explosions of light.

The most significant change introduced by the Special Edition is the inclusion of three additional characters: Lady, Trish, and Vergil. The fresh cast is playable from the start, and thankfully, each member provides a much-needed layer of combat variation absent from the original release. Lady’s proclivity for projectiles punches up your offense at range, allowing you to more easily dust airborne foes and wipe out large groups with a single, charged missile. Trish and Vergil aren’t as unorthodox in their play styles, but both benefit from swift hypersonic attacks that help you smoothly transition from demon to demon. Vergil, especially, can quickly jump from place to place and easily build upon a string of combos without having to waste time walking to a new target.

Devil May Cry 4 is deeply flawed, but the new 1080p, 60 frames-per-second wrapping provided by the Special Edition does well to modernize the aesthetic while maintaining the series' blistering speed. The action rarely skips a beat--even when a sea of enemies floods the screen--and while you might not mistake it for a brand-new 2015 release, the characters and environments just look cleaner. The uproariously extravagant cutscenes, where you'll find Dante and Nero elegantly sliding under deadly projectiles or bouncing away from massive demons with aplomb, benefit the most from the improved visual fidelity.

No Caption Provided
Nero is like a younger, moodier version of Dante.
Nero is like a younger, moodier version of Dante.

But like a stubborn wine stain, the repetition so deeply rooted in Devil May Cry 4's fabric can't be easily washed out. The additional characters replace Nero and Dante in the same scenarios, so you're still playing through identical missions you're likely already tired of. Starting the game over with a different character only highlights the lack of unique locations, so once the initial wonder of Vergil's lightning-quick technique and Lady's devastating grenade launcher wears off, there's not much left to enjoy. You can avoid replaying the main missions by instead testing out each character’s abilities in the Bloody Palace, which is a series of combat challenges where the deeper you descend, the more difficult the enemies become. However, Devil May Cry 4 can already feel like a combat gauntlet, so stripping out the story, puzzles, and exploration doesn't do it any favors. It’s nice to have more options, but the Special Edition's prevailing new features are hampered by the nature of its main adventure.

The series of events is both interesting and challenging the first time around, at least--even if they're weighed down by too many back-to-back combat sequences. Nero's combo-driven sword-play is bolstered by his pistols and wonderfully versatile Devil Bringer--a demonic arm that acts as both a quick means of transportation and a powerful melee option. Beyond its practical use, the Devil Bringer gives you greater opportunity to increase your style gauge and extend combos to great lengths. By diversifying your attacks, you can earn more points and, most importantly, complete a combat scenario in the most surgical, exciting ways possible.

Like a stubborn wine stain, the repetition so deeply rooted in Devil May Cry 4's fabric can't be easily washed out.

You can grab, pull, and pound enemies into the dirt through Nero's glowing grip, but the manner by which this arm translates to platforming and puzzle solving is more frustrating than fun. Devil May Cry 4 provides very limited camera control, and shifting perspectives often obfuscate your view as you use your arm to grapple from point to point. It can be difficult to determine your position, let alone time a jump or push certain objects to unlock doors with such a restrictive, jarring point of view.

If you're a seasoned demon hunter, the Special Edition does provide a new, punishing difficulty called Legendary Dark Knight Mode. Here, a greater number and variety of enemies spawn at any given time--creating more opportunities to string together stylish combos, but a higher probability of becoming overwhelmed. Thankfully, the points and skills accrued over time carry over, so some of the difficulty's edge can be dulled by tackling this hellish challenge on a second playthrough. However, no matter how skilled you become, the boss battles here can be ruthless, so even fully decked-out characters can fall after a few mistimed dodges.

The boss battles are beautiful, but sadly, you’ll have to see each of them three times.
The boss battles are beautiful, but sadly, you’ll have to see each of them three times.

The visual improvements and additional characters layered atop the Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition can't conceal its bloated structure. This is, without a doubt, the best this stylish action romp has looked and felt, but just because you can gussy up an old game, doesn't always mean that you should. If you're dying to see how Vergil fares against the Order of the Sword or feel the need to test the extreme difficulty, take the leap. Just be warned that some aspects of the game would have been better left in the past.

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The Good
Impressive visual improvements modernize the look
New characters provide plenty of interesting weapons and skills
The Bad
Backtracking recycles environments and kills momentum
Platforming is hampered by imprecise camera
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Devil May Cry 4

About the Author

Josiah Renaudin has spent his fair share of time slicing and dicing demons as Dante. For the purposes of this review, he completed the campaign, tested each difficulty, and experimented with each additional characters’ special abilities.
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Avatar image for GradationAir

It's repetitive because you can't play it like this:

Avatar image for deusvex

DMC4 was my personal favorite. I enjoyed it much more than DMC3 and the new DMC. Now I very well may feel different if I played it again now, but as memory serves it was the best IMO. For me.

Avatar image for SweatySasquatch

@green_arrow: Yeah I know, the original got an 8 point something out of 10 and this version gets a 6, wtf is that all about?

Avatar image for ldknight

Devil May Cry 4 is not a good game

Avatar image for XRufio84X

@ldknight, why write anything then bro??:

Avatar image for easilyn

After playing killer is dead, metal gear rising, DmC, Dmc 3 and that avatar game then coming back to this game, eh....

I can't believe I'd rather play the new dmc over this tbh. At first I was like, **** the new guy's hair color.

Then after playing it...felt less tedious.dmc3 didn't feel as tedious as 4, god damn even killer is dead still feels fresh :/

Avatar image for sahilmalhotra17

I think that you would have done better to mention how the introduction of vergil alone in the special edition should be worth the money to hardcore fans of the series and people who are actually good at this game and play it for style peen and express their creativity with outrageous over the top combos. I understand that 90 percent of your reviews have to be for the mainstream audience but when there is an elitist footnote, enthusiast and hardcore gamers should at least get a footnote or a shoutout.

P.S. : After playing vergil and experimenting with him I don't think i can play nero or dante in this game. Nero especially feels slow as molasses compared to how quick and powerful vergil is. Vergil requires a lot of skill to master but nothing beats yamato in full flow.

Avatar image for omotih

man, I enjoyed this game so much, as a lot of people did when it was released ...

please watch this !!!


this game is just epic and has the best, coolest, most bad ass Dante caracter of all DMC games,

it is really an all time classic, dont miss this ... its much much better then the new DMC stuff

Avatar image for hahamanin

i dont know who asked for this to be remastered

Avatar image for Smaug317

@hahamanin: Right!? So many better capcom games...

Avatar image for ManowarKill

Do you at least consider its being sold for 25$ . gamespot used to be a good place for reviews. Now your team is on top of the crap pyramid, fire those brain damaged monkeys and get some serious gamers for your articles\reviews comon....

Avatar image for ManowarKill

Ohhh and we all should move to ign or game informer. Mass migration everyone?

Avatar image for Smaug317

@ManowarKill: Um, Gameinformer I paid for by Gamestop therefore just made to sell games, so, no. Ign has way too much pop culture. Yeah Gamespots changed and maybe not for the best, but considering the other options, I'll still take it any day of the week.

Avatar image for deactivated-5a5f623fa2551

@ManowarKill: Ugh...IGN and Game Informer. Boo. GameSpot isn't what it used to be, but it's still a million times better than those places.

And this is and has always been one of the weaker entries in the series. A few enhancements don't change that.

Avatar image for alien-ouy

@IceJester45: IGN focus on comic books and movies while gamespot review different kind of games but still all pages feel cheap imo.

Avatar image for Navardo95

Am I the only one who wasn't a fan of DMC4 coming after DMC3 which I loved to death?? Its not nostalgia though because I was played DMC4 like two years after DMC3 and was still in my teens.... The enemy designs and the combat really did not click with me at all. I really felt something was lacking in the combat department compared to DMC3.

And the story was far less interesting as well...

Avatar image for Dark_sageX

Giving this game a lower score than DmC only tells me that gamespot reviews are utterly unreliable....

Avatar image for ManowarKill

@Dark_sageX: they have been for at least 2 years now.......

Avatar image for meedokicky

Been playing this on PC, it runs great.

I've been playing Lady/Trish, each have their own unique move set, which is a pretty cool addition (well, and probably the only reason worth getting this version), especially Lady. Since guns are way more effective when playing as her, and it actually makes most bosses a lot easier! and easier to get Smokin'SickStylish ranks.

Trish is very aggressive and fills the screen with too many sparks lol But her guns are not very impressive imo, not what I expected anyway.

Camera movement and platforming is still wonky though.

Avatar image for JW2252

Definitely the worst of the DMC games, and yes I'm counting DMC: Devil May Cry. I honestly would love to see capcom hand the series over to platinum games (instead of Ninja Theory) and see what they can do with it. I bet they would treat it with more respect then it's been getting lately.

Avatar image for Armin_Devil_PS3

@JW2252 : Holy crab mate ! Have u played Devil May Cry 2 ? I wonder if u have you would not say this. because of that second title the whole story line and other games affected and finally that DMC2 alone was one of the main reasons of rebooting DMC series.

Avatar image for zissou99

@JW2252: Worst DMC game?!?! Have you played the second?

Avatar image for sensei_hEnRY

i don't really understand the need to remaster the 4th game, it's not a good DMC game. It's lazy and repetitive. I actually love the reboot and would love to play a sequel of it.

Avatar image for sahilmalhotra17

Vergil is a great character to play with. A lot of fun especially in legendary Dark Knight mode. The concentration mechanic really adds a lot of depth to his combat style where you only use the stick to aim and to dodge but try to move as little as possible during combat apart from air trick. These are the kind of things that make the original DMC series games a lot of fun. I enjoyed DmC but there was little to no depth in combat mechanics and one couldn't really get super creative with styling in the absence of multiple styles like with the original dante. Vergil flows really nicely with attacks from Yamato, Beowulf and force edge blending very well together and you need to perfect your judgement cut timing before attempting Dante must Die mode.

Avatar image for gklaus19

Imagine if they review all HD collection's like this.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

The problem was Devil May Cry 4 wasn't really good to begin with.

Avatar image for monks-1138

@Thanatos2k: If there was a like button, I'd click it.

Avatar image for santinegrete

@monks-1138: yeah, me too. DMC 4 was a 7 for it's time.

Avatar image for SipahSalar

I didn't understand. What do they mean by repetition? Did they change the gameplay of the original to make it more repetitive?

Avatar image for 90wushuman

@SipahSalar: Basically go back the exact same areas over and over again. You do that enough as Nero anyway, but then you starting as Dante you from A to B, to now B to A. You even fight the same bosses with no difference tweaks or design, 3 times in the whole game. It's made even worse that Vergil and Trish/Lady's campaign is no different at all.

Avatar image for darksparda4

DMC4SE feels so much smoother and sleeker than DmC. Just proves that The original will always be great.

Avatar image for DatDarkOne

I already have the Original DMC4 on PC. What's so good about this version that would make me buy the same damn game twice?

Avatar image for Dark_sageX


- 3 new playable characters (Vergil, Trish and Lady) with very unique game play styles

- more costumes

- more modes

- Some game tweeks (like the dices have better randomized ratio, speed skill is activated more instantly unlike in the original game where you have to wait for it to build up, balanced enemies)

game is overall better optimized, imo its worth the upgrade, just sell your current copy and pay little extra for the new version (consider it like paying for DLC, although selling those new additions as DLC would have been far more convenient as well...)

Avatar image for santinegrete

@Dark_sageX: @DatDarkOne: pretty much the best answer you could get. If that's not enough wait for Xmas. I'll wait if I were you... even for a humble bundle lol

Avatar image for Master_cheat001

@DatDarkOne: "It has Vergil damn it!!", say a fanboy.

Avatar image for neooneeon

Heres a promo code for the costumes if anyone wants it. I bought the game off amazon and they sent me this after I had bought the dlc lol. CP28-7FNE-GND7

Avatar image for xuelixon

"Kills the momentum"? How exactly? You play as both Nero AND dante, and the bosses aren't exactly easy when using a different character.

On a side note: this game isn't meant to be "different". It's a remastered and refurbished to fit next gen consoles/PC. Anyone who expected differently should relook up the word "remastered".

Another side note: I'm never going to get into DmC. It is boring compared to the original. I should know because I actually played the demo.

Avatar image for santinegrete

The Price tag doesn't really help this game. Only the people that skipped 4 need to apply if they want great combat constricted by a lack of fun levels to perform it. I really wanted all this extra characters to have at least some sort of mini campaign, but there's not. Enjoy Bloody Palace mod if you can.

Avatar image for seriousdave

Hopefully they finally make a new entry that's up to DMC 3 in the future.

4 was not a good game, it was damn lazy and extremely repetitive, the only good thing about it were Dante's improved, on the fly, style switches, which were friggin awesome. But he also only had 4 levels and those were purely repeating nero's stuff, down to the boss fights which nero had to do even 3rd time at the end. It dosen't get a low score for being a poor remaster but for beeing a poor game in general, how the original ever got 8 & 9 is beyond me....

Avatar image for Keivz_basic

@seriousdavewell said, couldn't agree more:

Avatar image for KinoDaKonqueror

@seriousdave: It's a good game, it's really played to see how awesome a player can be. The levels are repetitive and that does suck.

Avatar image for rarerichz

lol this review is a joke , im playing this game for pc right now and its a solid 8.5 only reason i dont give 9 is cause of the puzzle back and forth being left around thats it. everything is is vastly improved it has a ton more content now and moves are way more polished. textures are much better and higher res.

Avatar image for Viral-venom13


I had the original, would you rank this special edition over it or does it feel like pretty much on the same leve?

Devil May Cry 4 More Info

  • First Released Feb 5, 2008
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 3 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Devil May Cry 4 is the fourth installment in Capcom's demon-hunting series, but this time it stars a new character, Nero, and his powerful demonic arm.
    Average Rating16865 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    Action, Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence