Review

Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition Review

  • First Released Feb 5, 2008
    released
  • 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
6
Fair
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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Metallinatus

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Here is how Gamespot's review team is working this year:

Crap, crap, crap, crap, The Witcher 3 great game 10 out of 10, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap....

Can't wait to see Fallout 4 get a 7 too.

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Barighm

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@metallinatus: If you think 7 is "crap", then you must be missing out on a lot of good games.

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Suikogaiden

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@metallinatus:

"Crap, crap, crap, crap, The Witcher 3 great game 10 out of 10, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap"

Sounds about right to me.

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darkstar2879

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Game originally gets an 8 on last gen, updated graphics and more content lowers it to a 6, nice logic game spot.

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Thanatos2k

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@darkstar2879: This reviewer would have given the original a 6 too, and it deserves it.

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ILSATS

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@darkstar2879: Because this review is based on today's standards, not 2008's

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darkstar2879

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Edited By darkstar2879

@ILSATS: Yeah, that and it's a different reviewer with a different opinion.

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simonbelmont2

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@ILSATS: Exactly.

The game was slightly dated when it came out, it seems even more dated by today's standards. The remaster doesn't fix any of the flaws, the game is running on much stronger hardware but Capcom still fail to fully take advantage of that hardware.

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BrahManDude

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Edited By BrahManDude

@darkstar2879: i know right SMH

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Earthen80

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Edited By Earthen80

They should have rather done a proper remaster (new character models etc) of DMC 3.

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DeathwachMarine

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Edited By DeathwachMarine

Hmm... Ok well, I straight up disagree with that verdict. After playing this for hours, its really just Devil May Cry 4 with up-scaled graphics and a ton of new content. What's not to like about that? It certainly deserves much higher than a 6 for that matter.

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simonbelmont2

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@DeathwachMarine: DMC4 has great combat but it's dated in some other areas, it was like that when it came out and it's even more dated nowadays.

Capcom added new content but didn't fix any of the old problems. Those problems were passable back when the game was released, by today's standards they seem even worse.

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Zantetsuken89

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Edited By Zantetsuken89

You gave this a 6/10 because there wasn't any dubstep or edgy dialogue in it, admit it.

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90wushuman

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@zantetsuken89: No, the horrendous backtracking, boss repetition, and boring puzzles and padding empty areas hurt the game. With games today like Bayonetta, MGR, AND DmC. This problem today just makes it worse.

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Thanatos2k

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@90wushuman: Yes. If you're going to re-release a game today, it's competing against other games that are released today. If your 7 year old game has archaic game mechanics and poor design that has been vastly improved upon since, it's going to get docked.

If you don't like it, don't try to resell a 7 year old game for more than $20.

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Seven7Swords

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@90wushuman: +1 With how amazing Bayonetta 2 was and how great Metal Gear Solid Rising Revengence and Devil May Cry: DmC was they really should of added more levels or something to Devil May Cry 4's tedious campaign. But all they added was 3 characters and bloody palace. It is still Backtrack May Cry 4 and they didn't even try to change that with a new boss or at least reworking Dante's boss battles to feel different from Nero's.

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GAMERALL

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DMC 4 finally gets the score it deserved seven years ago! not for the reasons I've had in mind though. DMC 1 and the first two-thirds of DMC 3 are the best DMC had to offer IMO.

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TarkatanWarrior

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@GAMERALL: I agree that DMC 4 deserved a 6 originally. It's just flat out not a great game.

3 is the best.

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Metallinatus

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Edited By Metallinatus

@GAMERALL: The first three-thirds of DMC 3 are the best DMC ever offered ever.*

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GAMERALL

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@metallinatus: The last third of DMC 3 introduced a number of problems upon which DMC 4 was built! bad camera angles, repeating bosses and some truly horrid final boss fights (a Capcom trend!). After a string of perfectly set encounters and some fantastic boss fights, culminating with one of the best boss fights ever in any game (Beowulf), the final third just dragged and degraded, and DMC 4 just picked up from there. And the result of DMC 4's afterthought design was DmC: The Red-iest Game Ever...!

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Seven7Swords

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@GAMERALL: I never really cared for "boss gauntlet" in any game, but I have to disagree with you on DMC 3's final fight. The showdown with Vergil felt epic and was the culmination of Dante's adventure. It was the showdown alluded to through out the entire story and the showdown I most enjoyed.

And considering Capcom gave Ninja Theory completely free reign with DmC I don't get your meaning at the end.

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Metallinatus

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Edited By Metallinatus

@GAMERALL: I really liked the way they made the "boss rush" part at the end of the game.... plus, I loved the two final bosses.... I mean, Lady's father was not fun at the gameplay itself, but Vergil and the epicness of the story made it great.... and then.... the final showdown....

I really enjoyed the game from beginning to end.

And actually, Beowulf is one of my least liked boss fights in the game.... but his Devil Arm is possibly the best.

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Infinite_713

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I'm still going to get this because I love DMC 4. I just won't touch the additional characters but the graphical improvements and 60fps is a must buy for me and it's only $25.

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DeathwachMarine

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Edited By DeathwachMarine

@Infinite_713: Daaaaw, are you seriously saying you've never wanted to see what playing as Vergil would be like?? He's pretty damn fun to use. Why wouldn't you want to play as any of the additional characters?

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Infinite_713

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This is still a good purchase if you don't plan on playing with the additional characters.

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90wushuman

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@Infinite_713: But the additional characters ARE the highlight of this game. Without them, there is no reason to play this game.

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Swaghard

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Aw crap. I wanted to want this. My non-purchase of this game does not represent an endorsement of emo Dante, Capcom.

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DeathwachMarine

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Edited By DeathwachMarine

@Swaghard: For $24.99 its certainly worth a purchase. The review imo doesnt really make sense. Its like.... how do I put it, they weren't actually expecting to play Devil May Cry 4 again? Or like they were thinking the entire game would be redesigned. Even if it had a $59.99 price tag, i'd say its worth a purchase, and even if you own the original, you'd enjoy this one.

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Swaghard

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@DeathwachMarine: Okay I'll consider buying it. I do love old Dante :) I just usually avoid repetitive games.

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GodHateUsAll

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Never trust reviews kids!

Gamespot gave Driveclub a 6 .I'm enjoying the game so far and imo this is the best and most valuable season pass ever.

So the reviewer didn't liked it , so what?!

There is enough info and videos on the web to help you make the right decision.

I played dmc 4 on ps3 and it was fun.now with 60fps ,more characters and a new difficulty mode i really don't see any reason not to buy it.

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Bowser05

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@godhateusall: In the reviewer's defense, he is comparing it to gaming as it stands right now. DMC4 was great when it came out, but currently there are better action games. Doesn't mean DMC4 isn't fun or good, just that it doesn't hold it's own against the competition when compared to games that have come out since its original launch.

I think that's the reason for his lower score ultimately.

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90wushuman

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Edited By 90wushuman

@godhateusall: The new cutscenes were disappointing, the (finally) alternate costumes were lackluster, the new mode is fun, but not too challenging (even compared to DmC's GMD), the backtracking, bland level design, and repetitive boss battles are still there. There are no new enemy spawns like in DmC:DE that would make up for all the running around and solving puzzles, and the story is still as dull as ever. I'll almost wanted to not get this version since didn't change even a little. But it's atleast 25$ and I really DO want to play as Vergil and Trish (Lady just looks fun), so I'll still get it.

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naryanrobinson

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Edited By naryanrobinson

Yeah the backtracking is still there, because of course it is, it's like 40% of the game, was he expecting them to replace 40% of the game? You're not doing the exact same things as before, it's slightly remixed levels and some new levels, with a completely different character.

Don't let anyone complain to you about the platforming, it's just typical jump jump jump with a decent enough camera. It's literally 10 mins of a dozens of hours game.

The combat is still absolutely stellar, and not only hasn't aged but it still some of the best in the gaming world, and now with more than double the characters to master as before. When the whole point of the game is enjoying the combat, five characters instead of two is a huge deal.

Add to that the fact that it's less than half the price at $25 and it's prettier and smoother etc., I don't really see what's not to like.

And also, DmC was not a bad game by any means, I just personally enjoyed both 3 and 4 more for their story/characters and combat. It's hard to like someone like Kat for example, even when you really try.

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90wushuman

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Well...That sucks.

*Goes back to playing DmC: Definitive Edition*

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ninjanutta

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2 games in a row that score badly only on game spot.are u being paid to lower the metacritic score or what? This site sucks,i used to like it once upon a time.Dick head reviewers.

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Talavaj

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@ninjanutta: Two ? Gamespot is giving the lowest scores out of all Metacritic ratings for a good few months now.

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simonbelmont2

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@ninjanutta: The two games you mentioned were done by different reviewers, ergo there's no connection between them.

If you have to compare reviews then you should check out the Eurogamer review for DMC4 back when the game originally came out: they gave the game a 7/10 and mentioned the same flaws in the game that this review did.

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Edited By Leboyo56

@ninjanutta: Um, Gamespot has always been super-critical of most games. And being paid to lower the Metacritic? Okay... Different people have different opinions. Just because you think the reviewers are the dick heads doesn't mean you have to act like the rest of the dick.

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enuo9

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Just to set the record straight, DMC is still the best game in the series.

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SavageEvil

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Scratching my head, I haven't played this game yet but I have played all the others. DMC was great and fresh, sort of contrived but it was epic when it came to combat. DMC 2, unequivocal rubbish compared to the first game, forced sequel at best. DMC 3, omg holy grail of epic combat, devious boss encounters and a story that gives you backstory on the twins and culmination to their strained relationship. DMC 4, kind of a DMC2 but nowhere near as bad, new character and direct sequel to DMC, Nero is some out of the blue character who somehow is linked to Vergil's abilities and powers...just what the hell is going on with Nephilims in DMC anyway, game was short so they added Dante late as a second playable character in his own game. You can tell simply by the fact that nothing Dante does utilizes the special animations bosses do when they face Nero and his bringer arm. Why they created such a convoluted story is beyond me, what a waste but the combat like DMC 3 was epic and sharp and unforgiving. DmC Reboot, not sure what to say here this game is like the elementary version of DMC4, retelling of the story from DMC 3 from Dante's POV again, this time we get prettier visuals at the expense of 60fps combat and more, the combos themselves were horrible repetitive and mundane as hell, this was by far the worst in the series in terms of providing you with a challenge when facing enemies to keep your combo going and rack up big scores. It was way too easy, then the game also sported some visual vulgarities that sort of made you feel gross for actually witnessing against your will. I have never seen such a weak gratuitous combo system as the likes of DmC.

DMC has always prided itself mainly on combat and you mastering them in these insane instances and for added measure they had extra gameplay modes to test your mettle. Not sure what the reviewer is going on about with backtracking but it's not back tracking if you are doing it with a character with different abilities and moveset, backtracking is done by the same individual though, just saying! In fact I was happy to trounce the bosses again using Dante as his combos were very different from Nero's and the on the fly switching was a godsend, made me wish DMC 3 had it as well. I will have to play this but out of all the DMC games I haven't finished two, willing to wager a guess which two I never completed? One rhymes with poo and the other is the gas that comes before the poo...2 and Reboot. They we both terrible as hell, one was convoluted and the other failed in it's combo system, repetitively annoying platforming with pitfalls all over the place making jumping a chore, when the hell was DMC about platforming over bottomless pits that don't instantly kill you? This fool can run up and down walls, not even going to mention the hand holding, oh look color coded enemies and enemies you need required weapon to defeat, groan can't make my own combos up since I am forced to repetitively do this every time x enemy shows up. DMC let you pummel them anyway, you just did a lot less damage but combos were there to be made for impressive scores if you could pull them off. DmC gave you chakrams that auto comboed for you and for a long time, I turned it off I was like I was already getting SSS without those things.

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90wushuman

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@SavageEvil: Let me guess, you used most of the Lv. 2 upgrades to get you SSS effortlessly? A mechanic that was never in a DMC game till now and that is IMO made for casuals to get past the game faster and easier.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcUrRJAKmPA

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FuNkAdR0

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Edited By FuNkAdR0

Another game reviewed whit E3 hangover.

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madsnakehhh

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Still better than that awful DmC game.

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Threesixtyci

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Looks like Gamespot is attempting to change their rating system, again.

Devil May Cry 4 More Info

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  • First Released Feb 5, 2008
    released
    • 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.
    8.6
    Average Rating16867 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Devil May Cry 4
    Developed by:
    Capcom
    Published by:
    Capcom
    Genre(s):
    Adventure, Action
    Theme(s):
    Fantasy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence