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.

Back To Top
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.
312 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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StonerDemon

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I can see the GS boss having a really hard time looking at how much hate the recent reviews of Yoshi's Wooly World and DMC4 SE have gotten. I'm not saying the reviews are bad, but they're definitely not right.

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001011000101101

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I've been saying this right from the beginning: DMC4 was never really that good to begin with. It's unreasonable of Capcom to hold the series at ransom based on the sales of a game that not even shinier graphics can save.

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snaketus

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Since when backtracking became a negative trait in a game? So we should only have linear forward moving boring level design where you can't take the wrong turn? Wtf?

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001011000101101

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@snaketus: The backtracking in this game is lazy and ridiculous. They make you run through the exact same levels multiple times, albeit in a different order. The game is pretty linear and the backtracking lies in this type of repetition. The game was called out for it when it first released, and it should be called out for it again.

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simonbelmont2

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@001011000101101: I agree, we've seen other modern hack n' slash games that don't require much backtracking including Bayonetta, MGR and DmC.

I'd rather move forward and see new areas than have to backtrack through old ones.

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Garvielt

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I think its quite weird to give a special edition of a game that doesn't make the game worse or break anything a worse score than the game got originally.

While i don't really love this game i think a review on a title like this should really just be centered on whether it is a good remake.

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Zerofrust

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Edited By Zerofrust

DMC3 for life all the rest, mainly the reboot, can burn. I almost wish Platinum games can get their hands on this franchise.

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BehemothBlade

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Look how pathetic this review is, trash like DmCDE gets a 9 and this game gets 6.

It should be clear that this site hates good games.

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simonbelmont2

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@BehemothBlade: DMC4 got a 7/10 from Eurogamer when it first came out, ergo even back then some reviewers felt it was a fun but flawed game.

The Gamespot review score for this remaster isn't that surprising, the reviewer here mentioned some of the same flaws the original Eurogamer reviewer mentioned eight years ago.

DmC is far from perfect but in some areas it excels as a modern hack n' slash game. DmC was also reviewed by a different person, ergo the person who reviewed this didn't review DmC.

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kazeswen

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Edited By kazeswen

This just goes to show you how credible games reviews actually are. (not credible)

http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/devil-may-cry-4-review/1900-6185608/

Same game 8/10 review. Now years later 6/10 review.

Game reviewer have a tendency to go with the trend, if everyone likes something they'll like it if not they won't. It's pretty much the same with every critic of any media. Don't trust any critics they are wishy washy, trust your own opinion.

Watch ten years from now The Witcher 3 will be 6/10 and The Order will be 10/10 that's how reliable critics are. BladeRunner was considered crap by all critics back in days, now they all agree its a masterpiece, goes to show you how reliable critics are.

Just finished The Witcher 3, you know how repetitive that game is. Take quests, follow scent, fight bad guy, kill bandits, kill nests, take quest follow scent, repeat over and over. One of boringest games I've ever played, got 10/10 review, go figure.

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WadeDMcGinnis

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@kazeswen: Two different reviewers. Now you could argue that the one who originally reviewed the game should have been the one to review the remaster however bringing in a new opinion can be valuable.

The thing I think you are missing is the fact that a review is the opinion of the reviewer. Pull what you need from the review and combine it with other reviews, friends who played the game, or let's plays to determine if you should buy.

:)

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kazeswen

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Edited By kazeswen

@wadedmcginnis: Or even better don't bother with reviews and play and judge games based on your own interest and opinion.

Critics are the most useless profession invented by man, considering that most almost always just follow the tide of trend, they really serve little to no purpose.

Beauty's in the eye of the beholder, art or media is always subjective, for this reason there is no need for critics for any medium, because they almost never reflect your own opinion.

If you listen to critics of this generation, you'd believe that The Dark Knight is the greatest film ever made, even better than The Godfather, how ridiculous is that. I can barely sit through any of The Dark Knight films.

I would give critics some respect, if they didn't change there minds all the time. How do you hate BladeRunner one minute and think its a masterpiece the next?

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derceto

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A 6? But..... but...... metacritic says........ :)

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maximus1983

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@gatchan2, dont waist your breath there is no love for the classic franchises we grew up with on this site. more and more i find gamespot to appeal to my tastes less. for a "remaster" this is a great game at least a 8.5 (witch is the original review average if i remember) for one of the first next gen last gen games it has aged remarkably well and still looks beautiful. the port is a true act of loyalty to the fans and is loaded with extra content and priced extremely reasonable. what this reviewer wanted was imposiable and frankly shouldn't be changed. yes there is a lack of levels in this game. half of it is repeating the first half on higher difficulty that has always been a issue but to a lot of us including me it remains my favorite dmc. this review is stupid because we don't need a review of the game and to put it against games in 2015 is not fair (although honestly its battle system is still un-matched and the only real worthy successor is bayonetta) what should have been reviewed was the quality of the remaster and that is excellent!! much more then a simple up rez. look this game is a classic and sits among the top of it genre in its place and time. it is wrong to re-review it and insulting to the original developers because at the time it was so new, and a lot of games have used it as a template. when capcom teased at the idea of bringing it back those of us that loved it were ecstatic and now it is here ! rejoice capcom has delivered! it is the remaster we wanted with so much new content its 25$ price is well worth admission. if you planned to pick this up because a. you are a real dmc fan and loved this game or b. maybe dmc seems interesting and you wanted to see what it was all about for 25 dollars you are getting a remastered classic well worth the investment, this is devil may cry!. ninja theory did a admirable job with their reimagining and that remaster was very good because it fixed what was broken. there isn't anything broken here that needs fixing, this is real devil may cry in its true form and Its awesome that we get to share it on our ps4s and xbox ones!

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Mandrew257

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So is this Gamespot's thing now? Give good games poor scores because click bait?

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simonbelmont2

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@Mandrew257: DMC4 got a 7/10 from Eurogamer when it came out eight years, ago the Eurogamer reviewer mentioned the same flaws that this Gamespot review mentions.

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Gatchan2

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No mention of the quality of this port done by Access Games (aka, my biggest worry of this game)

what a crap review

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StHapns247

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@Gatchan2: "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."

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Goukakyuu91

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Edited By Goukakyuu91

The reviewer keeps reiterating that the game features backtracking: you backtrack through Nero's levels with Dante just like you did in the original DMC4. This gives me the impression that this review is not only a review of DMC4 SE, it's also a review of DMC4 in general. Considering that fact, why has the reviewer not reviewed the game? I haven't seen any mention of the actual gameplay, how deep its combat is or how many combos you can do. Nothing about how well it was written, or how interesting its story is. Nothing about the graphics really, other than 'it looks better than before'. Nothing about the soundtrack... nothing about whether it's sufficiently different from DMC3, or if it gets dull to listen to after a while. Nothing about whether or not it sounds impressive or unique.
It just feels like a very shallow review to me, and there are things that could've been elaborated upon, or explained better.

''You can avoid ... do it any favors'' (paragraph 5). I don't understand why you would consider the Bloody Palace a negative thing. Bloody Palace is a time attack mode, sort of... or time attack crossed with wave/horde mode. Bloody Palace has no bearing on the game's main content, and you are not forced to enter it. I can understand that you think Bloody Palace should've been replaced with puzzles, or at least something more interesting, but it seems a bit silly to criticize the game for containing a time attack mode (which the developer never needed to add, really, it's a bonus).

''The manner by ... point of view.'' (paragraph 7). I've played the original through to the end at least five times, and I can say this is just not true. Yes, the camera is sometimes fixed in one position, but it never gets in the way of what the game asks you to do to progress. For example, there is one part of the game where you have to lock on to floating markers with the DB and launch yourself over two walls (near the Savior statue). Nothing obfuscates your view, nothing gets in the way. ''Determining your position''... I don't know what you're referring to! Can you please give examples in your review? Otherwise everyone is left guessing.

''Puzzle solving is more frustrating than fun''... again, I don't know what you're referring to. There are no puzzles in DMC4 except for the dice game and the Lost Woods puzzle, and the woods puzzle has nothing to do with your devil bringer. Even the dice game doesn't require you to use the DB; you can just slash it with the Red Queen. The dice game is very easy to do, not frustrating at all: all you have to do is press B or circle when the number you want is facing up.

Most of the time in DMC4, all you have to do is time one button press correctly. If you can't manage that, that's not the game's problem. I will say that it's mildly annoying that the camera angles get inverted sometimes when you reach the edge of the map. But there is a simple solution for that: just keep pressing the directional button in the direction you were going before, and your character will keep going forward.

By the way, ''Nero's combo-driven sword-play is bolstered by his pistols'''? No it isn't. Nero uses one revolver, not two. Aside from that, you could even argue that a revolver is not a pistol... though I don't care either way.

About half the review keeps going on about the backtracking. What about the character skins, what about the quality of the characters' new gameplay? We know it looks impressive, we've all seen the trailers... what we need is new information -- information that is argumented well. Information backed up by examples. The game is jam-packed with new content, and it's of very good quality. The game itself is great too: gameplay-wise it still stands above DMC3, and certainly above DmC. I don't necessarily disagree with the score, but I do disagree with some of the reasoning behind it. And I have learned very little from this review.

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vash_xD

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@Goukakyuu91: like

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Goukakyuu91

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@vash_xD: Thanks! I'm just scared that my comment is going to be removed because of its length... it has happened once before. It's not the first time I've read a review that didn't go into much detail either... still, I appreciate the reviewer's views.

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gokuKOG

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For all of you ranting fools who think this game is shit or should not exist or something...just dont buy it. You dont deserve it. Keep playing call of duty your whole miserable lives.

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MJ12-Conspiracy

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And again why bring this trash over to current gen?? why not por a good franchise like IDK......Onimusha?? I guarantee you if they ported Onimusha, fixed some issues like how some puzzles were too difficult or time limit was too short and they improved visuals and all that they'd have a hit.....there's more story in Onimusha 1 than in the entire DMC franchise combined.......

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Edited By Xristophoros

@MJ12-Conspiracy: yea, as far as capcom is concerned, onimusha and viewtiful joe 1/2 still need hd ports as they were neglected last gen. my concern about the first couple onimusha games is that maybe they don't hold up well today with their rough controls and static camera... at any rate, fans of resident evil will eat it up i'm sure.

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parabola15

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Ninja Theory's DMC is much better than DMC 2 or 4. People whine and complain about it but that studio is mooed creative than Capcom which has not done anything impressive creatively since RE 5.

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Xristophoros

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@parabola15: agreed. dmc3, dmc(2013), dmc1, dmc4, and dmc2 in that order.

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CapnXtraObvious

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Edited By CapnXtraObvious

@parabola15: This franchise is done, in my opinion. It's way past its prime and the whole genre is kind of niche. I don't see Devil May Cry getting anywhere anymore.

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Gatchan2

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@CapnXtraObvious: try to imagine if Rocksteady made a DMC game. You say the genre is niche but look at how well Batman does and thats a beat em up at heart as well.

I could see a DMC game where you (Dante) work at Devil May Cry alongside Lady and Trish, and you can freely choose whoever as you take on request missions in an open world town as well as travel to other open world locations via motorcycle or convertable :p

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Xristophoros

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@Gatchan2: open world dmc? i'm there!

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CapnXtraObvious

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@Gatchan2: Well, Devil May Cry is hack-and-slash :P

But get the original designers back. There were some really inspiring designs on some clothes and stuff. Especially in the 7th generation one, where they were finally able to show off the textures better.

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):
    Action, Adventure
    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