Sunday, February 24, 2008
Good: Combat, graphics, controls, boss fights
While I may be in the minority with this opinion, I believe the Devil May Cry series (DMC3 in particular) is the pinnacle of hardcore 3D action gaming. Many point to Ninja Gaiden as the best the genre has to offer, but I've always thought it lacks the style, personality, and varied fighting styles that Capcom's series is famous for. Multi-platform for the first time in series history, Devil May Cry 4 should certainly satisfy fans of Dante and company.
Speaking of the white-haired protagonist, he's only half of the story this time around. Don't worry, this change surely won't piss gamers off a la Metal Gear Solid 2's Raiden fiasco. For the first half of the game, you'll be playing as Nero, a white-haired, cocky, sword-swinging, gun-toting, red coated hero with a demonic arm. As I'm sure you can tell, this is wildly different than Dante, who is a white-haired, cocky, sword-swinging, gun-toting, red coated hero WITHOUT a demonic arm.
Nero is actually a lot of fun to play as, and controls somewhat differently than Dante. His demon arm can grasp far-away enemies and slam them down, and he lacks the multiple fighting styles and weaponry that Dante utilizes. It's actually easier to play as Nero, because you don't have to remember style-specific attack inputs or cycle between multiple guns and melee weapons. If you do happen to master Dante, it's possible to string together some truly ridiculous combos that weave between his various fighting styles and weapons. Unfortunately, he doesn't have DMC3's lightning-infused, magic-bat-spawning electric guitar this time around.
My main gripe with DMC4 is the fact that there's a LOT of backtracking. You basically go through the first half as Nero, then backtrack through all of that as Dante, fighting the same bosses over and over again. Granted, you have new weapons and abilities on your way back, but it's still the same environments you saw earlier on. There was a little of this near the end of DMC3, but not nearly as much as in this installment. Fortunately, the boss fights are spectacular, featuring massive, difficult bosses with tons of attacks and animations.
Everything runs at a smooth 60 frames per second, no matter what chaos is occurring onscreen. Some of the environments are a little bland, but all of the enemies animate beautifully. The music is the same odd goth-techno-yelling crap that DMC3 featured, but it's pretty easy to tune it out in the middle of combat.
I still point to Devil May Cry 3 as the best in the series, as it was less repetitive and more challenging than this installment. Despite its minor flaws, DMC4 is still a blast to play through, and should please longtime fans of the series.
First Play: 9.0
Replay Value: 9.0
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