This is an even-numbered Devil May Cry installment, with a new protagonist, Nero, and we were uncertain about the Xbox 360’s ability to handle a game that requires a half-hour install process on the PlayStation 3’s hard drive. All of our worrying ended up being for naught. What happens when one runs out of excuses to be negative about a game, then? You sit down and enjoy the hell out of it, that’s what.
The worst criticism one can put forth towards Devil May Cry 4 is that it doesn’t really go over any new ground. In fact, a small bit of the series formula has been scaled back, particularly in terms of the puzzles that hindered progression in the previous titles.
This pretty much means less time running around being lost (unless you’re me, the very blueprint from which Rumiko Takahashi created Ranma 1/2’s Ryoga Hibiki) and more time kicking demon butt.
This is good, because Nero has so many wonderful ways to kick demon butt. Along with the usual guns and swords, he has the Devil Bringer, which has a multitude of uses, from being a stand-in for Scorpion’s spear from Mortal Kombat (“Get Over Here!”) to bodyslams, being a grappling hook, and so much more. Heck, the Bringer’s even useful against bosses, to great spectacle. Capcom actually put a lot of work into Nero, making him a dynamic character who is fun to play as, and as much of a joy to behold in action as the game’s high-resolution graphics. It’s to the point where you hardly miss Dante. Nero’s just that fun.
For those missing classic-flavored devil hunting, Dant becomes playable a little over halfway into the game. His moveset in DMC4 is a gift (or curse, depending on your point of view) to anyone who’s gone through the ardurous process of powering up his DMC3 persona. All of his fighting styles from that title are available here, simultaneously, right off the bat, and can be switched on the fly, along with his weapons. Just as you thought Capcom’s new kid might eclipse the original badass, we get this. I fully expect Youtube to be crushed under the massive weight of Dante combos in the next few weeks.
Story? What story? Sure, there is one, but have we ever cared? It’s Devil May Cry, for God’s sake. Story always took a backseat to the onscreen mayhem in the previous titles, and things are no different here. The game’s pure eye, ear and reflex candy, from the constant combos to the buxom babes to the pulsating soundtrack. DMC4 takes everything good about the original installments and cranks it up to… well, not 11, that’d require a nuclear bomb going off somewhere during the game’s latter half at this point. Certainly a solid nine, though.
That’s all that matters, really. This game is tightly designed and coded, contains tons of abilities to take advantage of, and is just downright fun. Do you love action? Get this.
Versions Reviewed: Xbox 360, Playstation 3