Devil May Cry is yet another franchise from Capcom that won't die out for some time. It's inevitable that in the future we'll all be playing a Devil May Cry 5, but for now let's stick to what we've just received.
When it comes to these series of games, the sequels are always expected to deliver. To be better than the previous title. When it came to the shocking Devil May Cry 2, many fans were disappointed. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening was Capcom's redemption for this devil slaying franchise, despite it's insane difficulty. It introduced many new elements to the game, it was damn challenging, and it actually had a good plot. So does the fourth demon pounding adventure live up to its expectations?
I for one, think it does.
Unlike the previous games, the main character of this particular storyline isn't Dante. Instead, the player is given the character Nero. A guy who looks exactly like Dante, just younger. It's strange, as this isn't really explained too well throughout the game, but there are many hints regardless. The story begins in some big church place where a ceremony is being held by the "Order of the Sword", an order swore to fighting demons, and pretty much praising the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda. Nero, one of knights of this order is about to leave when suddenly Dante bursts right through the glass ceiling, lands before the leader of the order and shoots him right in the face. This will probably leave the player thinking "WTF?" as Dante begins to fight the order's knights, effortlessly defeating them, before confronting our new protagonist Nero. The rest rolls from there.
I for one enjoyed the overall storyline but I can see and understand how some players may not, but the fantastic graphics and over the top and stylish cut scenes will keep the player interested. There will be many times the player or his/her friends watching will go "Aw bullshit!" to certain moments but you have to remember - it is Devil May Cry. Although because of Nero and his love interest Kyrie, the storyline does become quite deep, and even feels so with the voice acting and dialog. It's quite a refreshing thing to see.
Devil May Cry 4 plays pretty much the same to the previous titles as it continues to use the "Style" system, once again however because of Nero, things are indeed quite different. The combat system remains the same. Nero can shoot enemies using his dual barreled revolver "Blue Rose", he can attack enemies with his sword the "Red Queen", he can jump, roll, dodge etc, however the most important aspect of Nero is his right arm. The "Devil Bringer".
Again, this isn't explained too well but Nero's right arm is entirely demonic, and full of power. By pressing circle near enemies, Nero can literally grab onto them and, depending on the enemy, slam them into the ground, throw them away, pull enemies towards himself or vice versa. It is quite cool and really adds to the enjoyment of combat. The Devil Bringer can also be used for Nero to make extreme jumps in certain locations, but these little things can be annoying as you may frequently miss certain times to execute the next jump.
While Nero may not have any fighting styles as Dante had in Devil May Cry 3, he packs a lot of moves. Not to begin with, of course. These new moves are acquired through the use of "Proud Souls", items like money which you receive at the end of every level. These Proud Orbs can be used to upgrade all of Nero's abilities as well as acquire brand new ones. The Proud Soul system is much better than using Red Orbs to buy skills and items, as Red Orbs are now used only for items. It is unfortunate however that Nero does not acquire any new weapons or guns, but his overall skills can really make up for that.
At some point during the game, players will take control of the Son of Sparda, Dante. Dante packs a lot of punch, as he has his four fighting styles from the previous game however the trick this time is the player can switch between them in-game (even in combat) in real time. It's really good to see this, in the previous game it was quite annoying how you couldn't do this, but now you can go from Trickster, to Sword Master to Gunslinger all in five seconds of game play. It's great.
Unlike Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Dante does not gain experience for using his styles of combat. In order to level up the styles, you must use Proud Orbs, just as Nero does. And finally for Dante, he has the ability to acquire new weapons, from different guns to different melee weapons, although not as much as Dante's Awakening, which is a slight disappointment.
The major problem of playing as Dante is that you will be doing a lot of back tracking through the levels you previously completed as Nero, only going backwards instead of forward. This makes Dante's segment feel somewhat repetitive at times, especially that you fight the same bosses as Nero (it doesn't make sense now but when you see for yourself, it will). Speaking of which, this could be perhaps be the game's biggest flaw - repetition.
What else is repetitive is some of the puzzles, the biggest example could be the Gyro Blade statues, which Nero must continuously hit with his Devil Bringer or Red Queen sword in order to move them from one place to another. This can feel extremely slow, especially when you accidentally whack the statue in a place you don't want to go. Combat may also feel tedious at times when you run into one room, fight enemies, run into the next and fight more enemies. Finally the most repetitious thing of the game is the soundtrack. While I personally enjoy the song and believe it suits the fights, I find it annoying how the rock/metal song that plays during most fights is the exact same song. It would be nice if there was more variety in the music, from just music along to more songs in general.
One of the most amazing things in this game is the boss fights, which this time around have certainly borrowed a thing or two from the God of War franchise (although to be fair, we all know God of War borrowed a thing or two off Devil May Cry). While you will fight some humanoid sized bosses, most bosses in the game will take up the entire screen, and will require some quick dodging to avoid their colossal attacks. What is cool though, especially with Nero is should the boss become stunned, Nero can use his Devil Bringer on the boss to deal an attack of "massive damage" (oh yes), which usually involves a sort of cinematic sequence of Nero either beating the living crap out of the boss with his arm, or slamming them right down into the ground from above. It's really cool, like damn awesome to see.
Devil May Cry 4 is by far the best of the franchise. The series hasn't changed too much, but it's changed enough to remain entertaining. Aside from the repetitive puzzles, at times combat, and of course music, Devil May Cry 4 is a welcoming addition to anyone's gaming library, whether you're new to the franchise or not.