Chances are if you have owned a Playstation in the past then you will know the Devil May Cry franchise. Well thanks to the increasingly high costs of creating computer games for current generation consoles, Capcom have made the smart move to bring the series multi-platform. That means that all you lucky Xbox 360 owners can all get a taste of what all the fuss is about (sorry Wii owners, hamsters on a wheel cannot run this graphical masterpiece).
Devil May Cry features a similar style of gameplay to Ninja Gaiden, with a unique style and a long lasting reputation of being one of the hardest series in gaming history. Thankfully Devil May Cry 4 continues this trend, whilst bringing the difficulty curve to a fairer and more balanced level. Unlike previous titles you will be taking control of a new main protagonist, Nero, who holds his own against the previous Dante. Nero begins the game with his trusty sword, Red Queen, and a revolver which is known as Blue Rose (Capcom love colours). Both of which are capable of several moves from the offset and complete a long list more when unlocked.
Unlocking new abilities and skills is devilishly [Fired! -Ed] simple. As you progress through the game you will be awarded ‘proud souls’ depending on your performance throughout the missions, based on certain criteria, such as performing stylish combo attacks or completing the missions at a fast pace. These proud souls can be exchanged at several checkpoints throughout most environments, and can later be redeemed if your new skills/abilities are not to your liking. This system provides a flexible and forgiving take on typical character progression; you simply cannot go wrong. The new skills/abilities will affect your progression throughout the game and you will inevitably find yourself longing for abilities which you lack in certain situations, such as more airborne attacks for flying foes or avoidance abilities when facing multiple enemies. Whilst the character customisation does not hold much depth and additional weaponry / fighting styles would be welcome, the option to change the gameplay to suit your tastes is a required and thankful addition.
Cue Dante, the popular antihero! During Devil May Cry 4 you will get the chance to take control of the previous protagonist, and his array of arsenal too. When the flip between the two characters finally takes place you will certainly be confused and left bewildered with the sudden change in control; however, in the end you will still be thankful for the period of change which comes just before repetition overwhelms.
Controlling Nero (and later Dante) you must obliterate all form of demon which often enjoys blocking your path. A combination of differently timed button presses will initiate different attack combinations. Whilst this may seem confusing and difficult to handle at the start, you will quickly master the different combinations until you are capable of streaming them together. With each strike you land you will be rewarded with a style grade, rising from a low D up until the S’s (S obviously follows DCBA, duh). Whilst the storyline you progress through is not deep, it is rewarding thanks to the fantastic characters and cutscenes which simply improve further as the game progresses.
As previously mentioned the Devil May Cry series is renowned for its difficulty, and the developers have taken heed of this reputation by decreasing it to a more welcoming pace. The average gamer will have little cause for concern, enjoying the fairly balanced level of difficulty throughout. The main trouble you are likely to encounter in Devil May Cry comes in the form a clumsy camera which happens to change viewpoint at all the wrong moments and a save system that makes death far more frustrating that it needs to be (for goodness sake don’t die!).
The main downfall of Devil May Cry however is repetition. Whilst the games encounters are fantastic, both graphically appealing and intensely enjoyable, they will be repeated a hell of a lot! Your first encounter with new enemies or boss is very rarely (if ever) your last, as you will encounter them time and time again. Whilst this is understandable given the nature of typical enemy drones, having to fight the same boss not twice, but three time, is simply ridiculous. Not that the enemy repetition was enough, the environments are repeated also as you must traverse the same cliff faces and progress through the same hollow halls several times over.
The problem is: Devil May Cry 4 is so detailed, so superb graphically, and just so damn exciting - the repetition isn't that much of an issue. The quality of everything from the environments to the models, even down to the slick animations is superior to most titles currently gracing the Xbox 360. This also goes for the fantastic voice acting, metal clashing sound effects and fitting, if typically forgettable, rock styled background music. It is as simple as that. The compilation of quality will often leave you breathless and if that was not all, Devil May Cry 4 holds without a doubt some of the best cutscenes that have featured in a game, literally loitered throughout the campaign. You will not go long before you are presented with another piece of cinematic storytelling in-between the intense demonic battles. They're so good, you'll be more than happy to trapse through the repeated battles just to hit the next cutscene.
Completing the game fully, experiencing all the game has to offer, will no doubt take 30+ hours of active gameplay. When you are finished with the starting modes, you will unlock additional modes. When you have completed a level for progression, you can once again complete it for beating your friend’s mission scores. Devil May Cry 4 will easily keep you busy for quite a while after competition, if the lengthy first play through was not satisfying enough.
Overall, if you have played and enjoyed the previous Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden titles, you are likely to enjoy Devil May Cry 4. Devil May Cry 4 is an action packed blockbuster featuring some of the best elements to be seen on a console, conveniently masking the flaws.