Devil May Cry 4 Review
By Dan McKenney
I, like many others, have always been intrigued by the Devil May Cry series. Having never played one before, I was surprisingly optimistic about Devil May Cry 4 for the Xbox 360. The games have had a large, supportive fanbase, so I figured I'd give it a go. Unfortunately, Devil May Cry 4 has disappointed me in many ways, and has left me without a single urge to play through the rest of the game, and as such, my impressions of the game are only from 5 hours of playtime.
NO! STOP! DO NOT HIT "LEAVE COMMENT" AND BEGIN TO TELL ME ABOUT HOW I SHOULD GIVE IT MORE OF A CHANCE! IT DOES NOT DESERVE IT!
At first, me and Devil May Cry 4 shared a loving, heartwarming relationship between a man and his game. The jaw-dropping visuals impressed me, the load times were surprisingly short, and the combat system left me giddy with delight. But as I went on in the game, I began to realize how mind-numbingly repetitive it grew to be. But, let's get on with the review already, shall we?
In DMC4, you start the game as Nero, a white-haired bada$$ with a huge attitude, who fights with his gun and his sword. Later on, you'll get to play as series lead Dante, who (surprisingly enough), is...also a white-haired bada$$ with a huge attitude, who fights with his gun and his sword. In the middle of a meeting of the Order of the Sword, which is some form of Catholic government formed against the demonic Hell-spawn monsters that seem to multiply like a pair of rabbits, Dante busts in and kills Sanctus, the leader of the Order. Nero is sent to track down Dante, but uncovers the truth along the way about the Order. While it certainly isn't award-winning material, it gives the game a starting point to develop from right?
Can you tell the difference? Neither can I.
DMC4 then decides to take what it has created in what most people call a "storyline" and then throw logic out the window. Aside from the occasional cutscene, the storyline really has no effect on the game at all. You'll be fighting the same enemies in pretty much the same environments of an area so the door unlocks allowing you into the next room. Over and over again. And it's not like the scenery ties in with the game, as one minute you'll be fighting on an ice field, and the next you'll be in a rainforest. And it's not like the game hinted at it either. You remember how in the Ocarina of Time, Hyrule was split up into different themed sections with the field as the central hub? Devil May Cry thought it would be a good idea to take all those sections and put them in a straight line in no particular order, and sprinkled cutscenes and attitude all over the place, just making a mess of things.
However, the changing scenery is a slight remedy for the repetitive combat. Evn though Devil May Cry 4 allows you to purchase new combo moves and attacks, the enemies are pretty much the same, and each battle can be won the same exact way (tape the Y button and RB down while you get something to eat). And while the combat may be a little too similar, it is perfected in a way that is easily customizable and understandable. You'll easily be able to perform devastating combos without setting the combo system to "automatic mode" in which the game does everything for you.
Another remedy for the never-ending cycle that is DMC4's combat is the Secret Missions hidden throughout the game. Occasionally, you'll find a red tag on the wall that will activate a "Secret Mission". Some of them require skill ("Perform 5 Busters without hitting the ground!"), and some of them give a much-appreciated break from combat ("How high can you get?"). But the fact of the matter is that these secret missions are often either so easy a 3 year old can clear it in a few seconds, or so difficult that you'll kill yourself trying. Some Secret Missions require a certain skill that only Dante or Nero have, and the game makes no point of telling you that Nero can't do a Royal Guard or Dante can't perform a Table Hopper before you sign up for the mission. And once you realize that it's impossible, you can usually walk out a door, kill all the enemies the wrong way, or wait for the timer to run out to "Fail" the mission without any repercussions. However, if you die during the secret mission, it counts as a death, and you'll need to restart from either the beginning of the mission or the last checkpoint.
Devil May Cry 4 feels like an arcade game in disguise, attempting to work it's way onto your shelf by hiding beneath an action game. In combat scenarios, the bigger your combo = the better grade you get for it. Grades start at D and work up to SSS, and the grade will decrease if you're hurt in the process. At the end of each mission, you'll be assigned an overall grade based on points you earned throughout the mission. You can upload your final score to the Xbox Live Leaderboards.
Overall, I don't think that Devil May Cry is a bad game for you to play, I'm just saying that it's a bad game for me. While the combo system has been perfected and the graphics are amazing, Devil May Cry 4 is repetitive and stale. I can see how there is a fanbase for the DMC series, and I can also see how some of you might like DMC4. I, however, found myself begging for the end of each and every level.
So, if anything, give it a shot first. As for me, I'll be spending my time on something a little more enjoyable.
Amazing visuals, surprisingly quick load times, perfected combo system
Repetitive, bland, no innovation
M for Mature: Seriously. The amount of gore is intense.
Devil May Cry 4's achievements certainly aren't going to come easily. While most are the usual fare of beating the game on different difficulties and collect a tons of money, some can be insanely difficult to get (more prominently, ones involving style).