It's actually my favourite of the old series, I have to ask why people really enjoy DMC3, I didn't think it was all that. Unfortunately, the flaws you mentioned stop me from wanting to replay 4 as they spoil what was a brilliant game.
If they hadn't of forced Dante in there, developed Nero more and got rid of the recycling bosses and backtracking I would be re playing it much more. The uninteresting story, boring puzzles and environments also get old fast, but the combat is awesome. Honestly I'd prefer them continuing on with DmC than going back.
DMC3 is a great game, I love it. But imo, DMC4 isn't as bad as some people say. I really enjoy DMC4, and DmC as well.
I find it strange that some people single out the back tracking in DMC4 as major flaw, but DMC1 has quite a bit of it too and you have to fight the same boss with the same Dante. Yeah, I know, each time same boss attacks differently. But still, if fighting the same boss with different character is bad, so is fighting the same boss attacking differently with the same character.
I don't understand why some people who love DMC3 would develop this extremist view that #3 is the greatest and none other in the series can be compared to it (perhaps except the first game.)
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I really enjoyed DMC 4. Like most people, didn't like the backtracking, but then I realized I was playing as Dante. I liked going from Nero's raw power to Dante's more stylish...style. I plan to replay all the games after beating DmC. Yes including 2. I can see why people hate it, but I didnt find it that bad...then again I did play superman for the N64. No man should live through that torture!!!!