Review by Phange
"Incredible production values offset a good deal of repetition"
If Devil May Cry 4 is any indication, graphics have taken a significant leap forward in a very short amount of time. Whereas the last generation of consoles brought cinematic cutscenes to life, games like DMC 4 are bringing them into your hands. It's an amazing accomplishment that Capcom should certainly be proud of, but Devil May Cry 4 is not without fault and some are quite significant, and prevent the near-perfectly executed combat and presentation from making a flawless package.
One of the most significant flaws of Devil May Cry 4 is the amount of sheer repetition it has; much like the original Halo, half the game is spent backtracking through areas you've visited before. But, as Dante, all the puzzles are already solved and many of the areas important towards those puzzles are blocked off entirely. The levels are, therefore, considerably shorter, and much easier. It's like getting halfway through a game, only to find out the other half had a huge drop in difficulty and polish. To be fair, Dante controls fantastically and his combat is more refined than Nero's, but one can't escape the fact that his half of the game is poorly-conceived.
Devil May Cry 4 looks phenomenal, both in cutscenes and in-game. The in-game engine cutscenes look better than most FMV's of the previous generation, which is nothing short of staggering, but the game itself runs at a framerate as smooth as silk which is even more impressive.
Character models may be a bit too Final Fantasy-ish for some people's tastes (Nero certainly fits the bill of a Squall-meets-Sora) but they're nonetheless highly detailed and expressive. The special effects are jaw-dropping, as are the boss battles.
It's your typical DMC fare, with an aria in the opening added for good measure (and a surprising degree of sincerity to a series known for being somewhat insincere and slapstick).
The voicework is very solid; I found Nero to be more believable and well-performed than Dante, but there weren't any weak points in this game aside from the painfully annoying (on purpose, fortunately) stuttering scientist.
The combat system has been further refined from Devil May Cry 3, though there appears to be a shift in focus from defense to offense (the best defense is a good offense, eh?). Some may not appreciate this change, but I find it refreshing. Dante feels much more powerful but less agile than before, and Nero's arm certainly changes the dynamics of combat. Whereas, with Dante, you'd be chasing all the enemies you knocked away, Nero can merely pull them back so he can blast 'em again. It's an interesting change in the speed of combat.
The level structure is mostly the same as before, although the puzzles are much easier and less invasive.
Devil May Cry 4 isn't perfect, but it is overflowing with first-rate production values and a wonderful combat system that rewards repeated-play and memorization of enemy movements. In all, it's a great game and worth purchasing.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/26/08
Game Release: Devil May Cry 4 (US, 02/05/08)
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