Review by JuanCarlos1

"No one's crying this time"

In the PS2, the DMC games were the action games to top. No other action game had such a deep battle system, all while the music giving you an adrenaline rush. If you like games with styles then look no further, because that what the series it's all about. I'll explain it all better in the review.

Graphics: 8/10

While cut-scenes do look like what you expect form a next-gen console, game play is another thing. The game does runs fast at all times, and if I experienced any slowdown it was 1 or 2 times at most. My problem was that in some areas the backgrounds look nice and detailed, while in others the complete opposite. Like something taken out of a last gen console. Other than that I see no problem other than them not being mind blowing. In cut-scenes I liked the detail to facial animation(not in all characters mind you). It helped a lot in bringing the character's personality come across better than in any other game.

Music/Sound: 9/10

Like its predecessors, the soundtrack is mostly composed of heavy rock with church type sounding music(call it that because of the organs). The perfect fit for a series thats all about demon slaying. The heavy music is mainly reserved for normal and boss battles. It also serves to tell you when enemies appear or are near. For when you're exploring the levels or simply not killing things, there's a more relax, yet daunting ambient music reminiscent of the Resident Evil games. The church type music is reserved more for the cut-scenes which gives them a higher feeling of epic.

Also, the sword clashing sounds crisp and it adds to the game-play experience. The voice overs are top notch for every single character. Although not of Mass Effect caliber(it's not meant to sound as serious), it's still better than the average video game's VA. Specially for both of the protagonists.

Gameplay: 9/10

Without a doubt the games selling and strongest point. Why DMC has so many fans. The game is action adventure. It basically consists of exploring areas slaying demons, but with style. You attain higher grades of style for mixing your attacks the best you can. Meaning that the game penalizes you if you play it as a button masher. You need those better grades to get more red orbs and the new proud souls which serve as the game's currency for buying items and abilities respectively. Both become more expensive each time you buy one. With the abilities they give you this time the choice for a refund. So if you thought the new ability you just bought seems useless you can just get your proud souls back.

First, with new comer Nero you'll have a somewhat different experience than with previous games as he plays different than Dante. He has only one gun and a sword that has... an engine? Its pretty cool though. With the "engine thing" comes something called the "Exceed Attacks". You basically just charge the sword until you fill three gauges. With each gauge you do one attack and allow-es it do more damage and be quicker with normal attacks, or greatly enhanced it when you accompany it with special attacks. As good as it sounds its probable that you'll rarely use it. There's two ways to charge it: first by pressing on the LT button like it was a car's pedal, or by pressing the same button timing it with each attack which is pretty hard. Another new thing to the series is the addition of a grab, although it's only usable by Nero. By pressing the B button you grab the nearest enemy. Each enemy has an unique grab, and a stronger version when you grab them while in DT(Devil Trigger) mode. You can even grab bosses themselves which makes it VERY satisfying.

Some time during the game you'll be switched to use Dante, the real star of the series. Disappointingly though, you don't play half the game with him as we were told, but still, the battles get more exciting(once you get the hang of him) since he gets more two more weapons, two more guns, plus the styles. Five of them to be exact. DMC3 veterans already know what I'm talking about, but for those who don't, styles consist of a specialization. While in all styles Dante keeps his standard combos, each style specializes on something. For example: with the swordmaster style, Dante has more abilities with his sword. With the gunslinger style, he gets more abilities with his gun and so on. Best thing about is that you can switch them on the fly by pressing on the D-Pad. You can also change the equipped weapons and guns on the fly by pressing on the trigger buttons. The combination of all these can make some awesome and infinite combos if you're quick with your hands. Both characters have the ability to get in Devil Trigger mode in which they embrace their demonic power within and become stronger and gain health for a short period of time. You extend the time by buying purple orbs which increase the DT gauge by one. You also do the same with the characters life, although most of them you'll have to find them hidden through out the game or by completing hidden missions.

Storyline: 7/10

Well, I don't know why I'm even rating this since the story isn't the focus of the series, but since it's there I might as well do it. Now, I don't like to spoil stories since surprises are always good... I'll just say that it gets it done. You always have a motivation to going to x and y place with plenty of cool cut scenes along the way. Done in the same over-the-top, goofy style as previous games(thankfully there's no missile riding this time) I'll do say this though... Nero and his girlfriend's Kyrie relation did sorta moved me a bit. Mainly because of what I said at the beginning. The facial expressions are more expressive and tell the characters personality better.

Negatives

Ok, the game's not perfect at all. It has quite some flaws. First I'll start with the camera. While you can move it around, most of the time you'll be fighting from a fixed point of view. Meaning that sometimes you'll get attacked by monsters you didn't see and some objects will be in the middle (although they usually get transparent). The backtracking was something that actually didn't bothered me at all, and it wasn't near as bad as magazine reviews led us to believe. In fact, there's none. You just replay some of the levels, which brings me to my main gripe... Dante. While it's fun play as him, he hardly gets any original content in terms of levels. You'll fight the same bosses you did as Nero in the same levels... again. Also the almost last level hits you with the Mega Man syndrome: fighting most of the bosses... AGAIN! With all the time Capcom spend at this game, I would've never expected for them to do something like this in order to make the game just a little bit longer. Another gripe of mine was that even though the battles are fun, game-play hasn't changed much since the 7+ years the series made its debut. Although of course, if it ain't broke don't fix it, but I can't help but think that they could've done something more than just adding a grab to battle mechanics.

Replay Value: 10/10

Although it will probably just take you around 8-15 hours you first time through(depending what difficulty you chose) there's lots for you to do. Once you beat the game you unlock a new difficulty, and a place called "Bloody Palace" in which you fight through levels by time. The better you beat each level, the more time they gave you and allowing you to reach deeper. You also probably won't be able to buy all of Nero's and Dante's abilities in one or two play-throughs. There's also an additional difficulty you can unlock, as well as a mode call hell or hell... although its mainly designed for hardcore fans since you die by just one hit.

Closing Comments

While not exactly a AAA game, I still had more fun with it than with most of those. It's the first game(non online) in this generation that kept me hooked playing through the night even though I had a test next day, bringing back high school memories. I wouldn't say to everyone to go out and buy it, but I do recommend it to everyone to play it somehow.

Score: 8.5/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/15/08

Game Release: Devil May Cry 4 (US, 02/05/08)


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