Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Devil May Cry 4 Review (Long overdue)

RATING: Go buy it, just don't expect an awesome story and enjoy it for what it is.

I've been meaning to write a review for DMC4 for the Xbox 360 for a while now. For the time that I played it (before lending it off to my brother), I did enjoy the game, and played it for quite a while. I played starting directly in DEVIL HUNTER mode (I skipped Human mode entirely) then I finished the SON OF SPARDA mode a few days afterwards. Finishing SOS mode took about a week because I would intersperse playing SOS with the 'Bloody Palace' mode that gets unlocked after beating the game once.

The thing that stood out for me the most about Devil May Cry 4 is the gameplay. At Devil Hunter mode, learning how to mix up attacks and combos is pretty important, especially in later levels when faced with tougher enemies like Angelos (who can block your attacks quite easily). The game has a system which lets you buy new abilities by earning Proud Souls. You get these after each level. You can also improve your character by getting Red Orbs which let you increase your health and spirit energy.

I also found the boss monsters quite challenging in my first playthrough. Later on, since the game makes you fight the boss characters over and over again, you'll figure out that there are certain techniques which make fighting them easier.

The cutscenes in the game are very well-rendered; they're testament to the power of Capcom's MT framework game engine, which I think is superior to Epic's Unreal Engine 3. Unfortunately, in terms of story content, the cutscenes don't really have that much . The story in the game is really, really simple, and I'd say that it's just there to put a bit of purpose to the action (if you must know, the story is a lot like Mario....'save the princess' then save the world in the process). I don't really have a problem with the simplicity of video-game plots; so long as the game is fun and the story doesn't get in the way of delivering an overall great 'game' experience, I think that a game is worth recommending. I could spend a lot of time nitpicking story points but I realized that this game wasn't really meant for that purpose. The action in the game is top-notch and very challenging (if played starting out with DEVIL HUNTER mode). I skipped HUMAN mode because I heard that this was the mode in the demo of the game (downloadable from xbox live). I found the demo to be less than appealing in terms of challenge, so for the full game I decided to go straight to Devil Hunter mode, and thus I had a more enjoyable experience.

Another thing I really enjoyed about DMC4 was the Bloody Palace mode. This is essentially a survival mode, where you have to stay alive and beat all the enemies before the time expires. From what I've read this is about 100 stages, and thus far I've only been able to make it to Stage 20+ (after fighting the boss, Berial). It's a great way to explore the gameplay options available to each character; it lets you learn more about the available combos and skills and how to use them effectively.

Perhaps the only thing that I didn't like about the game was the fact that it makes you fight some of the boss enemies over and over again. I wish that Capcom introduced more scenarios instead of teleporting you to the boss area instantly for some stages. I did enjoy one boss character in particular, and that's Credo. He offers the most challenging fight in the game (when you start out, you don't have that many abilities; perhaps that added to the challenge factor). He's also a well designed character and one of the more interesting new additions to the series. It's just too bad that *SPOILERS* they kill him off pretty quickly *END SPOILERS*

Also, it's a bit unfortunate that Dante seems to overshadow Nero at every opportunity. Because they had Dante in the game, it seemed to me that Nero appeared more like a secondary character for the series. From what I've read, they were supposed to pass on the torch to Nero as the new hero of DMC; but based on this game, Nero just doesn't seem as interesting as a character compared to Dante. Nero also doesn't really get that many moments to make his character more interesting for players. However, maybe that's only because it's obvious that developing a good story wasn't really the emphasis for the game design of DMC4 to begin with. Nero does get the Devil Grabber/Snatch ability (thanks to his arm), which makes him superior to Dante in terms of executing continuous combos. That said, I hope that they just pair these two characters up again for DMC5. I don't think Capcom should retire Dante yet.

Overall, DMC4 gets my recommendation, for players who want a game that has challenging gameplay values and if you're willing to overlook the lack of story content. This game made me interested in the series (it's my first DMC game, by the way), and now I'm looking forward to DMC5, which will hopefully be made for the current generation of consoles.


  1. The black ranger is freaking sweet though :(

    Anywho I really like the game, although the first few levels felt like it was dragging me, Truth be told the absence of weapons for Nero made the game a little boring, One of the reason i liked the DMC3 was because of cerberus, I mean the reason i like the older games tons of weapons.

    Anyway good review :) =D

  2. Imagine if Lost Odyssey ran on this engine!

    Only advantage Unreal Engine has is probably its UI for non-insider third party devs. I think Capcom's is built solely for their use and wasn't designed to be third-party developer friendly...

    DMC4 I think is a good game, I have it on my PS3 but I never got around to finishing it. The story is frankly too disappointing and the enemies get repetitive.

  3. Thanks for reading. To be honest I wrote this review in a bit of a rush...work's catching up with me lately so I haven't been updating the blog much.

    I think I mentioned it in the review, I'm a total DMC n00b so I didn't really know what to expect. I guess that's another factor why I thought the game was really enjoyable. It all felt so new to me. In a way I'm hoping that Capcom would release the older games in some other form (Xbox Live Arcade or whatever other platform) so I can get to try the previous titles in the franchise.

    I haven't bought any new games lately because money's a bit tight nowadays. So I'm just squeezing out the rest of the achievements on my current games. Currently I'm on VF5 again. It seems to me there's more players online now; maybe it's because VF5 got announced for WCG 2008, and there are more players interested because of this? That said, more players on VF is great news. I wish they had VF in arcades here in the Philippines; maybe it would be more popular for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 if that were the case.

  4. "I wish they had VF in arcades here in the Philippines; maybe it would be more popular for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 if that were the case."

    Just to clarify, I meant to say VF5 would be more popular LOCALLY for the PS3 and the 360 if the arcades had the game ;D

    On that note, Tekken 6 is EVERYWHERE here. Ok, that's a gross exaggeration; but it's everywhere that I go. I've been to about four big malls where I've seen a Tekken 6 machine. T6 is quite impressive but for some reason the characters look so boxy to me. VF's character designs look more organic/well-rounded. Maybe it's a matter of preference....

    With all that stuff I wrote here, maybe I should have made a new blog post! Haha

  5. I've tried dead rising, lost planet and dmc 4, I do feel the Capcom MT Framework is a godsend for xbox 360. It is quite sad that its a Capcom-only affair. After watching the developer video for RE 5 xbox 360, every game made by Capcom for the xbox 360 seems to look nothing short of amazing. Graphics are crisp, clear and smooth. I am praying now that the new Unreal Engine update for Gears 2 will smoothen out the framerates.

  6. I agree; Unreal Engine 3 really needs to work out the way it portrays cutscenes and it needs more framerate consistency. It also seems to me that only Epic Games knows how to use the engine right; everyone else looks like they're struggling to get consistent performance out of it.

  7. I wouldn't hold my breath. Haven't you guys seen the tech demos for UE 3.5-powered GOW II? The engine really hasn't aged well. You know when they're bragging about new water effects and shadows that they're running out of ideas.