The Devil May Cry series originally spawned from taking the Resident Evil franchise in a new direction, with the director of Resident Evil trying out some experiments after RE2. These experiments soon grew into a game of their own, and a new and now-beloved franchise was born. The first Devil May Cry was good enough and warranted a sequel, but Devil May Cry 2 stumbled by most accounts. The series quickly regained its footing with the arrival of Devil May Cry 3, inspiring questions about what Capcom would choose to do with Devil May Cry 4.
We at DailyGame enjoyed the series up to DMC3, and although we wouldn’t necessarily consider any of them must-play games, the first three had a rabid fanbase and were fun to play. They might have all followed a common formula, but that’s a good thing, as you always knew what you were getting would have a high level of quality and polish, challenging boss battles and several different gameplay modes. In other words, Devil May Cry has always had the intangibles to take its game up a notch.
When Devil May Cry 4 was announced for the PS3 and Xbox 360, fanboys went to town proclaiming the loss of this franchise’s exclusivity as a further sign of the PS3’s failure to generate a sufficient user base. This wasn’t a title of the Halo canon or of Resident Evil’s ilk, nor was this an exclusive publisher, but the prestige of having “their” game be a system-exclusive had suddenly vanished. And having played through a Devil May Cry 4 demo several times now, it’s obvious that Xbox 360 fanboys have damn good reason to be excited at the PS3’s “loss.”
The demo has two options. The first, which lasts 10 minutes, includes a typical level from Devil May Cry 4, with some simple puzzles to solve and enemies to take down. Called Mission: Exterminator, it essentially tasks players will killing as many enemies as they can. The second mode, a boss battle called Mission Executioner, has no time limit and provides just a sampling of what’s in store for gamers as they tackle the end of each level. Both demo options are relatively easy if you’ve played previous Devil May Cry games, but if you’re new to it (ahem, Xbox 360 owners), it’s still quite forgiving and provides a good sampling of the gameplay mechanics.
New to DMC4 is the Devil Bringer, with which you can grab enemies and either toss them or constantly batter them into the ground. It also serves as a grappling hook (after obtaining another item) that lets you reach levels and platforms that were previously out of bounds and even target enemies to bring them up close and personal.
Regardless of the mode you fire up first, the initial impression is easily “OMFG this game looks gorgeous,” and if it’s not running at 60 frames per second it’s darn close. No screen shots, no clips, no game trailers you’ve seen do justice to this game. You have to play Devil May Cry 4 to see just how beautiful the pre-rendered backgrounds look. When it shifts to a cut scene, it’s still the same dazzling graphics. Imagine playing through one of the later Final Fantasy titles’ CGI cut scenes — except it’s no longer static, and you’re an active participant, not a passive one.
Although the demo itself is limited, if Devil May Cry 4 follows the other titles in the series, your weapons can be upgraded and more powerful versions can be purchased as you progress through the game. Fans of the series will be pleased to see the combo counter back, but in reality, did it ever truly leave?
Devil May Cry 4 appears to be an impressive step into what we can finally label “Next-Gen gaming,” and it’s an enticing tease at how fantastic future games like Resident Evil 5 are going to look. Fans of the DMC franchise are in for a special treat, although newcomers may wonder whether the amazing graphics will be dragged down by a story whose depth is only about as deep as Lost Planet’s. Either way, Devil May Cry 4 should keep newcomers and fans alike intrigued, and although it won’t likely top anyone’s game of the year lists, it could very well be worthy of a purchase.
Click here to pre-order Devil May Cry 4, including its Collector’s Edition versions, on Amazon.
— Phillip Vollmer