Sunday, July 26, 2015

Game Review: Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition

Hack'n'Slash Action; PS4, XboxONE, PC (Digital Only); Capcom; 2015
Anyone remember Devil May Cry 4? You know that DMC game that had a guy who was like Dante but wasn't Dante as the protagonist and was remembered as recycling levels and bosses over and over again. The one that everyone thought was "Okay" but wasn't the ground breaking, genre redefining game that Devil May Cry 3 was. Yeah, pretty much everyone's minds where changed the moment they saw DmC: Devil May Cry. Anyway, Devil May Cry (the REAL Devil May Cry) is back again with Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition. What's so special about it? That can be summed up in one word: Vergil. But is this new version worth replaying? Read on to find out.

Silver hair, Blue coat, Katana, voiced by Daniel Southworth. Yep, this is Vergil.
The Order of the Sword. A religious organization created to revere the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda and to protect humanity from the evil forces of the Demon World. However, one day their leader is killed by a man in a red coat wielding twin pistols and a large sword. A young knight of the Order, Nero, is sent to find the man believed to be Dante, one of the Sons of Sparda. Armed with only his mechanical sword, The Red Queen, his custom revolver, the Blue Rose, and his demonic right arm, the Devil Bringer, Nero sets out to find Dante, but along his way finds out that the Order has secrets that it wants to remain hidden. What is the Order hiding? What is Dante after? What power is hidden in Nero's right arm? And what happened when Sparda's other son visited the Order many years ago?

The story to DMC4 remains largely unchanged in this new version. It's still overly dramatic, paper thin, and just serves as a way for our heroes to have reason to venture forth and slay a ton of demons. And to that end the story serves it's purpose, although there is a lot that remains unclear by the end of the game. The new story sequences only appear as the opening and ending of the two new character modes: Vergil mode, which takes place many years before DMC4 (presumably before the events of DMC3), and Lady/Trish mode, where our two Devil Hunting ladies that on the roles of Nero and Dante respectively. Unfortunately, these modes don't add that much more story, and while Vergil mode does make a clearer picture for Nero, it STILL leaves a lot unsaid. It's a shame that DMC4 SE doesn't do anything to help flesh out the world more.

Where does she keep all those grenades?
Like all of the Devil May Cry games, the major draw of Devil May Cry 4 is it's combat, and with Special Edition adding three new playable characters (bringing the total up to FIVE characters making DMC4 SE the LARGEST cast in any DMC game) there is a LOT to go though in terms of gun slinging, sword swinging, devil beating action. Nero wields only one set of weapons, with his signature gun and sword combo being the Blue Rose and Red Queen, but makes up for it with his Exceed gauge which will power up his next sword attack and his Devil Bringer which not only allows him to pull enemies closer to him but also allows him to do powerful grapple moves. Dante plays much like his DMC3 incarnation with the exception that all of his styles and weapons are available swap on the fly with the D-pad and left and right triggers, making him customizable for those who want to focus on one set of weapons and style, but an absolute BEAST when swapping between them on the fly. Vergil returns from DMC3 with an all new teleport move and a Concentration gauge, which fills up as you avoid attacks and land every blow and allows you to deal more damage as you fight flawlessly. Lady comes with no Devil Trigger, but with plenty of explosives and guns that allow her to deal MASSIVE amounts of damage as well as Macross levels of Missile volleys. And finally Trish comes equip with her hand guns, Luce and Umbra, and the Devil Arms Pandora and Sparda, as well as her own lightning based devil powers allowing her to trap enemies in long hit combos, too stunned to do anything. And if all those playable characters are not enough, Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition comes with a ton of game modes including Turbo mode, Heaven or Hell mode (you and all enemies die in one hit), and the Legendary Dark Knight mode (where every single room is FILLED to the BRIM with enemies). With all of these game modes, several of which are unlocked from the start, you'll have a hard time not finding some way of spending your time with this game.

Unfortunately, even with all of these new features, characters, and modes there is still one fundamental problem with this game: It's Devil May Cry 4. The same core fundamental issue that was present in the original game, is still present in this Special Edition version, the game recycles WAY TOO MUCH of it's content. Most of Dante's missions (Missions 12-17) involve him running through all of Nero's Missions BACKWARDS and having him fight the exact same bosses with the exact same attack patterns. And after that Nero has to fight all the bosses AGAIN. The previous DMC games did this as well (namely DMC1) but it was never as blatant as it is in DMC4. This problem then gets compounded with Vergil and Lady/Trish modes since they run through the EXACT SAME STAGES as Nero/Dante. This means as Vergil you have to fight the same bosses no less then 3 times with no variation. I know it is probably a bit too much to ask for Capcom to completely redesign the later half of the game, and probably a bit MORE to ask for Capcom to have completely original campaigns for the three new characters, but it's still frustrating to see DMC4 is still in this incomplete state.

Now, it might sound weird that a game with such a HUGE flaw still gets a Highly Recommended from me, but I feel that this game deserves this verdict for several reasons. One, the original Devil May Cry 4 was NOT a bad game. It had the unfortunate position of being the follow-up of one of the greatest Hack'n'Slash games of all time, Devil May Cry 3, and suffered from being incomplete and having to reuse Bosses and Levels probably to make up for a Deadline that was rapidly approaching. Two, this version has a LOT of new content that makes it more than worth purchasing again for those of you who have played the original DMC4. I mean, for several people just playing as Vergil was enough for a purchase. Three, this is actually a REALLY good deal since it is only $25 no matter where you are getting it from. Four, despite being a 7 year old game and one of the early titles for the PS3 and 360, DMC4 STILL looks amazing even compared to the $60 Next Gen PS4 and Xbox ONE games its competing against. And finally Five, This is a chance to make Devil May Cry 5 happen. After DmC: Devil May Cry left a lot of classic DMC fans (like myself) felt cold, Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition serves as an easy conduit for gamers to express the type of DMC game we would like to see in the future. I want to return to the world of over-the-top action with one of the most iconic video game heroes of this genre. And while I don't agree with buying a game just as a form of "voting," I'm sure we all know that if we want to see these games return, we need to speak in some way. And so for all the reasons listed above Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition gets a Highly Recommended.

Oh and Reason Six, We finally can play as Vergil and fight Dante.

Until Next Time.

-CRES, and so Cowboy Nero talks to the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda... wait...

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