It must be said, I’m not a fan.
I’m not a fan of the famous pinging Capcom menus or stat dominated rankings. I’m not a fan of rubbish voice overs and I’m most definitely not a fan of the scary obsession with the female form. I can pretty much take or leave the complete and utter focus on style over substance as well.
I’m not liking much about Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition. But hey, I’ve got to give it a chance I guess!?
Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition is, as the name suggests, the Special Edition of Capcom’s 2008 ninja slasher. Reworked for the latest, more powerful generation of videogame consoles, the Special Edition features all that was present in the previous version but adds three new characters, a ton of visual prettiness and a difficulty mode that is, well, bloody difficult.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition is aimed solely at fans of the genre and those who wish to rekindle the late-noughties glory years of fast paced melee assaults.
It’s not aimed at me in the slightest then.
But strangely I’ve found myself slightly drawn to Devil May Cry 4. Not enough to drop everything else in order to play it, but just enough to let me get through this review without wishing I was being hit by a ton of Summoner Swords or a blast of the Kalina Ann rocket shooter.
With a story running through the background that I just couldn’t give a damn about, and five characters who I either dislike immensely (I’m looking at you Vergil) or am amazed can perform the gymnastic ninja skills required of them (Hi Trish), my time with Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition doesn’t really start off too well. Many may find themselves completely enthralled by the over-the-top acting whilst Nero hunts down the truth behind the Order of the Sword, but it makes little sense to me and nothing about the tale draws me in enough to care otherwise. Instead, I found myself much more interested in the gameplay mechanics more than anything else.
And if I’m being completely honest, for some fast paced, happy go lucky violence, Capcom have nailed the Special Edition down to a tee. Smooth is the name of the game, and whether you’re dishing out melee attacks, throwing numerous magical swords the way of the mutilated enemy or sitting back with the biggest shotgun you can find, locking on to your targets and mashing the fire button for eternity, then you’ll be in for a glorious ride though some of the best fighting sequences you’re ever likely to witness. Weapons and Combos are in plentiful supply and whilst the mashing can at times get a bit ridiculous, it’s pretty cool to see Nero, Dante, Vergil, Lady and Trish pulling off their own unique moves, with their own distinctive weapons and skills, all of which can be upgraded once the required number of orbs and points have been earnt.
Whilst we are set for a lovely ride through some of the best close combat fighting Capcom can offer, it’s just a shame the rest of the game bores me immensely.
After battling through the same old tutorial for each character, with just some slight amendments depending on the character you’ve chosen and the unique weapons they bring, the 20 levels that are found in each storyline all merge into one big bash-a-thon; one that is briefly split up by rewarding you with that famous ranking at the end of each section. Whilst Capcom have tried their best to mix things up slightly with the addition of a few puzzles, push buttons and thought provoking moments, the majority of Devil May Cry 4 ends up as a ‘clear the area before heading to the next area’ rinse and repeater that gamers of a certain age just can’t be done with anymore. Repetition is an ugly thing, and teaming it up with a horrid camera system (near on a par with the trash that Capcom dealt out in the original Resident Evil) and a map that does nothing like its name implies, and you’ll find yourself in for a ride that takes longer than it really should as it stops off at every mind numbing mashup along the way.
I have to admit the visuals are lovely, with some of the battle arenas and linear areas coming across very nicely, but as mentioned earlier, I’m not really one for needing to watch virtual females bounce and grind their way across a battle floor anymore. Maybe it’s the 40 year old male in me showing my age, but I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be all that bothered if I was half that again. Even when playing as a male character, the obsession with the opposite sex does, at times, come across as nothing more than sheer unadulterated fixation. It’s not something I’m completely comfortable with.
It must be said however, that if you delve deep into the murky world of Capcom’s Special Edition, then you’re going to find yourself an absolute ton of content and secret areas to find. Albeit, secret areas which no doubt add to that repetition problem I mentioned earlier and a slightly annoying lag being present that pushes each and every menu into a bit of a sad state. It’s a bit of a strange one really, with the game playing like silk but the menus holding things back, needing you to get all frustrated with your controller once too often. Throw in the inclusion of three difficulty levels, from the super easy ‘Human’ mode, up through and past ‘Devil Hunter’ and on into the craziness that the ‘Legendary Dark Knight’ brings, and if you are one of those entwined in the world, then Devil May Cry 4 is going to keep you busy for a long while.
For me though, Devil May Cry 4 is nothing more than a perverted slash-happy, super fast paced, slightly humourous, cut-scene obsessed Japanese title that consists of a ton of style and very little substance. As a spectacle, it’s all pretty awesome; but it’s the material stuff that really should be the main focus of a game and at no point do I get that feeling with the Special Edition.
It’s most definitely got its place, but unless you’re a huge fan of the whole East Asian scene, then you’re probably best of giving it a miss.
But I await the full force of DmC fans completely disagreeing with me on that one!