Hokay. After 80 hours of playtime and S ranking Dante Must Die and the Bloody Palace, I think I'm ready to give a somewhat mildly informed review of Devil May Cry 4. Yep, better get used to me saying how much time I put into the game. That way you'll know if I actually bothered with it, and to what extent.
Let's start off by saying that Devil May Cry 3 is one of my favorite games of all time. One of the few games I would give an S rank to, if you will. No, a perfect score doesn't mean a game is perfect, get the fuck out. If that's what it meant, no game would ever get it and you'd be better off taking the highest score out of your scale. All of you idiots holding off from giving a game a perfect score because it's not "perfect", I'm sorry to inform you suicide is your only option. Sure, there were some things DMC1 did better than 3. Like enemy design. Or the fact that its DMD mode wasn't the most sadistic torture device ever conceived. But the incredible depth of DMC3's battle system compared to 1 outweighs anything 1 may have done better.
At this point you might be saying "So is this a review of DMC4 or a comparison of 1 and 3?" or maybe even "Wow, this guy sure likes to ramble." To the former people, yeah, I'm getting to DMC4. To the latter, fuck you. In any case, the big question here is whether or not DMC4 lives up to the brilliance of DMC3. I'll be honest here: I'm not completely sure. Yep, that's right, I just blew 80 hours into the game and I'm still not sure. If you think about it, that actually means the game is good, and is worth getting. But let's look at it with a higher degree of detail, shall we?
Alright, first of all, do not expect DMC4 to kick your ass in the same way DMC3 did. It's not as hard as DMC3. Not by a long shot. Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. In normal difficulty, the lower difficulty is a bad thing. I only died once on the first boss, which is pretty bad considering I was expecting to die at the very least 20 times. I guess they must be trying to reach out to the casual gamer or something. I mean seriously, the game even has a tutorial on the first battle. That's bullshit. Everyone knows you're supposed to fumble around and get your ass kicked while learning the controls like in DMC3. Fuck the casual gamer. So yes, in normal and hard, the lowered difficulty is pretty much a bad thing. It's only on DMD that the game starts to present a challenge. Still, it's nowhere near the insanity that was DMD in DMC3, and in this case, it's not really a bad thing. In DMC3, DMD mode was so brutal it was barely even practical. DMC4 offers a much more balanced difficulty by going back to the way DMC1 handled things. That is, if you manage to kill enemies fast enough, you can prevent them from using their devil trigger and becoming a huge pain in the ass. In DMC3, if you killed a couple enemies, the rest would automatically devil trigger. Nothing like beating on a skeleton for hours because he has more health and defense than god.
Therefore, while I would have appreciated it if they hadn't lowered the difficulty of normal and hard so much, the decision to use the DMC1 model for DMD is appreciated, as it makes the mode a whole lot more practical and less tedious than DMC3, not to mention less frustrating and annoying.
Another thing DMC4 takes after 1 from, is the better enemy design. One of DMC3's flaws is that the enemies are largely uninteresting, having usually only a single attack, most being some form of a scythe slash. And we're not even mentioning how we have seven variations of the same skeleton each with only a mildly different attack, and god knows how many boring fucking chess pieces. Oh, guess I did mention it. Anyway, DMC4 doesn't suffer from this, as the enemies tend to be varied and have several moves. Not to mention doesn't have enemies nearly as annoying. Of course, we still have a couple of the punching bag variety for when you just want to beat stuff up. Overall, in the department of enemy design, DMC4 clearly wins over 3. I will say, however, that while DMC4's bosses are fun, they aren't as good as the ones in 3.
So anyway, if you haven't been living under a rock, you've heard that Dante isn't the main character anymore. Now they've thrown this Nero kid at us. I thought I wouldn't like him but he's actually not bad. He is limited compared to Dante, having only one weapon and one gun, and no styles to change, but is still surprisingly fun to play as. The sheer power of his grab moves and his impossibly strong gun that can knock down just about anything twice from any distance makes him more efficient than Dante, even if he is less stylish. Granted this didn't become apparent to me until I was S ranking DMD mode. Before that I was sure Dante was better than Nero. His devil bringer is pretty fun and has different grab moves based on who you use it on and even sometimes is different on the same enemy. The snatch also opens possibilities like bringing grounded enemies up to the air with you without having to actually launch them. I'd say this is a good character that's well received due to low expectations.
Now Dante, on the other hand... you do not want to see what they did to the guy. Avert your eyes! It's almost too much to bear. Seriously, you gotta sit down for this one. Remember how they were saying Dante would have more weapons than all of the other games combined or some insane shit like that? Yeah, I'm not sure who said that either, but whoever it was apparently passed Peter Molyneux's bullshit 101 class summa cum laude. In DMC3 Dante has an amazing 5 weapons and 5 guns at his disposal. In DMC4 he only has 3 weapons and 3 guns. Way to underachieve, guys. But the butchering doesn't stop there. Remember how badass running on walls with the trickster style on DMC3 was? Yeah, you better go ahead and relegate that to the realm of your dreams because they've taken the option right out of DMC4. Multiple trickster dashes at any time? Forget about it. Remember the badass crazy combos you could do with all the weapons back on DMC3? Add another thing you can forget about. They've taken that out, and the only crazy combo you can do now is the Rebellion's million stab. The kickass enemy surfing action in DMC3? Nope, sorry to piss in your cereal but there'll be none of that here. Wildstomp? Yyyyeah, no. I could go on but I think you get the idea. So not only does Dante have a lot less moves than he did in DMC3 as a consequence of having less weapons and guns, he also has moves that were cut from DMC3 when they could have been kept and the only style that hasn't had moves taken off is Royal Guard. Even the Dark Slayer style is only a shadow of its former self. Though this I suppose I can live with since Dante isn't even supposed to use the Dark Slayer.
When it comes to weapons, I don't like the gauntlets as much as the ones from DMC3. While the new weapon, Lucifer, isn't bad, it's a far cry from the likes of things like the Cerberus, Agni and Rudra, and Nevan. On the guns side, the new Pandora is cool, being able to use different moves to transform into different things, but it is still no substitute for actually having different guns with different moves each. No, sorry, just because it transforms into different things with every move doesn't mean it's several guns. It's still just a cheap substitute for it.
The only redeeming feature Dante has in this game is that he can now switch between all his weapons and styles on the fly. That's right, they've regressed from DMC3 cutting god knows how many moves, and instead added in a single line of code that lets you switch between all the weapons and styles. I'd better watch out, I've got some serious competition for my Lazy Bastard title. What they did here was give you immediate versatility by placing all the moves at your disposal at the cost of true variety and overall depth. I will concede that being able to switch styles opens up possibilities. However, that is still no excuse for what they've done. I would rather have more moves, weapons and guns than simply being granted the possibility to use everything I have at once. Besides, they could have had more weapons and still let you switch between three. DMC3 was amazing in the astronomical leap in combat depth and sheer amount of amazing things you could do compared to 1. You would expect its successor to have more things. Hell, at the very least to have the same amount of things. But never to take them away. You've set the fucking bar yourself, then you go and lower it way back down and expect to get away with that shit? Not on my watch. Everyone else may overlook it but I'll call you the fuck out.
In any case, I've said a lot but the basic thing to understand here is that, while DMC3 focuses on the player, giving you a huge amount of combat possibilities, with the enemies oftentimes relegated to mere punching bags, DMC4 shifts the focus a bit more towards the enemy, somewhat akin to DMC1, while at the same time retaining some of the combat advancements made by 3. If you liked DMC1 more than 3, you will probably like 4 more than 3 as well. Me, I like both systems. Although DMC4 looks like it might have had the potential to excel in both, since it has both complex enemies and punching bag scarecrows to go balls out on. Shame they took such a step back with Dante. Maybe next time. Would be nice if DMC5 made a leap as astounding as DMC3 did.
Moving on, let's wrap up some loose ends. Music. Shawn McPherson is back, with a similar musical style to DMC3. That's a good thing in my book, although frankly I liked his DMC3 songs more. Yeah that's right, I liked his songs in DMC3. You can go ahead and sue me for my terrible taste in music. I don't think I've heard of anyone who didn't hate it. Or maybe the haters are just more vocal. Who knows. In any case, you know what to expect.
You can also expect the classic DMC over the top cheesy cutscenes. And in classic DMC fashion, there will be some scenes you won't ever want to subject yourself to again. Overall they're good, though I liked the ones in DMC3 more. One thing to note: Dante. Seems his combat repertoire wasn't the only thing that suffered a regression, as his maturity did as well. This Dante seems closer to his teen self than the one from the first game. Though to be fair, he delivers lines so embarrassing in this game that they make his teenage self look like the pinnacle of maturity. "First I whip it out... then I thrust it!" Spare me!
Voice acting's mostly good. Yeah, keeping with tradition there'll still be weird lines here and there, you can rest easy.
We've got the traditional modes here. Normal, Hard, DMD. What's that? Easy? Oh yeah, I think they had something like that in there. Maybe. Frankly at this point they should know adding an easy mode is pointless as no one will ever want to play it. Am I wrong? Somebody, am I wrong? Everybody in here at the office with their headsets on said "you're not wrong". Heaven or Hell mode is back. Why? Who knows! Apparently someone thought killing everything in one hit was cool. It's still the hardest mode in the entire game, as you have to be a hardcore motherfucker not to fall asleep halfway through from boredom. New this time around is Hell and Hell mode, where you die in one hit but enemies don't. Half the people just said "Sounds fun" and the other half said "Nigger, that's insane!" Well, I gotta tell ya, not really. To both halves. It's not really as insane as it sounds, because you're given 3 lives which are renewable every time you start again from a checkpoint. But more importantly, the enemy AI and power is dumbed down from DMD. As such, the mode ends up being neither as hard nor as fun as DMD.
Lastly, Bloody Palace is back with 100 floors of enemies and bosses. Nice, if you feel like beating stuff up, though I can't say I'm terribly fond of it. Trouble is, floors 1-80 or so are easy street, but they take around 2 hours to get through. That means you have to hack your way through 2 hours of cannon fodder to get to the good part. If that's your thing, great. I've never been much of a fan of repeating 2 hours of something easy I already did to get to the part I want a shot at. Strangely enough, I've heard of people not being able to get past floors as low as the 20's, and even not being able to beat it using the infinite devil trigger god mode. How could someone possibly suck this hard, you ask? I have no fucking clue either. I guess they might've been joke topics and they went right over my head. Yeah I'm just way too innocent like that.
In closing, I'll have to say that, after ranting about all this, I find that although DMC4 committed some crimes it shouldn't have, it also did some things better than DMC3. As such, they're very close quality-wise, and DMC4 proves to not only be a worthy addition to the series, but also an awesome game. I'd say the game is a definite buy, even if I personally place it a bit lower than DMC3.
Final Verdict: A-
Final Playtime: 80 hours
I need not remind you that, like all the other DMCs, the only way to truly appreciate it is to beat it 3-5 times in a row, moving progressively up the difficulties, mastering it, maybe even S ranking missions, since this one is easier. Otherwise, if you only intend to go through it once, I'm not sure it's worth bothering with.
In other news, regarding people bitching about the backtracking you have to do in this game (I'm looking at you, EGM), WHO THE FUCK PLAYS DMC FOR THE SIGHTS?! Faggots, that's who. That shit's not even worth mentioning. Oh, and also in the EGM review, bitching about having to fight bosses an "unprecedented" three times? Yeah, real fucking unprecedented, unless you've played, oh, I dunno, DEVIL MAY CRY 1? But hey, I guess that's not as bad as the jackass who confesses to leaving the game on overnight because he didn't want to replay one of the game's short missions. Oh, EGM, you amuse me. I still like you though. We're still BFF right?