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Devil May Cry 4 (PlayStation 3) artwork

Devil May Cry 4 (PlayStation 3) review


"There reaches a point in any franchise’s history when it peaks, and the creators of the franchise are faced with a dilemma. Do they try and top that success with another game, or do they take their money and run while their reputation is still intact? Inevitably greed makes their decision the former, and inevitably developers seem to think the best way to top a great game is to make one exactly like it. "



There reaches a point in any franchise’s history when it peaks, and the creators of the franchise are faced with a dilemma. Do they try and top that success with another game, or do they take their money and run while their reputation is still intact? Inevitably greed makes their decision the former, and inevitably developers seem to think the best way to top a great game is to make one exactly like it.

Capcom is the undisputed master of this. See Devil May Cry 4, which is exactly like Devil May Cry 3, only not as good.

For those who aren’t familiar with the series, it’s essentially the story of demon hunter Dante, who is an asshole as well as a snappy dresser, and who happens to be the son of an all-powerful demon who took pity on humans and had himself a little rendezvous with a human mistress. The game is centered around quick timing mixed with some decisive button mashing, but it’s really about kicking ass in style as you slice and shoot your way through hordes of demons.

The franchise has long been lauded for bringing the action genre into the realm of 3D. They did an admirable job of it back in 2001. Then we all marveled at the game’s insane difficulty, incredible amounts of character animations, off-the-wall main character, and the ability to juggle guys in the air with bullets while slicing their buddies to pieces with a big-ass sword. Most of us were even willing to forgive the terrible camera angles in light of all the stuff they got right.

Jump to 2008, and the game’s fourth release and... well, they’re still doing an admirable job of it, but it’s beginning to feel a bit stale.

Sure, it’s still cool to beat the living shit out of enemies with a variety of styles and weapons, but this was supposed to be the “different” Devil May Cry game. The big news about the game was that it would be using a different main character, namely a bloke with a glowing arm named Nero. But he doesn’t end up amounting to much more than a slightly more emo version of Dante. They even look alike. And halfway through the game, he’s booted, and you return to everyone’s favorite demon hunter.

This marks a turning point in the game, as in you literally turn around and go back through all the levels you just beat in reverse. You even fight the same bosses. There’s more recycled material here than outside a frat house after a beer binge. It’s pretty depressing, actually. It’s like the developers just gave up half way through. Either that, or they had the balls to figure they had a good enough game on their hands to just copy and paste the whole damn thing.

Don’t get me wrong. Devil May Cry 4 is a decent game. But it's a decent HALF GAME.

At least it’s got cool cinema scenes, right? Weeeeeell, maaaaaaybe. Capcom’s strategy for making things awesome seems to be to appeal to the sensibilities of 13-year old boys everywhere. Here’s a word for word transcript of one of Nero’s encounters with a boss (in this case a giant toad demon named Bael):

Bael: You’re stronger than you look with a smart ass mouth to match.
Nero: Cut me some slack. I’m just not big on toads.
Bael: Foooool! You think I care what you say?!
Nero: If we don’t finish this quickly, it’s gonna scar me for life.
Bael: I will crush you!

The script would feel right at home with a few OMGs and LOLs. Thank god the voice acting is so superb. You wouldn’t want all that talent to go to waste saying something that was actually good.

Nothing epitomizes the middle school mentality more than newcomer Gloria, who has maybe three lines and instead seems to serve the sole purpose of providing males with something to masturbate to while waiting for the next scene. She even goes so far as to give you a generous shot of her vag in slow motion. It’s actually a little disappointing, because it’s Barbie vagina, just flat skin without any visible genitalia. I was confused more than aroused. “How does the poor girl go to the bathroom?” I wondered. I can only assume her bladder exploded shortly after I beat the game.

Aside from the cheap backtracking and the usual poor camera angles, Devil May Cry 4 delivers the speedy action gamers have come to expect from the series. It fails to deliver it with the pizzazz of its predecessors, though. All in all, the franchise is starting to look a little tired. There’s really nothing new to see here.

Rating: 7/10

zippdementia's avatar
Community review by zippdementia (January 14, 2009)

Zipp has spent most of his life standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox there. Sometimes he writes reviews and puts them in the mailbox.

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