The first appearance of the Devil May Cry series on the 360 & PS3 console hardware, Devil May Cry 4 once again let players step into the shoes of the demonic demon hunter Dante, as well as series newcomer (and Dante lookalike) Nero. This is the first entry of the franchise to appear on a Microsoft console (excluding the DMC3 PC port). Devil May Cry 4 adds some small changes to the formula used in the last game, but doesn’t stray far from its predecessors.
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition, an enhanced port with additional playable characters and other new features, was released on the PS4, Xbox One and PC in 2015.
The core gameplay in DMC4 remains unchanged from the previous installments; which means you kill demons as stylishly as possible by using fancy combos and agile acrobatic maneuvers. Both characters (Nero and later Dante) have a sword button and a gun button, and the two can alternate between the attacks on the fly. Sword attacks can be modified by the timing in which the button is pressed(holding the button as opposed to tapping the button as opposed to pressing the button and waiting a second), while gun attacks can be modified by charging the blast(which can be done by holding the gun button. Characters still lock onto enemies before attacking, and locking on allows players to launch opponents into the air, drive into them with the sword, or send them flying down to earth, depending on which direction the control stick is pressed while locked on. The player has control over the camera, but that control is frequently taken away by the game to show a more cinematic angle of a location and actually turning the camera takes a bit more time than in other games.
Nero has a few key differences from series hero Dante that change his combat style slightly. Firstly, Nero has the “Devil Bringer” a glowing, demonic right arm that allows him to grab opponents in combat and throw them(both on the ground and in the air). Nero can also pull opponents towards him from a distance by using the Devil Bringer while locked onto a target. The Devil Bringer in game boils down to another type of attack to use against enemies, but its more useful as a means of getting around larger opponents: Nero can latch onto opponents when throwing out a demonic projection of his devil arm and jump over the enemy, leaving them exposed to sword, gun and fists.
The Red Queen Sword is the blade Nero wields throughout the game. By holding the left trigger before or during combat (provided that Nero isn’t performing any other combat action) will cause Nero to “rev” the Red Queen Sword(which can be seen in the top left corner of the screen) with blazing heat. If Nero charges the blade enough, he’ll store a point of heat charge (called “Exceed” in the game) . Nero can rev and fill the sword with, initially, three Exceed points. When the sword has stored points, Nero’s next sword attack will become faster and more powerful. However, there’s only a one-shot charge to each point: the minute Nero swings his sword (in combat or out of combat, even if he isn’t targeting an enemy) he will expend an Exceed point. Since players can’t “rev” the sword in the middle of combat, players will have to decide whether to go into combat, or to lay off the offensive and charge the sword up before diving in. Players will also have to decide the best ways to use stored Exceed points, since they can be expended so quickly. Nero, however, has one trick up his sleeve when using the Red Queen’s charging move: if the player presses the left trigger as his sword collides with a target he will instantly gain a point of Exceed charge, making his next attack faster and more powerful. Players can also utilize the advanced version of this skill by purchasing an upgrade that will completely max out the Exceed gauge if the left trigger is pressed at the exact time Nero’s sword hits a target. This move will boost Nero’s combat effectiveness, but the timing to nail the move will challenge even seasoned players. However, a player skilled using this move will, essentially, have unlimited Exceed charges, making them much more powerful in combat.
Additionally, Nero has a handful of abilities that, when used after building up one or more Exceed charges, become completely different abilities. These new abilities usually have a wider range and deal much more damage than their un-charged versions. The powered up abilities tend to have the prefix “Ex-” applied to their names as in Ex-Calibur, the powered up version of the ability “Calibur”. There is also an ability that allows the player to expend all their built up Exceed points in one single, extremely powerful attack by using one of the “Ex-” abilities with a maxed Exceed gauge.
Nero, like Dante, can activate his “Devil Trigger”, once he gets Yamato. This move will let Nero transform into his demon form for a brief period of time, making his attacks stronger and faster. By dispatching enemies with panache your style meter goes up, a high meter will net you more red orbs after you kill enemies. Red orbs are used to buy restorative items. There is another form of “currency” in DMC4 called proud souls. At the end of a level you’re graded and your letter grade determines how much proud souls you get. These are used to buy new moves and abilities. DMC4 is also the first game in the series to allow the player “sell” purchased upgrades back. Any ability bought with Proud Souls can be exchanged for a refund equal to the cost of the upgrade. This allows players to customize their character’s progression while allowing leeway for some experimentation.
In addition to its combat system there are also some segments of platforming and puzzle solving.
The game can be played in many different difficulty modes. In order of difficulty they are:
The game opens with Nero making his way to an opera house whereupon he finds his path blocked by a group of demons. As a beautiful young woman named Kyrie sings at his destination, Nero slays the demons with ease and style, before making his way to the House. When he arrives, he sits and as Kyrie approaches, it becomes evident the two have a relationship. Nero begins to express his boredom when suddenly his own Demon Arm begins to glow…
Crashing through the roof, Dante infiltrates the church and murders Sanctus, the High Priest of the Order of the Sword; a Pope-equivalent religious figure in this game’s world. Nero, a member of the Order, understands the danger Kyrie is in and battles Dante, seemingly defeating him before Dante shows that he was just teasing Nero. Dante escapes and Nero leaves the church when he is assigned by Credo, the leader of the knights in the Order, to hunt down Dante. As Nero goes after Dante he learns more about the truth behind the Order and the leader Sanctus, he also begins to wonder if Dante is even the real threat. Pushing through the city, from it’s urban areas to it’s forested landscapes before finding himself at the Headquarters of the Order, Nero battles demons and learns that a distinctly despicable character named Agnus is conducting experiments regarding Demonology.
Later, when Nero makes it to the Order Credo appears and explains that his Holiness has been resurrected and has directed Credo to kill Nero. Transforming into an ‘Angelic’ version of himself, he battles Nero, who remarks that Credo is no angel, but a demon. After defeating Credo, Kyrie appears and is disturbed by Nero standing over a beaten Credo, baring his Demon Arm. Nero tries to convince her that she doesn’t understand. At this point Agnus appears and kidnaps Kyrie taking her to the highest confines of the Headquarters.
Fighting his way through headquarters, Nero eventually meets Dante again, who always seems to be one step ahead of Nero. Dante mentions that the sword Nero holds (which Nero found in Agnus’ lair) belonged to his brother Vergil, and that he wants to ‘keep it in the family’. After a brief scuffle, Nero realizes that Dante is toying with him and Dante tells him to keep the sword. Nero proceeds without giving him the blade.
At the top of headquarters, Nero comes across his Holiness, Sanctus, who has gone so far as to bring a giant statue of Sparda (known as the Savior) to life in order to vanquish evil. Nero battles with Sanctus for Kyrie’s soul and seems victorious, until the Savior finally manages to grab a hold of him. At this point, Dante appears and tells Nero to give him his sword back. Nero tells Dante to come and get it, before giving Dante the finger as he is forced into the Savior…
Inside the Savior, Nero finds Kyrie and reaches out but the moment he touches her, she appears to disintegrate into nothingness. Vowing to get the two of them out, Nero slips away, also.
Outside the Savior, however, Dante watches as Agnus summons all the demons of hell to wreak havoc over the great city. Suddenly, before anyone is hurt, a series of Angelic Guard creations and the Savior eradicate them all and the townspeople feel safe. Along with Trish, Dante realizes that they are going to have to clean up the mess…
Rebellion – Sword given to to Dante by his Father
Gilgamesh – Mechanical gauntlets and greaves
Lucifer – Weapon which summons countless explosive spears
Ebony and Ivory – Guns handcrafted by Dante
Coyote-A – Dante’s modified shotgun
Pandora – Weapon which takes countless forms
Blue Rose – Two-barreled gun
Melee: Red Queen – The knights of the Order’s customary sword modified by Nero
Devil Bringer – Nero’s possesed arm
Note: Unlike Dante, Nero does not wield any new weapons as the game progresses, but rather heavily increases the abilities that his weapons can use.
The fourth installment of the Devil May Cry series was released on February 5, 2008. The PC version of DMC4 was released on July 8, 2008. It introduces new features such as Turbo Mode, which makes the game move faster, and a new difficulty called Legendary Dark Knight. There’s now more visual customization and the game supports both DirectX 9 and DirectX 10. While keyboard/mouse controls are supported, it is highly recommended to use a gamepad.
Devil May Cry 4 requires 6.7GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD and 4.9GB’s to install on the PS3.
Exclusive to the PC version of Devil May Cry 4 is the Legendary Dark Knight mode, a new difficulty where every single enemy encounter has had its spawn count and type adjusted to take advantage of the more powerful PC hardware. While the console versions were restricted to only displaying a handful of enemies on screen at a time, this mode spawns hundreds of enemies that can sometimes cover the entire screen.
Also available for PC was a benchmark tool that loaded up several real time scenes of areas becoming flooded with enemies in order to test players’ hardware.
On February 3, 2011, Devil May Cry 4 refrain was released on iOS to average reviews. It is in essence a very condensed version of the console game, with limited levels and a somewhat automated combat system.