An action video game released in early 2008 for the PC, XBox360 and Playstation 3. Also available in "Collector's Edition" form, which includes a bonus DVD as well as Devil May Cry: The Animated Series.
Devil May Cry 4, abbreviated as DMC4, is the fourth major release of Capcom's Devil May Cry series, often described as the progenitor of the "stylish action" genre.
Devil May Rock Faces
Devil May Cry, as a series, is the weak-plotted, stupendously badass story of Dante, red trenchcoat-wearing, gun-toting, sword-wielding, awful one-liner spouting, stylish half-demon son of the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda. In each game, some cheeky villain manages to get his paws on a magical amulet or sword that lets him begin opening the gate to the demon world, where the only things that aren't on fire are made of scythes and gross demon-pus. These antagonists' motivations range from satanic possession to overcompensation for erectile dysfunction (disclaimer: speculation not endorsed by Capcom), but Dante always saves the day, usually with the help of a scantily clad babe who tries to kill him halfway through the game.
Devil May Cry has distinguished itself as an exemplary series of games, touting a unique style and excellent gameplay. The mood and visual style of the game range from grotesque depictions of Hell on Earth (or Earth on Hell) to caffeinated death-metal-fueled violence of the most delightfully brutal persuasion. Gameplay focuses on stringing together the sweetest possible combinations of attacks, employing Dante's impressive repertoire of demon-slaying implements, from pistols that never run out of ammo to gauntlets made of hellfire to lightning guitars. The goal of Devil May Cry isn't just to kick ass, but to look totally awesome doing it.
Dante & Nero
The most notable change in DMC4 is the addition of Nero as protagonist. While visually similar to Dante, he is an altogether different character in both personality and gameplay style. Unlike Dante, who in this game has access to 45 different combinations of weaponry and movesets, Nero possesses a strict economy of moves, much like Dante as he appeared in the original DMC.
Additionally, Dante now sports a manly five-o'-clock shadow, and a gruffer exterior that forces him to end every other sentence aimed at Nero with "kid". Nero's youthful, brooding melodrama is offset by Dante's flippant insults and casual approach to all things apocalyptic.
Capcom's famous penchant for creating difficult games is often indulged most capriciously with the Devil May Cry series. DMC4's punishing difficulty is tempered by carefully tiered difficulty modes and a helpful tutorial that no one ever pays attention to. Casual gamers will enjoy playing DMC4 on "Human", or Easy mode; there is also an "Automatic" mode, which makes combo-ing easier for novices (and impossible for experts).
Meanwhile, experienced DMC players and masochists will appreciate the progressively more insane difficulty levels: Devil Hunter; Son of Sparda; Dante Must Die; Heaven & Hell and Hell & Hell. Additionally, there is an extra mode of play, Bloody Palace, a survival-style battle royale that consists of 101 levels of nonstop asskicking. Well, it stops if you die, or the time runs out. But beating stylishly on enemies gives you more time, and only sissies die. You're not a sissy, right?
Stylistically, DMC4 is a departure from its predecessors in that the main playable character is no longer Dante, nor his brother Vergil. Many die-hard DMC fans believe that taking the focus off of Dante has diluted the series' awesomeness, but these people are mostly communists.
DMC4 consists of 20 "missions", several difficulty levels which subtly alter gameplay in each mission, and the "Bloody Palace" survival mode. As is the wont of a DMC game, there is a considerable amount of backtracking in the main mission mode. The player gets to control Dante for six or seven missions after the second half of the game, but while the game world itself is beautifully rendered, many players and critics felt the game was too short.
Capcom seems adamant on keeping DMC games speedy--an experienced player can finish the original game in less time than it takes to watch most feature-length films, and its successors rarely broach 10 hours of "core" (non-replayable) content. Whether this is an aesthetic choice, or a technological/financial limitation disguised as an aesthetic choice, is a question for the philosophers.
Like its predecessors, DMC4's greatest appeal is to its cult fanbase, the proud and mad few who try to "S-rank" every level on the hardest difficulty mode, and upload videos that show off their uncanny reflexes on YouTube. Indeed, gamers who approach DMC not just as a game to experience, but as a skill to master, will be privy to a tremendous level of replay value measured in months and broken controllers rather than hours. "Lesser" gamers will be hard pressed to reach this level of gameplay, but will certainly still be able to appreciate the game for its own sake.
The Devil May Cry series has been the darling of action gamers for a long time, and with good reason. The ebb and flow of combat has subtly changed from game to game with every new DMC title, every release showing the fruits of a few new epiphanies on the part of Capcom's development team.
Git Over Here
The biggest addition from DMC3 to DMC4 is Nero's "Devil Bringer", a cool-looking glowy demon arm that increases his demon-slaying potential tenfold (also, you know the ladies are all up on's). By using the button previously reserved for Dante's "styles," players can snatch enemies from afar Scorpion & Sub-Zero-style, grab far-away items with ease, and most importantly, pull off a variety of context-sensitive attacks that vary between foes. The grab technique, called "Buster" by the game, allows you to perform a range of satisfying attacks, from brutally tearing demons in half to impaling them on their own weapons. Invoking this move while under the influence of the potent Devil Trigger technique always results in spectacular and cinematic mini-cutscenes, especially against stunned bosses.
This change is an extremely potent one, profoundly changing the flow of combat in the game. Players are no longer limited by the geography of the battlefield--even if an enemy is too huge to snatch, Nero will aptly launch himself towards them without interrupting the battle. This allows players to perform long and complex air combos, certainly drawing cheers from all spectators.
My Sword Has a Motor (Does Yours?)
Nero's other idiosyncratic new ability is the "Exceed system", the ridiculous practice of revving his sword like a motorcycle. The game has some kind of explanation as to why this works, but honestly, it doesn't matter. After sufficiently revving Nero's sword, the player can execute explosive moves that light enemies and the loins of nearby women afire.
The scrupulous gamer will rev Nero's sword, "Red Queen," by repeatedly pressing and releasing LT on the Xbox360, or L2 on the PS3. This will generate 1 out of 3 levels of Excessiveness after three press/release cycles, and while charging, our hero Nero will be restricted to a menacing but restrictively slow gait.
Gamers acquainted with the concept of "timing," which is derived from a Latin root that translates to "you're basically screwed," will be pleased to know that tapping LT/L2 right after Nero attacks will instantly give you 1 Exceed level, 3 if your timing is truly god-like and you've purchased the restrictively-priced "Max-ACT" ability.
This "Just-Charge" ability allows advanced (or lucky) gamers the opportunity to create powerful and complex custom combos.
DMC4 possesses several similarities to the original game which are delightful mostly (or only) to connoisseurs of the series. From DMC, the Ifrit gauntlets' characterful Kick13 returns as part of Dante's DMC4 moves with the Gilgamesh gauntlets. The new Mephisto demons bear striking resemblance to DMC's ghostly Hell Scissors, and even shriek the same way if you hit them hard enough.
Plot & Dialogue
The dialogue and voice acting in DMC4's direct predecessor, Devil May Cry 3, was so abhorrent that it courted ridicule at every turn. With world-class dud taunts like "You shall die" and "Crazy?!", and anti-dramatic one-liners such as "Looks like this is gonna be a CRAZY PARTY!", any self-respecting action movie buff couldn't help but cringe, fantastic gameplay or not. It took Capcom four tries, but DMC4 finally shows us Dante as the sarcastic action hero that Capcom probably intended him to be. The vast majority of DMC4's plot and dialogue are neither unique nor clever, but enough lines are sincerely and refreshingly hilarious, mostly because of Capcom's apparent insight into their own melodramatic cliches.
DMC4's plot is pretty standard: Dante fatally crashes a religious assembly attended by Nero,who sets out to track down the red-coated assassin and uncovers demonic scandal after demonic scandal on the way, eventually realizing that his virginal girlfriend Kyrie has been captured. There are a few minor twists and some basic intrigue, but by and large it plays out the way you'd expect it to. This is a video game that will make you cry, but not because of its poignant plot.