Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition Review
Sony PlayStation 4Also available on PC and Microsoft Xbox One
Remasters and remakes are currently at the peak of their popularity in 2015, and with the recent announcement of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, it looks like we won’t be seeing the last of them for a long time. Not that that’s a bad thing. However, one or two of them have left us scratching our heads a little and asking ourselves, “Who really wants this?” Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition was one of those remasters that left us a little puzzled after its brother, DMC: Devil May Cry, received a definitive edition earlier in the year. But after taking a closer look, it appears that not only is this special edition a graphical enhancement, but also an edition that introduces new characters, fighting styles and new modes. This is the same Devil May Cry 4 you remember from 2008, but with a few new things for you to play around with.
The original Devil May Cry 4 campaign returns in the special edition which sees Nero trying to track down and stop fellow main character Dante, after he killed the leader of The Order Of The Sword. The story remains predictable and rushed along with little explanation of who Nero really is, but obviously the story isn’t the main focus of Devil May Cry 4. As we began our initial playthrough with Nero and Dante to re-familiarise ourselves with the game, we were reminded of the big problem that plagued us the first time around: the repetition. Devil May Cry 4 is an incredibly repetitive game that has the player replay levels and fight bosses multiple times throughout its twenty missions. Backtracking plays a large part in both Nero and Dante’s levels, where the player will fight the same enemies and visit the same locations twice over. The biggest problem Devil May Cry 4 faced in 2008 is the same one it faces in 2015, and while new characters and different fighting styles have been introduced to try and combat it, the flaw never really goes away.
The biggest addition that comes with Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition is the introduction of three new characters for players to use in the story mode. Vergil gets the whole campaign to himself, whereas Lady and Trish alternate just like Nero and Dante do. Vergil is a returning character from Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition, and as well as being one of the most mobile protagonists in the game, he can also chain together huge combos thanks to his teleportation ability. He also comes equipped with three weapons: the Yamato, the Force Edge (which draws inspiration from some of Dante’s moves) and the Beowulf Gauntlets which can be used for some powerful hand to hand attacks. All three of these weapons can be switched between on the fly and can be combined to make some impressive combos both on the ground and in the air. Vergil has another new attack that draws inspiration from DMC: Devil May Cry in the form of the summon sword, which when thrown at an enemy, allows him to teleport to wherever the sword landed and quickly dispatch of the foe, making Vergil the quickest traversing character in the game. Vergil’s move set is an evolved version of his attacks from the previous entry and so he will familiar to fans of the series, but newcomers will get a kick out of learning an entirely new character’s abilities and style.
Trish also returns as a playable character for the first time since Devil May Cry 2, and she is the most welcoming protagonist to first time players. Trish comes equipped with a sparda sword as well as hand to hand attacks, both of which can be combined in battle. A brand new addition to Trish’s fighting style allows her to throw the sparda sword at oncoming foes, and then either stun them in their place or pull the enemies towards her. Lady forms the other part of Trish’s campaign, and this is the first time Lady has been playable in the Devil May Cry series. She is also a very different character when compared to the other playable characters as she focuses on firearms instead of melee weapons. Her signature weapon is the Kalina Ann which acts as a rocket launcher with a built-in grappling hook. She also carried a pair of pistols and a shotgun for close quarters combat. Each gun has a charge shot that deals extra damage and increases the area of effect which helps when facing tougher foes. Lady’s focus on firearms puts a unique twist on the game, as what is usually a series very much focused on melee combat, is now given a breath of new life as you look to find new ways to use her guns and deal with tough situations.
Just like other remasters, Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition has received a bump to its resolution and an improved framerate. The game now runs at 1080P, which has resulted in better looking characters and environments, as well as giving everything an overall clean finish. You’ll be able to tell that the game isn’t a brand new release in 2015, but the developers have done a good job of getting the graphics up to modern standards. Furthermore, gameplay now runs at a smooth sixty frames per second, with framerate drops never becoming a problem and load times minimal to non-existent.
If new characters and improved graphics aren’t enough for returning players, a new difficulty mode is included that was previously exclusive to the PC version of the original game, titled Legendary Dark Knight Mode. This mode throws hordes of enemies at the player constantly which can be pretty overwhelming, but series veterans will only see this as an opportunity to chain together an even crazier combo than what was possible previously. A returning feature from DMC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition is the turbo mode, which speeds the whole game up by 20%. This makes gameplay faster and even more fun as it allows skilled players to perform combos quicker and wipe out enemies at an even faster rate.
At this point you may be thinking that Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition sounds like a great package that has lots to see and do, but we must remind you: There is only one story mode to play through. Whether you’re playing as Dante and Nero, Vergil, or Lady and Trish, you’ll have exactly the same experience in terms of story and locations, save for new introductory cutscenes for the new characters and new clips at the finale. Unfortunately we have to return to the fact that Devil May Cry 4 is a repetitive game after one playthrough, so imagine that feeling multiplied by three. We enjoyed the initial first few levels as we explored new moves we could perform as Lady, Trish and Vergil, but after that novelty wore off we were left with the same game we had just slogged through.
When it comes to deciding whether to purchase Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition or not, you need to reflect on how much you enjoyed the original game, because to get the maximum value out of the special edition, you’ll need to play through the games three times. We’re sure that die-hard fans and newcomers will find enjoyment in this new release, but people in the middle appear to be stuck. If you enjoyed the original Devil May Cry 4 despite its repetitive nature and you know you want to invest time into learning the new characters, then we recommend you pick up the game. But if you only have a passing interest and the sound of three playthroughs isn’t music to your ears, then we suggest you wait until the next iteration in the Devil May Cry series.