If anyone has spent time browsing comment sections on news articles or internet forum threads, they have surely noticed that people like to complain about remakes and remasters – specifically Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games that were already in high definition. But this backlash hasn't stopped Capcom from remastering both last-gen Devil May Cry games, as DmC: Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition released in March, and now the Japanese publisher is releasing Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition. Is this upgrade merely a cash-grab, or has Capcom put in the work to create the best version of Devil May Cry 4 yet?
The core gameplay found in Devil May Cry series remains the same in the fourth instalment, although there is a pretty major twist. Instead of solely hunting demons as the iconic Dante, a new protagonist named Nero offers up a fresh set of moves. Nero, who is a nephilim similar to Dante, can use his demonic right arm to grab enemies and pummel them. Since Nero also has the ability to use guns and swords, he won't feel too out of place to veterans of this series. The new playable character adds just enough nuance, so even the most experienced players will have to learn a few new tricks.
New to this version of Devil May Cry 4, there are three different ways to experience the story. These include the traditional Nero/Dante path and two brand-new experiences. The first of the new ways to play stars Dante's brother, Vergil, and takes place long before the events of Devil May Cry 4; the other option allows players to take control of a team made up of Trish and Lady. These extra modes lack the cohesive story that holds the main game together, but it's still a blast to be able to play in totally new ways.
Each of the five playable characters feature their own unique skill-sets, weapons, and abilities. This means that Devil May Cry 4 feels fresh on repeated playthroughs. While all three new characters offer up their own challenges, Vergil is perhaps the most fun to use. His multiple swords allow him to attack at a distance and close up in order to cause maximum damage. Every single character offers up a fantastic time, though, so it's worth experiencing all of the styles available.
New characters are not the only form of fresh content in Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition, as an all-new difficulty mode has been added. Called Legendary Dark Knight, this mode allows players to face off with more enemies on-screen than ever before – though it's only recommended for Devil May Cry experts, as even the normal difficulty is a stiff challenge! Rounding out the package are different skins for each character and a ton of reference material that provides information on every enemy, weapon, and ability that is found in the game. This isn't a product that was quickly slapped together – a lot of work has been put into making an already good game even better.
While there has clearly been a lot of focus on making this package appeal to both new and old fans of Devil May Cry, there are still some issues that would be impossible to fix without completely retooling the entire experience. The main issue is that in the game's 20 missions, you end up going through the same handful of areas multiple times. Unlike the Ninja Theory developed DmC, which had the player constantly navigating creative level designs, Devil May Cry 4 directs players through the same gigantic church over and over. It does add new challenges with each visit (such as playing as a different character or adding new enemies), but even then it still feels like déjà vu. Add in the fact that the game tries to pad its length by forcing you to fight the same bosses three times, and you have an experience that repeats itself a little too often.
The repetition isn't the only issue, though, as the puzzle solving is still as archaic as ever. It's too simple to really offer a meaningful challenge, and the only difficulty is in making sure you don't miss a puzzle and get stuck. Thankfully there isn't a ton of emphasis on this aspect, as DMC4 focuses on its sensational combat over mediocre puzzle solving.
If a player is only looking to complete the core game, they can do so within an afternoon (provided you know what you're doing). Devil May Cry 4 isn't a long experience unless you're looking to earn stylish ranks on all the levels or find all of the hidden missions. This is what makes the bevy of additional content so great, as it allows the game to last even longer than before.
Graphically, Dante's fourth adventure is, unsurprisingly, even more beautiful than it was the on Xbox 360. A great art-style, combined with gameplay that is smooth as silk, manages to make this a game that's easy on the eyes. The soundtrack, composed of fast-paced metal, fits the series' attitude and viciousness, but each player's mileage may vary when it comes to enjoying it.
Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition is the best way to experience an already great game. With new characters, additional difficulty options, and fan-service galore, there's no reason not to pick up this package if you're a fan of Devil May Cry. While the remaster may not fix all of the flaws of the original game, it does manage to breathe new life into one of Capcom's most beloved series.