Devil May Cry Anthology Pt. 4

Official Box Art

Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Director(s) Hideaki Itsuno
Producer: Hiroyuki Hobayashi
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, iOS
Release date(s) PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360
JP January 31, 2008
NA February 5, 2008
AUS February 7, 2008
EU February 8, 2008
Microsoft Windows
NA July 8, 2008
AUS July 10, 2008
EU July 11, 2008
JP July 24, 2008
February 3, 2011
Genre(s): Action, Hack and Slash, Beat ’em up
Rating: Mature

Devil May Cry 3 returned the series to its former glory after the disappointment that was Devil May Cry 2. With the Playstation 3 paving the way for next-generation consoles, the time seemed right to move the series in a new direction. The last thing Capcom wanted was a repeat of the second title. The next game would be built off of Devil May Cry 3, taking what fans loved about the gameplay and enhancing it. Gamers would expect crazier combos, more integration of weapons and over-the-top cutscenes. However, amidst all this, there was the biggest change of all; an aspect of the series that has made it so beloved in the five years before the release of the fourth installment: Dante in the starring role.

At the time, the series that was originally intended to be the next-gen Resident Evil for the Playstation 2 had solidified itself as an outstanding series amongst gamers looking for a good action title. Dante had become a house-hold name in the realm of popular characters. Whatever the reason—his arrogance, his cockiness, his unflappable demeanor—fans embraced the Devil Hunter with the big sword and even bigger attitude so one can imagine the immediate reactions of fans when it was revealed that Dante will not be the star of the next Devil May Cry sequel.

"Stop hogging the spotlight!" Dante is first seen as the antagonist in the game. Nero confronts him.

Enter Nero—a young, brash member of the Order of the Sword. He’s got the white hair, the long coat and big-behind sword but he wasn’t intended to be a Dante “clone”. Nero was introduced as the new main character for Devil May Cry 4. Why did Capcom, just when Dante’s star is on the rise again, exchange him for a rookie demon slayer? “The reason we switched to Nero is, when you consider how we want to open up new avenues for the core user and that we’re switching hardware to the PS3, the easiest way to have these new gameplay mechanics…was to introduce a new character,” producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Resident Evil 4 and the original Devil May Cry) said in an interview back in 2006. “If we gave Dante [Nero’s abilities], it wouldn’t be Dante anymore.” Nero is not connected to Sparda’s lineage even though her bears a resemblance to Dante and Vergil. His skills are set apart from Dante to give DMC4 something fresh and new yet retain some familiarity from the previous entry. This new addition that was immediately noticed was Nero’s Devil Bringer. With it, he can grab enemies from a distance to begin or continue a combo. This move is similar to the Kalina Ann weapon from Devil May Cry 3 that allowed Dante to pull enemies in with the weapon’s grapple line. This new addition to the combat mechanic opened the door for players to keep the flow of combat unbroken. For instance, Nero can begin a combo that ends with a hard hit that knocks the enemy away. With careful timing, the player can have him quickly draw that enemy back with the Devil Bringer and continue the fight with a new combo.

The Devil Bringer allows Nero to grab enemies for attack.

Another aspect that separates Dante from the new guy is that Nero has half the fire-power. Whereas Dante is known for packing two guns, Nero has only one gun—a vertically double-barrel pistol named Blue Rose. The rate of fire from Blue Rose is substantially less than Ebony and Ivory so juggling your foes in the air after performing High Time won’t be as effective. Interestingly, a combo can be started with Nero’s gun. Combine this with the Devil Bringer to quickly raise the Style Meter. Nero sword attacks aren’t flashy like Dante as he leans his body into each strike. While on the subject, Nero’s sword—the Red Queen—has a unique feature in where it can deliver more powerful strikes through its integrated “fuel injection” system. Red Queen’s handle resembles a motorcycle hand bar complete with brake lever. Nero can “rev” his sword to coat it in a liquid that will increase the sword’s attack power. Normally, you could do this by pressing the proper button before attacking; however, this ability can be activated mid-strike with precise timing. Unlike DMC3, Nero cannot switch between weapons as he only has the Red Queen, Blue Rose and his Devil Bringer throughout the game and does not gain any additions to his arsenal. Nevertheless, Nero’s stand-alone abilities make up for this as does his versatility.

Remember how Red Orbs bought you new abilities and moves? Well, that has been toned down a bit. You can still collect and use Red Orbs to purchase items from the God of Time statues but new skills are purchased with a new currency in the form of Proud Souls. Proud Souls are awarded when you complete a mission. The amount depends on your performance. Simply put, the better you do, the more you get. Of course, this is not without a small problem. All of Nero’s abilities weren’t unlocked in one play through. Therefore, you had to play the game through again to truly see what the young Devil Hunter is capable of. To add to the challenge, the price of each skill went up with each purchase so refining your devil hunting skills is a needed must if you want to unlock everything. As mentioned before, Nero does not gain any new weapons; instead, the focus is to level up his Devil Bringer which gains new abilities such as increasing the range in which Nero can grab enemies and later on, he can use his demonic arm to hold an enemy and use him as a shield to block attacks.

"It's your show, kid."

Though the torch has been passed, Dante is playable in Devil May Cry 4 but for only seven missions. He retains his move set from the third game as well as the Trickster, Swordmaster, Royal Guard and Gunslinger styles. In his arsenal, he has his trusty handguns Ebony and Ivory, Rebellion, and the Coyote-A shotgun. Dante plays pretty much the same as in DMC3 but now he is given more versatility. No longer did you have to wait to complete a mission to switch styles. You can switch between Dante’s four style moves with the D-pad. Essentially, a combo can be started in Swordmaster Style and finished with Gunslinger. And when he acquires his brother’s sword Yamato, Dante is granted a fifth style—Darkslayer, Vergil’s personal style from Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition. Additionally, he is no longer limited to carrying just two weapons at a time. Now he can switch between all his weapons on the fly making for some killer combos, more so than in DMC3. Upgrading weapons is still the forte when using the Son of Sparda, keeping yet another familiar element from the previous entry. Lady and Trish make a return for the fourth title, apparently working alongside Dante.

Devil May Cry 4 was received well by gaming magazines however there were a couple hiccups that kept it from being as stellar as Devil May Cry 3. Camera work was the issue but not as big as in the series’ second release. It was a definite improvement yet there were a couple minor things that kept it from being great. Xbox World Australia gave the game 90/100, saying “Devil May Cry 4 is everything a hack-and-slash should be and then some. Sadly it falters with repeated level design and a moderately troublesome camera; but in the grand scheme of things, these are only minor flaws.” graded it A-, praising the gameplay and “predictably slick” looks, but criticized the “divisive industrial hard-rock nonsense…. that sullied DMC3 [and] returns here”. Overall, Devil May Cry 4 did well in sales. On February 20, 2008, Capcom’s president Haruhiro Tsujimoto announced in a press release that the game shipped two million copies in its first month, making it the fastest sequel in the series to reach this mark.

The Devil May Cry series has had its ups and downs but it endured to become a beloved series of the action genre. Games such as God of War and Asura’s Wrath have borrowed inspiration from Capcom’s hack and slash series and the character Dante would go on to become a part of pop culture as well as Devil May Cry itself.

Devil May Cry 4 intro

Dante vs. Nero