Allow me to take a moment of your time in what has surely become an almost irrelevant review over two weeks after its original release date. Being the consumer whore you all know me to be, I have once again took one for the team and ordered the 360's Devil May Cry 4 Collector's Edition, my impressions of which begin in a moment. But first, a clarification: this is not a review of the game itself. I'm sure you've read plenty of that by now, and frankly, I have so much on my plate right now that I'm not sure when I'll have time to start it. (Please save any complaints about my lack of playing games until the end where I can ignore them all at once.)
What this article does review is the Collector's Edition packaging and bonuses, and whether it is worth your hard-earned $80. As of the posting date, both the 360 and PS3 versions are still available for purchase from at least Gamestop.com, and may still be available in some retail stores. It's not that limited a release, for which I am thankful to Capcom for having the common sense to produce more than 10 copies (ahem, MGS3: Subsistence Limited Edition).
A special note: If you plan to order this online, you might want to consider shelling out for extra shipping. I normally order whatever the cheapest option is, especially with Gamestop's abnormally high shipping. However, my copy arrived with a torn sleeve along the spine and, upon removal, a completely busted spine. Gamestop had great customer service and allowed me to ship it back to them for free or exchange it at any store that had a copy. Still, it was a minor annoyance and one of the reasons why this review was delayed.
First, let's take a look at the packaging you might find on store shelves. The game comes wrapped in a minimalist blue sleeve with all the usual 360 markings. Part of it is transparent, revealing a picture of Nero on the in underneath. Overall, it looks nice and matches the higher amount of blue in Nero's costume design compared to series regular Dante. He still looks a little too "I'm gonna be the next Hokage!" for my tastes, but you might not find an issue with it. There's something special I'd like to call out about the sleeve...
It fits the tin! Oh joyous, happy day! You may recall me having an issue with the sleeves on the Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect special editions, and how they would slip right off with the slightest touch. But like the Halo 3 Collector's Edition, Capcom knows how to make a sleeve that stays on the case. Bravo for figuring out what two other games couldn't.
Removing the appropriately-sized sleeve reveals the tin case underneath, adorned with Nero's mug (viewable through the sleeve) and his freakishly-mutated Demon Arm of Ultimate Darkness, or whatever they call it. As you can see from the glare of my monitor, the tin is suitably shiny. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the tin is also the size of a regular DVD case, which is certainly nice for those concerned with space. Flipping it around reveals...
Dante! While I question why he looks like he's sporting the beard of a teenage just going through puberty, no one can argue that he knows how to pose. Not much else to say about this, but there's something I discovered about the packaging.
By inserting the case back in backwards, Dante appears in the transparent section of the sleeve! This is a very nice touch by whoever designed the packaging because it allows you to chose whichever character you like better to display as the cover. Maybe Capcom anticipated a Raiden-like incident and wanted to give a choice to the people who would normally whine and bitch on message boards. Whatever the reason, I always appreciate things like reversible covers.
Here is what you're greeted with when you open the tin: two discs and a manual. If anyone purchased the Resident Evil 4 Limited Edition for PS2, you'll recognize the tin as the exact same make, a plastic molding inside of the tin exterior. It might just be me, but this is my favorite way to make a collector's tin, because it provides ample support for the discs but allows for snazzy art on the outside. I'd like to mention one thing about an otherwise great case...
It's really fucking hard to take out the goddamn discs. They loosen up after you finally get them out, but until you do, you expect them to snap in half at any moment. Seriously, Capcom, lighten up with the security. There is a middle ground between impossible to remove and loose as Halo 3.
The manual looks snazzy at first, showcasing some giant flame demon from the depths of hell or Tartarus or whatever they're going on about in the game. Don't be fooled. This is just to make the rest of the case presentable. Opening the manual reveals the horrid dullness of a black and white printer. For me, this is unacceptable. I can overlook the standard design of the manual, but not using color, especially in a collector's edition, is just plain lazy and unpolished.
Anyways, the bonus disc is the standard development documentary released in every other special edition. Also included on the disc is a gallery of concept promotional art. It's nothing special as far as bonus discs go, but there is one key difference: popping it into your computer nets you all that art in convenient JPEG files, as well as some wallpaper and selections from the soundtrack. Though I don't need any of it, but I'm sure the hardcore fans will appreciate having the assets to use in their photoshops.
Included with the game is the first of three volumes of the Devil May Cry anime. Lamentably, it's tossed in between the game and the slipcover, kept in a disc-sized cardboard sleeve. I really wish they had found a way to include it in the game case, but apparently this was more space effective. Still, I've heard that you can contact ADV and pay them about $5 more for the volume's actual case, though asking fans to pay out more money for a proper case on top of the already steep asking price is ridiculous. Moving on, let's take a quick look at the anime itself.
"Don't you know that speeding causes accidents!" quips Dante as he stabs a demon motorcycle. Yes, this is the Dante you know, so if you don't get your fill of Dante in the game, this should satisfy you. Madhouse, the studio responsible for such hits as Trigun and Death Note, has accurately captured the spirit of the games. Unfortunately, this means that the anime is packed with style but little substance. The fight scenes are visual treats, including a theatrical performance in the first episode complete with backing flamenco music. However, the storylines are overly simple and don't go beyond anything you've seen before. It just confirms my stance on adaptations: most video games won't survive a transition to film.
Dante shares the same voice actor as the one used in DMC3 and 4, and the fact that he's so comfortable with his role shows in his dialogue; lines are delivered confidently and with Dante's trademark sarcasm. The rest of ADV's English dub doesn't quite match his performance, but most of the main actors are talented enough. Even though the dub is not amazing by any standard, I'd have to recommend it over the original Japanese track. While it's a competent job, hearing familiar characters speak in strange ill-chosen voices is jarring. English just fits the tone of the show much better than Japanese voices can. Besides, hearing Dante's Japanese actor obsess over strawberry sundaes is just weird.
Bottom line: only fans of the series should invest in anything beyond the first volume.
I suppose that's just about everything. In closing allow me to say
OH GOD DAMMIT. It turns out that the only reason the slipcover fits the tin is because the anime disc is stuffed in there. If you should want to not have a loose anime disc lying around every time you take out the game, you'll be forced to deal with this problem. Once again, publishers: why the hell can't you fix this problem? It can't be that hard!
That's pretty much everything I could review without playing the actual game. So is it worth it? For $70, I'd give a hesitant yes. (What can I say? I appreciate well-done tin packaging.) However, because of the inclusion of the first volume of the anime, the collector's edition costs a whopping $80. Considering that most of the bonus content is targeted strictly at hardcore Devil May Cry fans, the Collector's Edition is a hard sell to anyone but the people who probably already imported the R2 DVDs of the anime. It's just too much money for so little substance that even the devil may cry.
I apologize for that horrible joke and wish to make it up to you with a closing picture.
On a scale of one to ten winged-unicorn-bear-knights, Devil May Cry 4 Collector's Edition gets:
Pros: Well-done packaging
Cons: Bonus disc is boring, anime lacks substance, sleeve may slip