Isn't it weird to think that Devil May Cry originally was planned as a sequel in the long running Resident Evil franchise? It spawned from a lost concept intended for Resident Evil by one Hideki Kamiya. Ever since that spurn-of-the-moment-brain-storm-planning, it has evolved into a bonifide and excellent action franchise, spawning 3 sequels, one crappy reboot, an anime, probably a manga and a love pillow? You name it. It was dropped from being a Resident Evil game due to its supernatural elements and presence of "demons" conflicting with the 'conservative tentacle-sausage monsters' that look like they spawned from the deepest recesses of H.R. Geiger's soul. Resident Evil is more "grounded" you see.
You could be forgiven for thinking that recent Resident Evil titles bears strikingly similar elements to that of a Devil May Cry game with its radical tendency to burst into cinematic overload mode, with unfair quicktime events and ridiculous over-the-top stunts that defy all logic and laws of physics as we know it. Devil May Cry 4, however, carries the term "over-the-top" with pride as it comfortably ravels in its glorious legacy as a great hardcore over-the-top action title.
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition (Steam, PC)
Release Date: June 24, 2015
The story of Devil May Cry 4 is presented quite "differently", given the presence of a new protagonist, taking the reins away from the smarmy-wise-cracking Dante (if only for half of the game) to that of the smarmy wise-cracking Nero. The developers are more or less married to a concept, but it wouldn't be Devil May Cry without it. Ultimately all roads lead to the same end and that has always been the case for Devil May Cry. Nero's hunt for the seemingly rogue-Dante, and uncovering the truth behind the assassination attempt on Señor Popenstein, leads to the un-expected-expected plot-twist and revelation of Nero's employers true sinister machinations. Yes, that's a spoiler but what do you want? The game is like 10 years old now, you've had your chance! We all know the story by this point. It's unclear when exactly it's taken place, though the internet has been kind enough to narrow down some points that suggest it places itself between the events of DMC1 and DMC2. Trish is around and Dante isn't eternally stuck in limbo with Thom Yorke churping in the background, because Capcom is nothing if not determined to leave as many unresolved plot threads hanging around for their games, until it looks like a colony of jellyfish going through the woodchipper.
Is Nero related to Vergil or not? And if he is how does that make any donky-bonking-sense considering his age, the timeline and everything? Suffice to say, not much has changed in that department, aside from a few added cutscenes with the new characters, particularly Vergil, that only raises more questions. Capcom will always be Capcom. The things that have been added are superb but before we get to them allow me to summarize some persistent issues.
The original Devil May Cry 4 had its share of issues, like its nagging prediclection of repetition in vein of Silent Hill 4. Half-way through the story you're bold-facely forced to walk in reverse order of the entire game's map and beat the same bosses again as Dante, along with the dreadful padded "board-game" section. The former is a Devil May Cry tradition I'll have you know. Oh, and just to be completely insufferable, the game sort of forces you to do it a third time (for this game) as Nero, during the end-game section. The enemies are also a bit uninspired in comparison to the likes of Devil May Cry 3--Plus, can I just say that I hate the camera sometimes? It's litterally the toughest enemy in the game to conquer. A good thing is always ruined, when your steady paced rampage is brought to an abrupt end by some dick you couldn't see because the camera was pointing on a trash can or something. Bad, bad, bad, Capcom.
Looking past that however, Devil May Cry 4's combat is delightful. The ability to launch enemies into the air and litterally keep them there by filling every orifice with lead as Dante, or cutting them in mid-air as Nero while using the Devil Arm as a bolster for keeping the momentum in motion.
What is excellent about the Special Edition is the awesome addition of the 3 new playable characters. Lady, Trish and Vergil--All of them carry simply excellent movesets, unique to them and their personalities. Vergil borrows a lot of his abilities moveset from DMC3 and from Vorgil in the Ninja Theory's edgy reboot.
He's ridiculously fast and precise with his katana "Yamato" which is balanced by his more brutal strikes with the gloves and boots he got in DMC3 (forgot the name) delivering powerful blows that will usually deal devastating damage at the expense of his speed-Oh, and of course Force Edge, which is more or less his father's sword, and grants him movesets similar to his brother Dante. Vergil generally relies on speed and precisition(as mentioned) though. His damage is bolstered by it, the more precise you are with each attack, the faster he becomes; it is imperative that all attacks hit home while also attempting not to get hit in order to the get the most out of him.
Lady is a loaded powerhouse of ridiculous weaponry that will quite simply devastate all enemies, which makes her so much fun to play, but will probably diminish a lot of challenge from the game. But who cares? She's fun, damnit! Her shotgun and pistol attacks are similar to Dante's, but vastly more powerful and packs quite a punch to enemies. Her shotgun can litterally make enemies bounce off and on walls until they die should you position yourself appropriately for it to happen. She also has a form of grappling hook, which she can use to launch enemies into the air and smack them down again, or if you're a creative little rascal, to line them up for a shot with the rocket, in the air, and/or the arsenal of guns at her disposal for some extra Stylish points.
Trish is the character I have least experience with yet -- So far she seems to play like with a very balanced but crazy speed-dependent style ala Vergil. She's got her share of ranged attack with the Sword, Sparda, or whatever the hell they call fetus-reject of a sword. I have admittedly not a lot to say about her with only little first-hand knowledge, but safe to say she's just as fun as the rest to play. I assure you 100%!
The inevitable failings of remasters, as mentioned, is that they are usually always put into the uncomfortable position of carrying all of the detrimental issues the original had with them. I've lined most of them all up already, though they are easily ignored when playing the new characters because said additions to the Special Edition outweigh anything bad I have to say about the game... Well, except for the visuals. Its age is still showing and the remastered visuals aren't really taking advantage of my powerhouse PC's capabilities, so I can't really vouch for it there.. Maybe I just haven't optimized it properly but I wouldn't say the looks are anything to jump in glee over.
The moral in the long run, however, is that Devil May Cry 4 is a game with plenty of replay value with its complex combat system that encourages finesse and creativity. The shortcomings of the vanilla release has been outdone by the introduction of Lady, Trish and Vergil into the fold. The somewhat stale feel of the original game has been spiced up to the levels of exhilirating. As a returning player myself, I found a lot of new ground to work wit,h due to my experience over the years with other action titles like God Hand or Bayonetta. I've gotten older but also more skillful at action titles. I feel all of that is reflected in my experience with the Special Edition. I've come to liking and appreciating the game a lot more than I ever did before. I want to do each mission as stylish and extravagant as possible, otherwise I'd feel like I would be taken Dante's character for granted, you see.
Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition has build upon what was a pretty good game and morphed itself into a really great game! It rekindles the desire, and hope, for a hypothetical Devil May Cry 5 in the nearest future. If its release wasn't already a part of an elaborate scheme to making that happen then I hope it will be. If you love games from Platinum or engaging action titles in general then you shouldn't cheat yourself out of the Special Edition for DMC4.. Buy it, like right now!
9 out of 10 Fuck You's!