Hands-on: Devil May Cry 4

A few weeks ago I was in San Francisco to check out Capcom’s upcoming top titles for 2007. One of the biggest ones there was the PlayStation 3 version of Devil May Cry 4. Because of an embargo, I hadn’t really been able to speak about my time with the game. But now, I am free. The chains have been lifted.

Hit the jump to check out my impressions of the demo that more or less kicked a ton of ass. 

Admittedly, I had all but abandoned the Devil May Cry franchise. After the first game, the others never really captured my attention and I had just moved on to bigger and better things.

I’ve heard grumblings that the series had taken a turn for the worst and maybe had abandoned that original formula that made it so great. Well, I don’t know about the most recent titles, but Devil May Cry 4 is the kind of game that could set a disenchanted series fan straight. If it doesn’t, then you have no soul.

Though the demo was only about 15 minutes or so in length — depending on how skilled you were — the original fun factor and flow was very evident. Taking control of a new hero, Nero, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of refreshment for a game that I honestly had high hopes for as a proud PS3 owner — and yes, the game was only playable on a PS3.

Nero’s got a new bag of tricks, too, that makes the game feel unique. Instead of duel wielding pistols, Nero has a Devil Bringer arm that leads to some devastating combos and moves. Also, his sword is a tad different from Dante’s. Much like you’d rev up a motorcycle, players can power up their sword to unleash increasingly deadly attacks.

But really, let’s all assume the gameplay is just as solid as usual — and you’d be safe to assume that. With that, I’m sure you want to know what the visuals are like in a game that has always prided itself as being top of the line to look at. In word, this PS3 version was perfect. The framrate was nearly flawless and the world in which Nero was thrown into was to say the least, beautiful.

Nowhere is this incredible visual style more evident than in the end-of-the-demo boss battle with Berial. A huge flaming demon that gives you a rush of excitement like almost no other game can. He’s huge, he’s hard, and he’s an epic piece of work. You’d almost get hypnotized by the grand scale of the guy before realizing that yes, you do have to kill the bastard.

Am I overflowing with emotion about this game? Yes, yes I am. Much like God of War, this new Devil May Cry could be a system seller. Do I expect it to look good on the Xbox 360? Sure. But because they showed it on a PS3, it would lead me to believe that either it A) looks incredibly better on a PS3 or B) is being developed seperately on the system. With both factors taken into account, that means that the game will more than likely look better on the system it should look better on — you see, sometimes with cross-platform games the difference isn’t as noticable.

Back to gameplay, the controls were intuitive and the combos were as easy as ever to pull off. The moves you could make in the game were all thrilling to try out. As I’m sure for some fans, just the pure adreniline rush of the fighting is enough of a seller for you.

What other features can we expect with DMC 4? Take a look:

• From the producer of the original Devil May Cry and Resident Evil 4
• High-definition visuals moving at 60 frames per second
• Blend of familiar and new: newcomer Nero clashes with veteran Dante
• New characters and environments
• Signature blend of guns and swordplay
• Deep combo system rewards stylish dispatching of enemies
• Unique “Devil Bringer” arm opens up a range of combo options
• Distinct set of weaponry and moves for Nero and Dante
• Exceed System allows Nero to charge up his sword with a throttle effect, revving up to three levels with powerful attack options
• New active style change system for Dante allows him to switch styles and weapons on the fly, producing crazy combo possibilities

If you’re an action game or Devil May Cry fan, then I don’t think I need to tell you that this is going to be a must-own title. When this launches, you will absolutely need this in your library.

Robert Summa