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Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition

By Doubleplus08-07-2015
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition

The Defence

Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core i3 3.0 GHz
AMD FX-4100 3.6 GHz
Nvidia GeForce GTX 570
AMD Radeon HD 7790
2 GB
27 GB

The Case

If I was ever asked the question “What is the Gold Standard of PC ports when it comes to multiplatform games?” the answer would most certainly be “Devil May Cry 4.” The MT Framework really shined with absolutely amazing optimization, having been built on PC first and then scaled down for the console release. On top of that, the PC version had two features that really took advantage of the hardware: “Turbo mode” which sped the game up 20%, making it much faster paced, as well as the “Legendary Dark Knight” difficulty mode, which upped enemy spawning to an amount that would probably make the processors of The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 explode. The questions that remains now is “Does the Special Edition meet that same level of quality while also improving on it” and “Was Devil May Cry 4 good gameplay-wise to begin with?”

The Trial

Discounting the abomination that was DmC: Devil May Cry, The Devil May Cry series follows the exploits of Dante, son of a human and The Legendary Dark Knight Sparda, a demon who sealed off Hell from the human world. The entire series is filled with over the top gameplay, cutscenes to match and a certain level of cheesiness that really makes it an enjoyable experience. Devil May Cry 4 retains most of that, but starts you off as as Nero for half of the game, a whiny pretty boy who also has the power of Sparda. Thankfully, once you’re given control of Dante again the cheesiness goes up to 11.

DMC4 is a game that is simultaneously repetitive and hugely replayable. It’s combat allows for a ridiculously high skill ceiling, where veterans of the genre can rack up style points in a flurry of moves and combos that you could miss if you happen to blink. However, at the same time it feels like the level designers made enough levels for half of a game and then decided (or more likely were forced to, due to time constraints) make the rest of the game those same levels in reverse order with very minor differences. This is to the game’s detriment as these only serve to pad out the game.

I was wondering why this hallway is like a million degrees...

I was wondering why this hallway is like a million degrees...

I feel like an opportunity was missed when the developers chose not to entirely revamp the game and make it more of a “director's cut” rather than a “special edition.” Instead they chose to add a few new bosses and levels to give the game the boost it so desperately needed. There's not a whole lot new, but what there is will definitely be worth your time. You now have the ability to play through it as Vergil, Dante’s twin brother and polar opposite, or as Lady and Trish in Nero and Dante’s sections, respectively.

Playing through the Nero and Dante campaign, you will start off as the former of course. As Nero you use things such as The Red Queen: part sword, part motorcycle, part industrial-size Iron ingot. The Blue Rose: A double-barrelled revolver (yeah I have no idea how the fuck that works either), as well as his demonic arm, Devil Bringer, which you can use to grab, slam, throw, etc enemies. Afterwards you get to play as Dante armed with The Rebellion, a claymore-style sword, and his two modified M1911s, Ebony and Ivory. As Dante, you can freely switch between 4 (and later 5) styles that allow you do different things with the action button, as well as a few other weapons that are unlocked as the game progresses.

Playing the game as Lady and Trish is quite different. As Lady, you don’t really have many reliable melee attacks so you need to use her wide variety of guns, which include her pair of pistols, a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun and a rocket launcher fitted with a bayonet and a grappling hook that can be used to fling enemies around. Trish, on the other hand has a lot of Dante’s moves executed differently, while also having an array of various lightning attacks.

As Strong Bad once said ‘You can't handle my style’.

As Strong Bad once said ‘You can't handle my style’.

Vergil’s campaign differs from the other 2 in that you only play as Vergil, rather than as two different characters. Like in DMC3: Special Edition, you can switch between his Yamato, using the Yamato and Force edge together, and Beowulf which is a set of gauntlets and boots that allow you to kick and punch enemies. You also have a concentration meter that increases your damage the more it fills up and is filled by standing still with enemies around you and landing successful hits, while depleting if you run around, get hit by enemies, or miss attacks.

As far as the engine is concerned, would I say that it's as well optimized and running on fairy dust that allows it to run on even the most toastery of computers like the base DMC4 was? Well, I honestly couldn't tell you. While I, with my rig capable of running most games fairly well, got a great FPS that mostly ran around 120, its “minimum” requirements are quite a bit higher than the base game’s, so I’m not entirely sure. However, what is fairly obvious is that the graphics aren't much of a step up. Some of the enemies are a bit more detailed, such as the ice monster having clearer ice, but that's all I noticed.

The Verdict

I’m just gonna lay the cards on the table now - it's pretty clear the purpose of Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition is to bring the PC experience of the original Devil May Cry 4 to next-gen consoles. PC players won’t get a huge amount out of it and if you didn’t like Devil May Cry 4, the Special Edition isn’t going to make you change your mind. However, if you did like Devil May Cry 4 and want to have a few more options combat-wise, or you simply just want more “true” Devil May Cry after the ungodly pile of garbage that was DmC: Devil May Cry, or you just haven't played DMC4 and you’d like to, you will probably find DMC4:SE and its price of only $5 more than the base game to your liking.

Case Review

  • CUHRAAZY: Absolutely stellar combat.
  • Smooth as Butter: Great optimization, runs well.
  • Smokin’ Sick Style: Style system lends itself to allow for massive replayability.
  • Dangerously Cheesy: Cutscenes that are over the top and filled with cheese, but are nonetheless enjoyable.
  • The Gang’s All Here: Several different characters to fit whatever playstyle you have.
  • Fucking Dice Rolls: Board Game sections that mix RNG and padding.
  • I’ve Been Here Before: Repetitive level design.
Score: 4/5
And in the end, we’re all satisfied and you are set free.
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Fuckin' Nero