Devil May Cry 4; Why am I being punished? (Possibly NSFW)

Recently I decided to pick up a used copy of Devil May Cry 4 at a local game emporium. I had played the earlier games in the series and liked them. I had missed this one when it first came out, so I figured WHY THE FART NOT?! I figured wrong. Way wrong.

This game is bad. Not worst-game-ever bad, but there is so much wrong with this game that it’s haunting me. If you plan to play this soon or have already played this, you’re dumb and have low self-esteem. Otherwise, there’s no way you would have sat through all the cruel and unusual punishment this poorly made game constantly slaps you with. Therefore, you will be punished with spoilers. The only way to really explain the issues with this game is to talk plot. If you don’t like it, read another, more positive review.

The main problem with this game is how unnecessarily frustrating it is. I thought invisible walls in gaming had gone out of style, but apparently Capcom thinks they’re freakin sweet. Oh look those stairs look a blast to walk up! Wait, why can’t I simply push forward and walk up them? That’s right this game is made by Capcom, the invisible walls number-one fan boy.

Also, if you want an example of bad camera use look no further. This game uses a fixed camera angle sometimes, and at other times you can move it around. That inconsistency is weird but not a deal-breaker. The issue is when the fixed camera angle, the one the player can’t control, doesn’t show a huge part of the screen. Last time I checked this was an action game and action games require precise timing. At the very least, you should be able to see the environment around you.

And another thing: the story sucks. Nero’s a retard who’s been to one too many anime conventions (see below). He pouts all the time and then just when you start to get used to him and his attitude, he’s taken away and you have to use Dante. I could explain why but I really don’t want to. It’s too dumb to even remember. However, there was a point where I thought this story is so bad and weird, I’m intrigued to see how much worse it’s gonna get. Worst mistake of my life…….maybe.

The longer and longer I played, the more I grew to hate this game. By the time I got to the end, I found myself rooting against the character I was playing, literally dying on purpose because it was funny to see both of them die. That’s right you use Dante and Nero in the end. Oops, hope I didn’t spoil it!

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Devil May Cry 4—hurting me, hurting you

God, I wanted to love Devil May Cry 4. I’m a fan of the original series (although the second entry was only mediocre, I must say). Devil May Cry 4 has been out on the Xbox 360 for a while now, and I thought I’d give it a whirl, especially because I found it used at a store for $15. The opening cinematic booted up, and I watched with pleasure as the over-the-top cutscene played, complete with Dante breaking through a roof and causing havoc. I couldn’t wait to get into the game. I didn’t understand the story at this point, I didn’t understand why Dante would break through the roof and start killing people; I also didn’t care. I was ready for some sleek fighting action.

Eleven levels in, and I could barely breathe. There was a ball gag in my mouth, and the game was drumming fingers on my head, Pulp Fiction-style (you know the scene, don’t pretend you don’t). For everything that I loved about this game, the game smacked me back down and said, “Know your place!” The combat is sleek and fluid—as Nero, pressing the B button pulls the enemy towards you, allowing some ridiculous combos and insane action. But later in the game, you run into enemies that can randomly interrupt your combos, and I felt the whip come crashing against my back. The game liked to hurt me, and for some reason, I was enjoying the punishment.

Don't let this happen to you

Call me sadomasochistic, but there was something about this game that kept pushing me to keep trying. Regardless of how often something stupid would happen (such as the aforementioned combo-interrupting a-holes), I wanted to keep going because there were moments that were just too cool to ignore. The boss battles are epic fights, with old-school style patterns with a modern, more complicated twist. Gone are the days of bosses simply having three moves that they cycle through; in Devil May Cry 4, there are variations of these moves. The combat system encourages style, awarding you more orbs (the game’s currency) the more flashy and varied you kill the enemies. And both Nero and Dante have plenty of options, each of them showy and pretty awesome, ranging from a flurry of sword blows to grappling moves.

However, you can get through the game by virtually button mashing. But you don’t want to, or rather I didn’t want to. There are moments where the game gets so frustrating, you don’t care anymore. You mash the Y button or the X button and move on. Most of these moments come from poor level design: Capcom, for some reason, is a huge fan of fixed cameras, and when Dante or Nero move from one room to another, the camera suddenly shifts perspectives. All of a sudden holding forward on the thumbstick is the wrong direction. What’s worse is when the game puts you in one of these situations and throws enemies at you at the same time. For a game that wants the player to be stylish, it makes it extremely hard when moving right is suddenly moving down.

Furthermore, Devil May Cry 4 is an action adventure game with RPG elements. Let me repeat that: Devil May Cry 4 is an action adventure game with RPG elements. Now that we’ve established that, why the hell did I keep running into platforming gameplay? I’m not Mario; Mario does not carry a sword and slice demons in two, nor is he a descendant of demon lords. Let’s keep the two games separate, please Capcom. I came to Devil May Cry 4 for some demon killing and exploration, not precision jumping.

Mario May Cry 7: Peach's Awakening

And precision is something that Devil May Cry 4 demands. It is a harsh master. During one boss fight, I kept pressing the dodge button at what I thought was the precise moment, and yet I would always take damage. I realized I was pressing the dodge button a millisecond too late. This got frustrating, but I kept trying because I wanted to look cool. That one millisecond makes all the difference in this game, separating one contextual move from another. Instead of rolling, pressing the dodge button at the right moment actually causes you to jump narrowly over the enemy’s attack. A millisecond has never been that important.

So how do I feel about this game? I love it, I hate it. There are moments where I texted Coolc, “This game can’t decide if it wants to hate me or hate itself.” Then there are moments when the demon-slaying badass in me comes out, guns a-blazing. It is a simple pleasure, killing demons. Slashing an enemy up in the air like a rag doll, suspending them in the air with bullets, then slamming them into the ground with a demon-infused hand—it’s pretty awesome. I just don’t understand why Capcom had to implement poor design choices, such as that stupid camera and enemies that suddenly turn you into their gimp without notice. But I appreciate the punishment in moderation. I kinda like it, actually.

This review just got weird.

The good: sleek combat makes you feel awesome when it works; boss fights are over the top and intense with varied patterns that keep things interesting; the RPG elements are great, as unlocking moves opens up more ways to deal out the punishment.

The bad: the game wants you to be absolutely precise and can be brutal if you aren’t; the camera is awful at some times and only mediocre at others; platforming should not be found anywhere near this game; enemies that suddenly stop you from being awesome are, in fact, not awesome.

The verdict: rent Devil May Cry 4. If you like it, go ahead and buy it, especially since you can find a used copy for relatively cheap. If this particular brand of punishment doesn’t fit your fancy, Bayonetta was released recently, so maybe you might have more luck trying that game out for size.

Review written by Neutrally Chaotic

Want another opinion?

Read Cool-C’s review

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