|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 5, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Watching Nero's heroic hell-thwarting is just as cool as controlling it; DMC has arrived on next-gen, and it's firing on all cylinders in the graphics department. The game is gorgeous, from the richly detailed gothic interiors and the sweeping outdoor vistas to the realistic character designs. Watch Nero's coat tails flow as he ascends a staircase and the epic boss battles (a large toad with lesbian pixie tentacles is a bizarre highlight). Everything looks pretty and polished. And this goes double for the cinema-quality cut-scenes--amazing stuff.
The sound design doesn't quite reach the same level of quality, but it's by no means bad. The blade-on-skin effects are appropriately squishy and the voice acting is almost always top-notch. The grinding heavy metal tracks match the action, but do get repetitive and a bit grating. Still, these are minor quips in an otherwise highly polished and produced audio/visual presentation.
So, let's briefly get to back to the original hell-hating bad boy; about half way through the quest, a game-changing event occurs and you find yourself rocking the blades and bullets of Dante. His style, while different, is equally satisfying, and players--new and old-- will appreciate packing Ebony and Ivory--Dante's dual pistols--, as well as Rebellion, his signature sword. But the real treat is Pandora, a briefcase-like box that opens to unleash the series' most over-the-top weapons to date. Watching this tiny case transform into a multiple-missile-launching weapon of mass destruction is both hilarious and super cool; with Dante manning the triggers of this beast-battling behemoth you may actually find yourself feeling sorry for hell's hordes. Taking the time to unlearn Nero's moves and teach yourself Dante's is a bit frustrating at first, but it's ultimately worth it to get the opportunity to control two such great characters, not to mention Pandora.
The only fault with Dante's missions is that they're repeats of environments you've already explored as Nero. So while you'll be stoked about your new skill set, you'll also be let down a bit by the lack of totally fresh levels. The same goes for many of the games bosses; each encounter is worth repeating, especially as the crimson-clad Dante, but having to beat some of these baddies three times feels a bit excessive. As you play through the first half of the game your mind might already be toying with the excitement of a second play-through, but after experiencing many of the same levels and bosses in the game's second half, you may not be so eager to jump back in.
This filler-feeling content would be a real kill joy in a lesser game, but DMC4's combat is so fast, so visceral, that it's just a joy to play. And those who really want to tweak the experience will have endless fun tinkering with the upgrades and enhanced abilities. On the other hand, if you're a casual hack-'n-slasher, DMC4 has a great auto-upgrade system that'll do all the work for you. There's a lot to like here for seasoned demon slayers as well as new recruits. The gameplay is deeply satisfying and addictive despite some rehashed levels and bosses. And it all looks fantastic. Expect a crowd to gather around the TV as you, Nero, and Dante put on one hell of a show.
CCC Freelance Writer