Devil May Cry 4 SE: Post-Game Thoughts

Here’s a game I haven’t touched since around 2008-2009 or so, and the first feeling the game offered me was a profound sadness that the Devil May Cry series hasn’t had a new mainline title (read: non-reboot) in about  eight years.

DMC4SE

Devil May Cry 4 is the type of game that sells poorly, receives reviews all over the board, and has extremely loyal fans.

In other words, it isn’t for everybody. DMC4 is fast, complex, difficult, and deep. There is a steep learning curve, especially for first-time players of the series. If you don’t put the time in and learn the systems, the game isn’t going to be much fun.

This is ostensibly the reason opinions on this game vary so greatly – like most games born of Hideki Kamiya’s high-octane brand of stylish megaviolence. There are people who lack the patience to grasp the myriad systems in the game, and for them, the game is clunky and frustrating, and you’re basically going to get blown up all over the place.

Unforunately, this group often includes game reviewers – who have to brute force the game in as little time as possible and don’t have the luxury of putting in that time.

That said, for someone who likes hyper-stylized action, dumb one-liners, and everything just being way over the top all the time, DMC4 is a near-perfect game.

With the special edition re-release of the game (which is only available digitally in the West), not only are the graphics scaled up to current-gen, but a slew of new characters are added. The main campaign focuses on longtime franchise hero Dante and newcomer Nero, and that’s as fun as ever.

But if you want a change of pace, there is also the option of playing as basically the entire remainder of DMC’s supporting cast: Vergil, Lady, and Trish, all of whom have unique movesets which fit beautifully into the basic control scheme.

Now, I’ll admit that I was a bit disappointed that the addition of the new characters does not correspond with actual new in-game content. It’s actually just playing through the main campaign with the cutscenes removed. There are some new opening cutscenes to introduce why those characters are hanging around, but that’s about it. It definitely feels like the intent was to loosely justify the characters being there, and then just handwave the rest.

But hey, that’s a nitpick. Capcom didn’t have to do anything for this game other than upscale the graphics and rerelease it as “Devil May Cry 4 HD,” and nobody would have complained. Between the new characters, some difficulty tweaks, and assorted extras, it’s good value for a re-released game from eight years ago.

That said, it is really striking how much different DMC4 is from Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2, which appear to more accurately reflect Kamiya’s vision in the DMC style that he started (and Capcom promptly kicked him off of). Bayonetta as a series is faster, smoother, more frantic, and even more absurd than where the DMC games have gone.

Playing DMC4 again really drove home the extent to which the character action genre has grown since 2008, largely because of Kamiya himself.

I probably won’t spend a lot more time with DMC4, but the game is good enough for me to have played it through again, despite having beaten it two or three times already several years back. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone with fast reflexes, patience, and a love of stupidly over-the-top action sequences.

Unless you own a Wii U. Then you should be playing Bayonetta 2.