Posted by: smirkdirk | October 9, 2009

Some Thoughts On “Devil May Cry 4”

2 cookies out of 5 = decent try. but totally whatevery.

There are few game covers that can compete with the above as far as videogame geekdom goes. Maybe some of the Final Fantasy art overtakes it, but even looking at it now, I can’t believe I played this game nearly all the way through.

The same guys who used to read Heavy Metal magazine back in the 70’s and early 80’s are probably the same types that are now playing this game. If the giant swords that are nearly as big as the characters themselves don’t get your inner geek excited, perhaps the undulating breasts of a certain female character can get the job done.

There were some glaring weaknesses that I will get to shortly, but to start off on a positive note, it has to be said that the game pretty much kept me pushing all the way through until the final boss which is where I finally just sort of threw in the towel, knowing I was at the end and uninterested in spending hours defeating a rather boring final boss. The best they could do for a final boss was an old guy who looks surprisingly like the Pope – hat included.

So what kept me playing? Pretty much the graphics and the fact that it is pretty easy. The cut scenes (and all in all there are probably about an hour’s worth of them, so be prepared for movie night at times and pop yourself up some Orville Redenbacher) are up there with those of Resident Evil 5, not only in the animation and direction, but they’re actually sort of interesting to boot. Snappy dialogue, decent voicework, a tolerable plot. And did I mention easy? That’s right, I did. It was a good time waster – a good way to get ready for bed.

So, the problems? Where to begin? First of all, the first 8 or 10 levels are absolutely excellent. The visuals were at times stunning. The waterfall comes to mind as does the castle. I’m the kind of guy who will eat up awesome graphics. If done well enough, I will actually stop playing the game, and instead just sort of wander around, checking stuff out from different angles. Devil May Cry 4 had at least four or five stop in my tracks environments that had me wishing I could transport my thirteen year old self into the future, show him the game for a few minutes and then transport him back to 1983 all jealous and stuff that he wasn’t me…. yet.

As I played the game, all was well with the gameworld until, like I said, around level ten. Then, the plot takes a twist and the guy you thought was the bad guy is actually a good guy, and the guy you’ve been playing as since the beginning of the game gets trapped and so now you have to play as the new guy.

I always sort of hate this switching of the character and learning new controls and weapons business but whatever, I was game. Until, that is, the new guy’s mission is pretty much to get back to the beginning of the game and the next eight levels revolve around me using the new guy to complete everything I already just completed in reverse, including three pain in the ass (yet totally creatively conceived and kick-ass looking) bosses.

Hey developers, the best thing you could think of is to make half a game and then flesh it out to a full game by making the player play the whole thing again in reverse? Weak, weak, weak.

And then, when you do finally come to the end what do they have for you do but, once again, fight the three major bosses that you’ve already beaten 2 times. They trot them all out again so you have to beat them a third time. This is pretty much where I got fed up and decided that I was definitely going to have to give this game a less than stellar review.

It really is an excellent and shiny package of a video game, but I just couldn’t help but feel ripped off at the sly plot which allowed them to force the player to play the same game pretty much 2 times to get the full experience.

Little things about the game got on my nerves too. For instance, some of the music was quite beautiful. Strains of classical and new age accompany you as you search the giant gothic castle. Its all very fitting. Unfortunately, whenever a bad guy comes out – and there are tons although most of them are very easy to beat – all of the sudden an industrial score comes pounding through the speakers that sounds like a poor man’s Powerman 5000. This pulsing, aggravating music doesn’t stop until the last bad guy is killed. This wouldn’t be that bad if maybe they rotated 3 or 4 different songs, but its just the same song over and over and over again.

And, while I’m on the subject, they may as well have just gotten a real Powerman 5000 song or two if that was the angle they wanted – “Nobody’s Real” or “When Worlds Collide” come to mind – and at least the player could have listened to the real thing instead of some cheap clone. Either way, the music doesn’t fit the visual tone of the game, and the repetitiveness of it does nothing but make it stand out as what it is – lazy crap.

The Devil May Cry series evidently has its rabid fans, and I can’t speak for any of the other games for the older systems, but this game just made me miss the God of War games. Although it has stellar production values, its clear that the studio and developer tried to save time by creating half a game and then stretched it into a whole game. Ultimately it felt as though the people involved in it, instead of coming up with something new and original, chose mainly to borrow from other franchises – mainly the above mentioned God of War and Final Fantasy games. If you’re going to rip something off, I agree that it is a good bet to steal from the best of the best – however either way it is going to give the player a been there, done that vibe.

I will give this game honorable mention in the design of the flaming Taurus boss, Berial. Probably one of the coolest looking monsters I’ve seen in a long time.

Take a gander:

As far as Powerman 5000 – I was right on the money. A quick Youtube search turned up a fan-based video of “When World’s Collide” to clips from Final Fantasy. Geek-O-Rific!


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