It’s crazy to think that it’s been it’s been over 7 years since I first played Devil May Cry 4. I like Devil May Cry 4 a lot, in fact this leans on the more controversial side of opinions but I think I might like it more than the third game. But it’s been a while since I’ve really gotten into one of these games, and since Devil May Cry 4’s initial release the character action landscape has changed pretty dramatically, including a reboot for the Devil May Cry series itself.
While I don’t hate the reboot, I didn’t feel like it filled the same gap that Devil May Cry 3 and 4 do. I don’t think any other action games do, really. So I was pretty excited to hear that the Devil May Cry 4 would not only be getting a rerelease, but a significant amount of content was being added. After getting a chance to experience everything the Special Edition has to offer, one line kept floating around in my head: “I really missed Devil May Cry.”
As much as I love Devil May Cry 4, I can admit it doesn’t have a perfect reputation. The most common gripe is that the second half of the game just reuses the environments of the first half, but in reverse. Personally this didn’t bother me so much because you get to play as Dante in the 2nd half, and the enemy sets and level gimmicks also change the game significantly, but I still think it’s fair to bring up. Beyond that, some may say that Nero’s gameplay is too simple, while others might say that Dante’s new style-switching mechanic is too complicated. Opinions vary, but the point is that it always seemed to me that the reaction to Devil May Cry 4 was mixed.
The Special Edition does not address any of these issues. Some of the properties on moves seem to be a little different, but otherwise the game is exactly how you remember it. If you didn’t like Devil May Cry 4 before, you probably won’t like it now.
What the Special Edition does add is for the enthusiasts. Three new characters, a turbo speed mode, and alternate costumes round out the package. It’s kind of like if someone dug out an old box of toys you used to play with, and then gave you a few new ones 7 years after the fact. It’s something I didn’t even know I wanted until it happened, and after experiencing it I’m having as much as I did way back then.
So first off, playing as Vergil is awesome. He has all of the same weapons he did in Devil May Cry 3, with some slight adjustments. It’s been a while since I’ve played Devil May Cry 3, but 4’s Vergil feels much faster to me, especially the projectile swords he can summon. The biggest change to his gameplay comes from the addition of the Concentration gauge. It fills when you’re next to the enemy and doing combos, and drops when walk away from an enemy or miss attacks. When your gauge fills, Vergil’s attacks become stronger and his reach extends, making this a system that pushes both you and Vergil further than ever before in the pursuit of power.
Vergil’s neat, but I was actually most looking forward to getting to play as Lady for the first time in the series. Her melee attacks are pretty slow and limited in range, so the real focus is on here artillery. Outside of maybe Dante’s Pandora, Lady’s firearms have the coolest-looking and most damaging moves in the entire game, and their effectiveness in combat makes her feel really unique compared to the rest of the cast. Even her “Devil Trigger” involves firepower, which upon activation fires out a damaging flurry of grenades rather than a transformation.
I had the hardest time adjusting to Trish’s playstyle. Her only other playable appearance in the series was in Devil May Cry 2, which I wasn’t really into (shocking, I know), so my only real frame of reference was Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. Like Marvel Vs Capcom 3, her focus is on electrical attacks and pinning enemies down into a single location. Between throwing her sword around to catch enemies in a flurry of hits and filling the screen with lightning bolts, unlocking Trish’s potential takes a lot of set up. When you manage to execute everything the way you want to, however, the pay-off is extremely satisfying.
In addition to the characters, there’s also some new ways to play. The first is Legendary Dark Knight mode (which is actually only new to consoles, it debuted in the PC version of vanilla release), which fills the screen full of enemies and is great for just letting loose into a crowd with giant combos. There’s also a turbo speed option you can toggle in any mode in the game. Playing the game at a way faster pace is definitely appreciated, but something that I personally think will take time for me to adjust to since I still mess up at normal speed.
Whether you’re playing Devil May Cry 4 for the first time or coming back for the new content, I think Special Edition is a great package. It’s admittedly been some time since I’ve played the old Devil May Cry games, but playing Special Edition totally rekindled my passion for the series. I played through the game four times in preparation to write this playtest, and I’m planning on doing a lot more before I’m done with the game. I really missed Devil May Cry, and I’m glad that, at least for now, it’s back.
Food for Thought:
1. I was playing the Xbox One Version of the game, and it seems to have a feature where it automatically records a clip of your gameplay every single time your combo ranking goes up to SS or higher. I imagine it’s to give you a bevy of clips to choose from to spam on your friends’ activity feeds, but it honestly gets ridiculous. Once you know what you’re doing, your combos start getting recorded virtually every time you fight enemies. Thankfully my Xbone has a big hard drive, or else this seems like it would be a pretty obnoxious feature.
2. I didn’t play much of her Devil May Cry 2 incarnation, but I feel like Devil May Cry 4 Trish’s Devil Trigger is a subtle (if kinda lazy) nod to it by simply adding a special power aura and sunglasses rather than turning into an actual devil.
3. There isn’t a lot of new story added into Special Edition, in case you were wondering. However, both the Vergil and Lady/Trish campaigns have new opening and ending cutscenes, and the Lady/Trish ones in particular are pretty fun.