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Devil May Cry 4 is an action game that was published and developed by Capcom in 2008 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows platforms. The game is the fourth installment to the Devil May Cry series.
In the game, the player controls both Nero, and Dante, the game's protagonist and the series' title character respectively and fights enemies in close combat using firearms, swords, and other weapons. The characters Lady and Trish from previous games in the series make appearances, along with new characters Nero, Kyrie, Credo, Gloria, and Agnus. The game is set after Devil May Cry and before Devil May Cry 2.
The game received generally favorable reviews, receiving an 84% overall rating from Metacritic. GameSpy gave it 4 stars out of 5, stating that "DMC4 succeeds on many levels because it fuses fan service with entertaining gameplay", finding that "visually, DMC4 is a dynamo."
Gameplay in Devil May Cry 4 is similar to previous games in the series. The player must fight through levels called "missions", occasionally solving puzzles or gathering items. Performance in a mission is graded from D being the bottom grade through C, B, A, and S being the highest grade. Grades are based on items used, Red Orbs gathered, time taken, and the amount of Style Points accumulated. Each Style Point grade has its own tag-word. For example, the SSS grade shows up as "Smokin' Sick Style" on the side of the screen when achieved. Stylish combat is the main focus of the game, which is conveyed through unbroken combos of varied attacks while avoiding damage. The player must avoid enemy attacks to continue performing combos, often by memorizing attack patterns.
The Devil Trigger is a super state that enables the player to become more powerful adding a slow but steady health regeneration, with increased damage done. Devil Trigger can be activated by pressing the button to trigger it when the minimum amount on the gauge is filled or when the player is near death during combat, and also through items called Devil Stars.
Some changes introduced into Devil May Cry 4 are the presence of two playable characters, Dante and Nero, and a slight modification to the shop system. A new currency, Proud Souls, is used to buy new abilities while Red Orbs are used to buy items. Proud Souls are rewarded at the end of missions and the amount varies depending on how well the player performed. Cost of abilities also increase with the purchase of other abilities, though all abilities can be sold back for the original price.
The player plays as Nero throughout most of the game. He starts and ends the game with his Red Queen sword, Blue Rose revolver, and the powers of his Devil Bringer (his demonic right arm). The Red Queen features an Exceed Gauge that can be charged up, allowing for subsequent attacks that are more powerful than regular slashes, until the gauge empties. The Exceed Gauge can also be filled by pressing the rev button at the peak of each slash, which allows for more powerful combos capable of breaking the opponent's guard. Nero also has the powers of his Devil Bringer, and can use it to pull himself towards enemies or vice-versa. The Devil Bringer may also be used for context-sensitive throw attacks, leading to high damage and various effects depending on the enemy. Nero's Devil Bringer also gains new abilities during the course of the game, such as being able to detect secret missions or caches of Red Orbs. Nero eventually gains the ability to use Devil Trigger after getting Yamato, which increases his Devil Bringer's power, thus changing his Devil Bringer attacks into more powerful versions with different animations.
The player plays as Dante through seven missions, taking over halfway through the game. His gameplay is similar to that of Devil May Cry 3, with him having access to multiple melee and ranged weapons which he gains after boss battles, and being able to cycle through them freely in combat, being no longer limited to equipping two weapons of each type as he was in the previous game. Dante also starts with his four styles (Trickster, Royal Guard, Sword Master, Gunslinger), each of which grants him different abilities, but he may now switch them at will with buttons or pads on the PlayStation 3 controller or the Xbox 360 controller, unlike in Devil May Cry 3. He also gains the Dark Slayer style near the end of his appearance, which only has one style level and can be accessed by pressing a direction button twice. Styles do not level up through experience as in the previous game, but must instead be upgraded in the shop screen in between missions or at statues. Dante can also enter Devil Trigger; in his Devil Trigger he gains most of the benefits that Nero's Devil Trigger has, though, as he does not have the Devil Bringer, he gets animation and property changes on some of his normal attacks instead.
Devil May Cry 4 opens with Nero, with his arm in a sling, racing towards the Opera House where a ceremony celebrating Sparda is already underway. Kyrie, Nero’s romantic interest, is beginning to open the ceremony with a song and is disappointed not to find Nero in the audience. She begins her song nonetheless as Nero encounters several Scarecrow demons on his way to the Opera House; he dispatches them and arrives at the Opera House just in time to hear the end of Kyrie’s song. Following this, Kyrie joins Nero in the audience where Nero has left her a present on her seat. As she sits, Sanctus, The High Priest of the Order begins a sermon about having faith in their god, Sparda. Bored, Nero attempts to leave when his arm begins to glow ominously. At this moment, Dante bursts through the ceiling and assassinates Sanctus. The cathedral guards then proceed to attack Dante who defeats them all with ease.
In the chaos, Credo, Captain of the Holy Knights and brother to Kyrie rushes her out and promises to return with help, as Nero races to fend Dante off. Eventually, Dante gains the upperhand and uses his Stinger attack, which Nero blocks with his arm. Unleashing its demonic power, Nero uses his arm to defeat Dante by impaling him with his own sword. Unfazed, Dante is impressed by Nero's abilities and pulls himself from his sword. Motioning to the Holy Knights he killed, Dante reveals that they were demons; but as for Nero's arm he says, "I suspect you carry something different than the others." Before Nero can question him further, Dante leaves just before the reinforcements arrive, and stating to Nero that "business beckons".
Nero is charged with capturing Dante and bringing him back to the Order to answer for his crimes by Credo, as Kyrie recovers Nero's present in the rubble; a necklace which she wears. As Nero, Credo and Kyrie leave the Opera House a demonic horde begins to lay waste to the city. Credo takes Kyrie away as Nero begins to slay the demons, and Credo warns Nero to be careful. Beginning his search for Dante, he is led to Fortuna Castle where he meets Gloria, a new member to the Order. Nero fights his way into the depths of Fortuna Castle. On the way, a cut scene reveals that Sanctus has been infused with the soul of a demon to be revived. Agnus, the stuttering scientist and mastermind of the Orders demonic power manipulation, is also introduced.
Finally, Nero battles his way through Fortuna Castle where he stumbles upon Agnus's underground research facility. Here, it is revealed that Agnus has been using the shattered remains of Vergil's katana, Yamato, and its demonic power to create portals to the demon world all over the city; all in an attempt to harness demonic energy for The Order. In a surprise attack, Nero is wounded by Agnus whereupon Nero calls to Vergil's broken katana, Yamato, which responds to Nero's cry and mends itself before spinning willingly into his hand. Nero fends off Agnus' demonic knights with the aid of Yamato, and now an intimidating spectral blue demonic aura hovers around him before he collapses in exhaustion. Agnus flees back to Sanctus and informs him of Nero’s new-found power. In a meeting with Sanctus, now regenerated, he realizes the threat Nero represents to their plans and sends Credo to take care of him, while Gloria takes over Nero’s pursuit of Dante.
Nero, spurred on by his desire for the truth encounters Credo who has been infused with demonic power. Transforming into a demon, Credo thinks himself an angel, "the next step in evolution." Dismayed at Credo's betrayal, Nero defeats him whereupon Kyrie appears finding Nero standing over her defeated brother. Agnus, takes advantage of the situation and kidnaps Kyrie after convincing her that Nero is a demon. Distraught with how his sister was used, Credo apologizes to Nero, promising to return once he has investigated Sanctus's true intentions.
Nero continues on his journey, now to save Kyrie from Sanctus, and once more meets Dante. With his quest to capture him long since forgotten; he wishes to simply pass Dante. However, Dante wants Yamato returned to him stating that it simply has too much power to be trusted with anyone. A fight ensues where Dante is victorious; however, he reveals that it was a test to make sure that he could trust Nero with it for the time being. They trade names and form a steady alliance as Nero continues forward. Suddenly, Gloria appears before Dante as Nero leaves; however, it is revealed that she is actually Dante's partner, Trish. Thus, it is revealed that Dante has had Trish snooping as Gloria for the entire game. She questions whether Dante should allow Nero to keep Yamato and Dante reassures her.
Finally Nero finds Sanctus with an enormous statue, in Sparda's image, which he calls the Savior. Sanctus reveals that only Yamato and the sword Sparda, along with Sparda's blood can awaken the Savior and unleash hell. They battle and Sanctus uses Kyrie as a human shield to distract Nero and capture him. Suddenly, Credo, having abandoned his faith, returns and attempts to rescue the two. Unfortunately Credo is defeated by Sanctus who using Yamato, subsequently stabs Nero. Revealing that Nero is a descendant of Sparda's blood The Savior awakens and Nero is absorbed within it. Dante and Trish appear, unable to stop the proceedings, as they promise Credo in his final moments to save Kyrie and Nero.
Agnus, under the city, opens the hellgate with Yamato, which releases countless demons upon the city. Using The Savior to defeat the oncoming demons, Sanctus enacts his ultimate plan by putting the city through hell and then acting as their "Savior" Sparda, in order to raise the people's faith and worship. Dante, making his way through Fortuna, succeeds in destroying all the hell gates and kills Agnus, sealing the final hell gate. Finally taking on The Savior, Dante takes Yamato and drives it through the Savior's chest, where Nero reclaims it inside. Facing Sanctus, Nero sees Sanctus's twisted interpretation of Sparda's will and defeats him, freeing Kyrie in the process. In the aftermath, Nero returns Sparda to Dante when The Savior awakens, having absorbed Sanctus. Destroying this final demon, Nero makes peace with his arm and sees Dante off.
Having already returned Sparda, Nero attempts to give Yamato back, but Dante, instead, entrusts Yamato with Nero saying that since Yamato means so much to him, "That's the only kind of gift worth giving." Dante leaves and Nero and Kyrie reconcile in the ruins of Fortuna. Stating that he is the most human person she has ever known, despite his demonic heritage, they are about to kiss when they are interrupted by scarecrow demons. Nero readily goes to face them off.
Meanwhile, Lady returns to the Devil May Cry office where she had formerly hired Dante to go to Fortuna. Having completed the job, Lady offers a menial reward citing that Dante and Trish's presence escalated the simple job she had asked into the situation it became. As Trish and Lady argue over the reward money, they drag Dante into the argument while he reads a magazine. Unenthusiastically, Dante accepts the small reward as a phone call interrupts Lady exiting the shop. Trish answers and reveals that the caller is offering a job, which Dante happily accepts. As Dante suits up, Lady excitedly asks Dante if she can come along, to which Dante laughs and says, "Do what you want, but don't expect to get paid!" As the trio bursts through the door, Dante, Lady, and Trish all pose as Dante says, "Come on babes, Let's Rock!" and fires repeatedly at the screen.
On September 6, 2006, Japanese video game magazine Famitsu reported that the past games' main character, Dante, will not be the protagonist in Devil May Cry 4. Instead, a new character named Nero, voiced and motion captured by Johnny Yong Bosch, will take the lead. Nero resembles both Dante and his twin brother, Vergill, and is part of the Order of the Sword, a group of warriors who worship Sparda.
Nero's attire consists of blue jeans, a long black-blue coat, and a red vest with a hood. He wields a revolver named Blue Rose, which has a distinctive under-and-over double barrel, and a decorated single-edged sword called the Red Queen. Nero views Dante as the antagonist, after witnessing the devil hunter first killing the Order's leader, Sanctus, and then murdering members of the Order. Gameplay videos and screens reveal Dante to be an enemy boss in the game.
Nero's right arm resembles a demon's arm, and glows supernaturally; it is also the source of his "Devil Bringer" power. Nero has his own "Devil Trigger" transformation, consisting of a demonic spirit hovering above him. Capcom promotional videos revealed that the spirit mimics Nero's actions and that the Devil Bringer moves change depending on whether or not the Devil Trigger is active.
Dante, the franchise's protagonist, is also playable, and has been updated with the core animations from his appearance in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, as well as that game's four basic fighting styles of Trickster, Royal Guard, Gunslinger, and Swordmaster, which can be switched at will. Game Informer reported that he was both an unlockable and playable character, playing an integral part of the game's storyline. Capcom promotional videos revealed that, like Nero and the first Devil May Cry, the properties of his moves change if the Devil Trigger is activated. Out of the 20 missions available, Dante is playable in seven of them. Returning weapons in his arsenal include the Rebellion sword, the Ebony and Ivory handguns, and the Coyote-A shotgun, but he will be able to acquire new Devil Arms after defeating enemy bosses.
In an interview, Devil May Cry 4s producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi noted that the production team began working with the game using a PC-based engine. He said that this was the first PlayStation 3 game developed by Capcom, and that making this transition was a "hard step", particularly because no member of the producing team was familiar with the console's capabilities. The game's multi-platform crossover was justified by emphasizing the Xbox 360's success in the North American and European markets, labeling the move as "natural". During production, new gameplay options were implemented in order to "keep up with fresh action games"; among these is the Devil Bringer's ability to bring enemies towards the characters.
Unlike Dante's progress in Devil May Cry 3, Nero was designed to become stronger by upgrading his Devil Bringer ability instead of receiving new weapons after defeating boss characters. During development, the production team noted several aspects of the game, including that Nero would be one of two main characters and that Dante was not going to be the only character from previous entries in the series to appear. Unlike Devil May Cry 3, the game's difficulty would be the same in both the Japanese and European versions as in the one released in North America. The company presented the game's first demo at an event titled "Capcom's Gamer's Day", where Kobayashi highlighted several of the games features. With the team focused in completing the game, a new demo was not produced in time for the 2007 E3 Media and Business Summit.
Itsuno said in the Famitsu article that the visuals attempt to deliver a satisfying feel of being in the air, and that the actions of Nero's Devil Bringer could not be done on contemporary generation consoles, but they could be done on the PlayStation 3; however, the game has since been released on the Xbox 360, and a PC version was released in July, 2008. Gameplay visuals, shown at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, demonstrate this game mechanic. Kobayashi stated in a Game Informer interview that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions would be identical, although he did not comment on the PC version. In a Eurogamer interview, Kobayashi confirmed that the PC version "would be great, because the same team is working on both".
On March 19, 2007, Capcom announced the game would not be a PlayStation 3 exclusive; it would also be released for the Xbox 360 and the PC. In a thread questioning the move on the official Capcom message board, the company's senior director of strategic planning and research, Christian Svensson, responded by saying that they were moved by people's strong feelings about the decision, but that it was the best decision for the company and consumers. Kobayashi stated that Devil May Cry 4 will have no major graphical differences between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions.He also claimed that the contents will be identical, except that "the feel of the controller" may cause a slight difference. The PlayStation 3 version requires the user to install 5GB of game data, taking 20 minutes, which shortens the length of the loading screens throughout the game. A slide show is shown during the installation process, which introduces characters from previous games in the series.
The first teaser trailer was shown at E³ 2005, depicting Dante traveling through a snow-covered environment, and quickly performing some fast, stylish moves. A more substantial trailer was released at that year's Tokyo Game Show, with a more rugged and older Dante in a city-like setting. Both teasers show very little detail of the game itself. At the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, a more complete trailer debuted, along with a playable demo, featuring the character Nero.
Images from the March 2007 issue of Famitsu show Dante as a playable character. A short trailer was released later, displaying the character in gameplay. While Nero is the game's main character, Dante is the supporting character, playable during the second half of the game until the final boss. A trailer shown at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show revealed the return of Lady and Trish.
A fourth trailer, released on December 17, 2007, revealed more gameplay and story detail, as well as information on new songs for the game, including a new version of "Lock and Load", Dante's theme music from the first Devil May Cry, with new lyrics written and performed by Shawn "Shootie HG" McPherson, the lyricist and lead vocalist on the soundtrack of Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. Released with the Japanese version of the game is Japanese rock band, L'Arc-en-Ciel, and their new single, "Drink It Down", which is used as the Japanese opening for the game.
A collector's edition of the game was released at the same time as the regular version. The American version includes a DVD of four episodes of the English dub of the anime, while the European and Australian versions only include a signed artbook named "Art of the Devil". It features a bonus disc containing the making of Devil May Cry 4, and an additional disc of the first four episodes of the Anime. A very small number of Collector's Edition packages were signed by the game's producer, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, on the back of the metal tin on Dante's left shoulder. This number has been reported to be as low as only 100 signed copies of the Collector's Edition for each console, making for a total of 200 signed copies. Both versions were packaged in a Steel book case.
GameSpot revealed that the PC version would have exclusive features, including more modes and visual customization. Turbo Mode is featured, giving the game a slightly faster speed, and a new difficulty called Legendary Dark Knight Mode is implemented. The PC version also has both DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 mode. It is labeled Games for Windows and runs on both XP and Vista. It assumes a Gamepad is present and only uses the mouse in the menus, providing virtually the same user interface as the console versions.
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